It is Official Utah to Play Pitt in 2010 and 2011

What was rumor is now official with Pitt traveling to Utah in 2010 and Utah returning the trip in 2011. Here is the official announcement from Pitt. 

This is a huge deal for Utah who have been doing one and done games or playing Pac-10 schools for a home and home.  Event though Pitt is not a huge top 15 year in and year out opponent, this game will be against a recognizable opponent nationally and from a BCS league in the Big East.

The 2010 season for Utah has three BCS schools from @ Notre Dame, Pitt, and @ Iowa State.  A very nice schedule to gain more credit by playing BCS schools and they need to win them as well to get national recognition.

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Podcast Appearance

Yesterday I appeared on In the Bleachers Podcast to discuss all things MWC ranging from who will win the league, a big name opponent for Utah in 2010, BCS talk, and expansion.  So, if you ever wanted to hear what I sound like go download the podcast.

While you are enjoying this great episode of In The Bleachers why not go ahead and subscribe to their weekly show and subscribe to their website for a great daily reading about college football.

Making the Rounds: Random Offseason News

ESPN: Air Force is joining the in on the barage of football games at Yankee Stadium and will take on Army in 2012.  Also, Notre Dame is possibly looking at scheduling TCU, but not in 2010 as some suggest.   That game, if scheduled, would be a one and down if the money is high enough and might be in either 2011 or 2012.

Kelly Lyell, The Coloradoan: The Rams finally get back safety Klint Kubiak after he had a right ankle sprain that cost him five games and torn ligament in his left knee that cost him two more.

Kubiak was one of the teams leader last year and should be able to help improve a defense that was last in the Mountain West.

Jake Schaller, The Gazatte: Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson at the annual media days was still fighting the fight against the BCS.  Thompson believes the league must prove it on the field but had this to say about the BCS:

“If we don’t do well, they’ll say, ‘Yup, see, they can’t do it. They’re not there,’If we do have success, they’ll say, ‘Maybe they’re right, maybe they can play at this level.’ … It is what it is. We know we have to win games.”

On the field performance is the key for the Mountain West to have a chance of inclusion to the BCS, but even that may not be enough because the rules for BCS inclusion are so vague. However if the league is able to continue its 2008 success then the BCS will have to include the MWC.

Lya Wodraska, Salt Lake Tribune: The Utes picked up another recruit in Star Lotulelei who is a 6-foot-3, 290-pound defensive lineman. He was planning on going to BYU but while at Snow College communication was lost, so Lotulelei ended up at Utah.

“BYU didn’t stay in touch with me,” he said. “I heard from the Utah coaches, both coach (Jay) Hill and (Kalani) Sitake stayed in touch with me. I’m excited, Utah is close to home so my family will be able to see me a lot.”

Looks like Utah was able to snag this recruit from BYU, but it may not have mattered because BYU has only a few scholarships left for the2010 season.  That could be why BYU did not keep in touch.

Dick Harmon, Deseret News: The bottom of the Mountain West is looking form someway to catch the Big three — BYU, Utah, and TCU.  Air Force looks to be the closest with the resurgence from new head coach Troy Calhoun.

UNLV and Colorado State are making strides but are still not there. The rest New Mexico, Wyoming, and San Diego State, are hoping that their new hires will be the move that gets them over the top. New Mexico head coch Mike Locklsey believes the difference is not that large:

“Now, having been indoctrinated into the league as a head coach, you see that there is the Air Force Academy, Colorado State, and UNLV is nipping at your heels. New Mexico? I didn’t know much about it, but when you look at the run New Mexico’s had over the last 10 years, they’ve won as many conference games as some of the Big Three as we’ve talked about.”

Brent Schrotenboer, San Diego Union Tribune: The Aztecs have finally reached a ten year deal to keep San Diego State in Qualcomm Stadium.  The 2008 season had the Aztecs playing in the stadium without a lease, but Qualcomm allowed them to play the season while working on a new deal.

Qualcomm was weary about  a new lease because of they were losing about 30,000 dollars per game, below is the basics for the new deal:

“Under the new lease, SDSU will pay the city about $95,000, including the $30,000 in additional expenses and an estimated $15,000 from the added surcharge. Most tickets will include the surcharge except for student tickets and some others.”

This is a relief for the Aztecs, because without this they would have no place to play.  The surcharge is going to be just one dollar per ticket to all sporting events to cover the rest of the costs.

Joey Nowak San Diego Union Tribune: Head coach Brady Hoke is doing a great job in recruiting and so far has a verbal commit from four star quarterback Tyler Bray.  He also is the fourteenth rated pro style quarterback and is the 229th ranked player in the 2010 class.

His choice game down to San Diego State, USC, and Tennessee and his decision came down to where other top quarterback recruit Jesse Scroggins was going.  Scroggins chose USC which made Bray’s decision easier.  Here is what his high school coach Dace Steele had to say on his choice:

“I think (Bray) felt he had a good opportunity to come in and be productive fairly early in his career at (SDSU). The program is in the right direction, so I was excited for him when he decided that’s what he wanted to do.”

Even though Bray has said his choice is firm Tennessee is still pursing Bray, because the Vols lost out on the Scroggins sweepstakes.

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Fiesta Bowl Rematch in 2010 With Pitt Traveling to Utah

The good writers at BlockU found this nugget from Utah Assistant athletic director for corporate sales and ticket operations Zack Lassiter’s twitter feed.

