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Tag:Bryan Fischer
Posted on: February 15, 2012 10:58 am
Edited on: February 15, 2012 2:39 pm
 

Report: Utah St, others candidates for new league



Posted by Bryan Fischer

If you follow along the timeline the past few days, it's pretty clear we're headed toward some sort of consolidation in college football.

No sooner than CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported that Conference USA and the Mountain West were both dissolving in order for remaining schools to start a new league for the 2013-2014 academic year, Dennis Dodd followed that up with a report that WAC commissioner Karl Benson would be taking the same position with the Sun Belt. With no commissioner and a league on its last legs, nobody should be surprised that the Salt Lake Tribune reported Tuesday night that Utah State and several other schools are candidates to join the new superconference spanning the country from the East Coast to Hawaii.

“At this point, we are sitting tight,” Utah State athletics director Scott Barnes told the paper. “We obviously feel we are a strong candidate should [the new conference] decide to expand. The good news from our perspective is that there is clarity in the sense that expansion is likely.”

Temple, Florida International, San Jose State and Louisiana Tech are among the schools who are also mentioned for the unnamed league. With the departures of Boise State to the Mountain West in 2011 and Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii in 2012, the WAC will have just seven football members this upcoming season and any further defections would probably result in the conference folding.

The new league being formed is expected to consist of Southern Miss, Marshall, East Carolina, UAB, Tulsa, Rice, UTEP and Tulane from Conference USA and Wyoming, Air Force, Colorado State, UNLV, New Mexico, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii (football-only) from the Mountain West. If you add in aforementioned candidates then the conference would be right at 21 schools, right in the middle of the targeted 18-24 that are expected to be part of a true coast-to-coast endeavor.

By the way, you can vote on possible names (and suggest your own) for this massive, superleague on our Facebook page.

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Posted on: February 14, 2012 5:14 pm
 

Roundtable: College football valentines

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

It's Valentine's Day, so pick someone or something from college football--person, team, conference, whatever. Who should they be sending a valentine to today, and what does that valentine say?

Bryan FischerI think the athletic directors at Arizona, Arizona State, UCLA, Washington and Washington State should be sending a Valentine to Larry Scott this year. The Pac-12 commissioner unveiled his Pac-12 Network studios just yesterday, and that's appropriate considering the media deals he negotiated were the biggest reason those schools were able to off the sweetheart deals that landed their new coaches. Do you think the Bruins or Huskies could have afforded the assistant salaries before that money started flowing? Or that Wazzu was able to land a coach like Mike Leach? I don't think they do.

I'm guessing their valentine says something to the affect of, "Thank$ Larry for everything, hope you'll be our Valentine for several more years."

Tom Fornelli:  I'm going to say TCU and West Virginia owe Missouri and Texas A&M a valentine this year, one with some expensively-licensed cartoon character saying "Thanks for the sloppy seconds!" If not for those two leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, then both TCU and WVU are stuck in the Big East for 2012 at least--a Big East that's without a clear future at the moment, and seems en route to becoming Conference USA version 2.0.

Instead the Frogs and Mountaineers have joined the Big 12, which is in much better shape than the Big East and will provide far more money for both schools in the long run.

Jerry Hinnen: If I'm Mike Slive, I'm sending out a valentine to Dana Holgorsen -- or maybe Gus Malzahn, or Mike Leach, or Todd Monken -- saying "WILL YOU BE MINE?" festooned with as many hearts (and dollar signs) as it takes to convince them to try their hand (again, in Malzahn's case) in the SEC. There's no doubting the SEC's dominance on the defensive side of the ball or its overall array of talent, but the 2011 season also showed a league in dire need of an infusion of offensive ingenuity, preferably (for variety's sake) out of the spread school. Alabama's yawn-inducing strangulation of LSU in the BCS title game is Exhibit A for the conference's current cloud-of-dust tendencies, but the overall statistical picture is even more damning: six different SEC teams finished in the bottom 25 in the FBS in total offense, with zero finishing in the FBS top 25. (Arkansas ranked highest at 29th.) 

Some of that is good defense; an awful lot of it is terrible offense, too. And it may get worse before it gets better--look at the likes of former offensive juggernauts Florida and Auburn, currently undergoing dramatic offensive regime changes after regressing badly in 2011.

Defense may win championships, but offense often wins TV ratings, as the BCS championship Nielsens will tell you. The SEC's current regular season ratings are fine, of course, but Slive is about to go back to the negotiating table to try and keep his TV contract up with the Joneses of the Big Ten and Pac-12, a table to which he'll want to bring every single positive for his league he can gets his hands on. The SEC will be a-OK with or without the Big 12's reputation for high-flying offensive theatrics, but that doesn't mean Slive -- and a league full of fans likely tiring of watching Tennessee and South Carolina combine for 17 points and barely more than 500 yards in nationally televised prime-time -- wouldn't welcome someone who could shake up the conference's burgeoning reputation for Slugfest-with-a-capital-S football. Kevin Sumlin gets first crack, but we're guessing Slive would prefer he had some high-profile help sooner rather than later.

Chip Patterson: If I'm Ohio State athletic director Gene Smith, I'm sending roses, candy, banners, and thankful notes to new head coach Urban Meyer.  Even with an ill-timed bowl ban from the NCAA Committee on Infractions, Meyer has cooled much of the heat on Smith after the fallout surrounding Jim Tressel's departure.  Winning cures all, but hiring a two-time national champion to supposedly guide your program out of the darkness will certainly hold the Buckeye fans over until the bowl ban is lifted.  Meyer hit the recruiting trail hard after his hire, pulling in a top-5 recruiting class despite the sanctions from the NCAA.  

If Smith had whiffed on his hire to replace Tressel, he would find himself under further scrutiny with the additional sanctions.  Meyer is exactly the home run hire Ohio State -- and Gene Smith -- needed.  In fact, a valentine might not be enough.  Maybe Smith should get a tattoo. 

What? Too soon? 

Posted on: February 13, 2012 10:25 am
Edited on: February 13, 2012 10:26 am
 

Reports: Kiffin makes two staff hires

Posted by Bryan Fischer

With Spring Practice only a few weeks away, USC head coach Lane Kiffin had three open coaching spots and little time to fill them. As of Sunday, he had filled two of the spots, hiring North Dakota State defensive coordinator Scottie Hazelton to coach linebackers and Florida Atlantic defensive coordinator Marvin Sanders to coach defensive backs, according to multiple reports including the LA Times.

The pair replace Joe Barry, who left to coach linebackers for the San Diego Chargers, and fill a void left after Willie Mack Garza resigned as the secondary coach right before the 2011 season.

Hazelton spent six years with the Bison, the last two coordinating the defense and won the FCS championship last season. Sanders spent only two months at Florida Atlantic, following Carl Pelini from Nebraska where he served as defensive backs coach for four seasons and sent several players to NFL. In addition to his stop in Lincoln, Sanders also served as defensive coordinator for two seasons at North Carolina.

The school has not officially confirmed the hires but numerous recruits were told during USC's Junior Day on Sunday.

The Trojans begin spring practice on March 6th. Kiffin still has to find a replacement for wide receivers coach Ted Gilmore, who left to take the same position with the Oakland Raiders.

Posted on: February 10, 2012 11:01 pm
Edited on: February 10, 2012 11:04 pm
 

Arizona State adds Larry Porter to staff

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It didn't take long for Larry Porter to land on his feet. The former Memphis head coach was brought on board Todd Graham's staff at Arizona State, the school announced Friday.

Porter, 39, comes to Tempe after going 3-21 over two years at his alma mater. There was no announced position for him but it is expected that he will coach running backs.

This is Porter's sixth coaching stop and first at a Pac-12 school. He is well-regarded from his five-year stint at LSU, where he was known not only for his on the field coaching job but his prowess on the recruiting trail. He also held the title of assistant head coach during his time in Baton Rouge and sent multiple players to the NFL.

Porter inherits a talented group of running backs, including senior Cameron Marshall, sophomore Deantre Lewis, incoming transfer Marion Grice and five-star freshman D.J. Foster.

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Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:44 am
Edited on: February 10, 2012 1:44 am
 

NCAA grants Pitt guard Chris Jacobson sixth year

Posted by Bryan Fischer

It's a rare occurrence for a player to be granted a sixth year of eligibility by the NCAA. The association, however, seems to be in a giving mood.

Pittsburgh guard Chris Jacobson was the latest beneficiary as athletic director Steve Pederson told the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review that the senior will return next season after the NCAA awarded him a sixth year of eligibility.

Jacobson had started 17 straight games for the Panthers before suffering a season-ending injury to his left knee against Iowa last season. The lineman missed his entire freshman year in 2007 as a result of another season-ending injury.