“Fiesta Bowl rematch in the works. Pitt to play at RES in 2010 as part of a home and home series. Contract on its way to Pitt for signature”

Now that would be cool to have a home and home with a BCS league and for the game to be played first in Rice-Eccles

This is what 2010’s OOC schedule looks like right now for the Utes:

@ Iowa State

Pittsburgh

@ Notre Dame

San Jose State

Good to see the Utes are able to make some noise in scheduling home and home and not just the one in done they have inked in recent years: most notable Michigan in 2008 and Notre Dame next year.

UPDATE: For some reason the twitter post has been removed, I was going to do a screen shot to post, but life got in the way and when I checked back it was no longer there.

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The Revenue Disparity is Bigger then You Think

The Orlando Sentinel is running a series on the “Tough times: College sports and the economy.” It is a very good read so far, and in their college football blog  there is post today — a must read for any college fan — about the revenue each FBS school took in from 2008.

The total for the MWC was $276,800,202 a quarter of a billion dollars is not bad, but the top three schools alone are over $340 million.  The MWC teams are listed in bold, and a few things surprised me.

First is that TCU was highest MWC and non-BCS school on the list and by a good margin.  The biggest surprise was that Utah ranked 7th in revenue for the timeframe.

There is no surprise that the BCS schools make more money but the amount is staggering, just look at the bottom of the list with Louisana-Monroe who pulled in less then seven million!

This makes what any non-BCS school accomplish seem to be even greater then we thought.  Just look at Utah they defeated Alabama who took in $88 million which is more then three times what Utah brought in last year who was just under $27 million.

The list is after the jump.

Continue reading

Making the Rounds: More Media Day Madness

Daily Herald, Darnell Dickenson: Last year BYU was predictable on offense and changes were not made to adjust.  Now this year in an attempt to change that with Bronco Mendenhall passing along play calling to defensive coordinator Jaime Hill:

“I’ll take more of a consultant role,” Mendenhall said. “But I reserve the right to make a play call in a critical moment, a key third down. I’ll work toward managing the entire game.”

This might make the difference for BYU since last year they were very predictable, and maybe a new prospective will do BYU good.  Bronco did pass it off as no big deal but it is because of how last year the team flamed out against good opponents.

Lya Wodraska Salt Lake Tribune: Utah head coach Kyle Whittingham is now the top of the MWC and the non-BCS schools for his 2008 season.  Coach Whittingham is taking it in stride by telling players that 2008 was great but it is behind us, and here is what he specifically said about moving forward:

“What we did last year was great, but it’s time to move on,” he said. “We had that meeting in January. It wasn’t easy to put it into practice, when the town was having parades, there was no clean cut from last year. Hopefully everything is behind us and we can move forward.”

Smart move for Whittingham to move forward and focus on 2009.  He does have experience since he took over after the 2004 Utah team that went undefeated, so hopefully he picked up a few tricks to keep the team focused.

Stefan Stevenson, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Jerry Hughes had two goals he wanted to accomplish from his playing career at TCU, which is why he did not go to the pros last year.  Which was to get his degree and get a ring:

“I felt like the season we had last year we left a lot of things incomplete,” Hughes said. “TCU is a great academic school and I always knew if [a degree] was something I had an opportunity to get I was going to go through with it.”

Very smart for Hughes to want to get a degree to help himself once he is done after his NFL career, and hopefully if TCU is as good as they should be his draft stock will only increase.

Ken Ritter, Fort Worth Star-Telegram: Mountain West Commissioner Craig Thompson who has been lobbying for change feels that it will take five years before any change, if any, will occur with the BCS.

“If you perform and you win games and you’re playing quality opponents and you’re beating the Oklahomas, the Alabamas, the UCLAs, the Michigans, and all the people we’ve beaten,” he said, “that should be our statement.”

I typically do not always agree with the Commish, but this is the only way to get inclusion.  In my opinion the MWC is very close to earning an auto-bid for the BCS, and if they have another year of multiple teams in the top 16 then the MWC deserves an auto bid to the BCS.

Jay Drew, Salt Lake Tribune: With all of the hissy fits that were thrown in an effort to find out who did not vote for Tim Tebow brought out another major flaw in the voting process that everyone knows: coaches do not fill out their own ballot.  BYU head man Bronco Mendenhall believes that voting should not start until week six:

“I don’t think it is possible to pick, nor do I think, philosophically, that there ought to be any preseason polls, period,” he said. “I don’t think there ought to be a preseason conference poll, nor do I think there should be a preseason national poll.”

Six might be a bit much but after week four should be the date when polls are released.  We all know that will never happen, because television wants to promote we have such and such ranked here so come watch out game.  Plus, even with the Harris Poll starting their voting in October it essentially mirrors the AP and coaches poll when it is released.

Lya Wodraska, Salt Lake Tribune: This article is something I have been harping on with the unfairness of money distribution of BCS money.  Finally MWC Commissioner, Craig Thompson, is bringing this to the for front.  Currently the non-BCS teams share nine percent of the revenue each year, but in a year when a non-BCS gets in the money is an additional nine percent, but that is shared with all five non-BCS schools.

That money should be awarded to the conference for sending a team to the big money games, but since everyone is greedy the other four leagues cry foul with that statement since that is a way they improve their football program.  Here is what Thompson said on the issue:

“I can see those other four leagues getting some for participation, but the best for us would be when a conference gets a team in the BCS, the other nine percent goes totally to that conference,”

Common sense is a dangerous word in college football, because not many have it and it is needed in this situation to realize the league deserves the money for qualifying. As a side note MWC Commissioner Craig Thompson was renewed through 2012.

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2009 Mountain West Conference Media Day Videos

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