Pitt is returning 15 starters from last season's 6-7 squad and will surely enjoy the boost from having Jacobson back with first year head coach Paul Chyrst taking over.

The Panthers open the 2012 season at home on September 1 against Youngstown State.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 5:31 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 6:47 pm
 

NCAA rules committee proposes new changes

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Following a regular meeting this week, the NCAA Football Rules Committee has recommended several rules proposals aimed at enhancing player safety for the upcoming season.
Changes are normally on a two-year cycle but the emphasis on safety was strong enough that the changes are proposed for immediate implementation in 2012.

“In all of our proposals, we are continuing the annual effort to find ways to make our game safer where we can,” said committee chair Scot Dapp. “Without question, these changes will enhance student-athlete safety and we feel very comfortable based on the data we collected that the impact will be significant.”

Proposed changes include:

  • The committee voted to move the kickoff back five yards to the 35-yard line and require that kicking team must be no further than five yards back to limit running starts. Another change was to move the touchback on kicks and safety punts to the 25-yard line to encourage more touchbacks.
  • Another recommendation is if a player loses his helmet other than as the result of a facemask, it will be treated like an injury and the player must leave the game and is not allowed to participate for the next play. Also, the player must not continue to participate in play to protect him from injury.
  • To clarify blocking below the waist rules, the committee approved wording that allows offensive players in the tackle box at the snap to block below the waist legally without restriction. All other players are restricted from blocking below the waist with a few exceptions. 
  • The committee proposed a rule similar to the leaping rule on place kicks that does not allow the receiving team on punts to jump over blockers, unless the player jumps straight up or between two players.
According to the NCAA website, the recommendations must be approved by the Playing Rules Oversight Panel, which has a teleconference scheduled for later this month.

Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:38 pm
 

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Posted by Eye on College Football



Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

What are the chances of the BCS adopting the Big Ten's home-field semifinals playoff proposal? And if they do, how much of a good thing (if at all) is that for college football? 

Tom Fornelli: I think it's clear at this point that the playoff is coming. Whether or not it's going to be the Big Ten's proposal of the top two seeds hosting semifinal games, I'm not sure.

I do think that's the best way of going about things for the schools and fans, though. It would minimize travel costs for the schools, and it's the only way to make things fair. Hosting the games at places like the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Rose Bowl wouldn't be. Right now, if you're a Big Ten or Big 12 team and you land in the top two, you're not only traveling outside your home state but your entire conference footprint to play in those locations.

Plus, how exciting would it be to see a school like Florida possibly having to travel up north to play Wisconsin in Madison during December? We already know what happens to the Big Ten when it has to head south for the winter. With this proposal we'd get to see what happens to the SEC when it's forced to head north.

As for whether or not this would be a good thing for college football, I don't see how it would be a bad thing. You take a lot of the money that you've been giving to bowl games and put that cash into the schools. Plus, as long as you keep the playoff to the top four teams, get rid of the BCS AQ statuses and everything else, you can restore the bowl traditions that are so important to everybody.

Chip Patterson: I'm with Tom: I don't see how this could be a bad thing. I certainly understand there are plenty of concerns along the way, but any step in this direction is one I support.  

Allowing the top two seeds to host the semi-final games also keeps the integrity of the BCS system intact.  At its core, the system is meant only to determine the two best teams in college football.  Now those two teams will have the advantage of getting to play the gridiron's version of the Final 4 round on their home turf.    Those who are calling for a large-scale playoff would likely be appeased with this one step forward, and the bowl experience that means so much to the fans and players can continue as it has for years.  There is no rich tradition for the BCS National Championship Game itself, so altering the process at the top does not hinder the game of college football. 

Jerry Hinnen: I'm afraid I can see how this proposal could be, if not a bad thing, a worse thing than it should be. 

There's two downsides to the Big Ten's plan as presented. The first is that it proposes to yoink those top four teams out of the bowl pool entirely, meaning that the two semifinal losers wouldn't get the bowl experience at all, despite having the kind of season that would have put them in the BCS top four to begin with. If you're, say, Stanford and your postseason experience is traveling to Columbus to watch your season end in front of 100,000 Buckeye fans in 25-degree weather, I'm not sure at all that's going to feel like much of a reward. I'd much prefer the semifinals be played in mid-December, with the losers still eligible for BCS selection; it's better for the teams (who get their deserved week of bowl festivities) and better for the bowls (who get better matchups). 

The other downside is an unavoidable one: that this could be the first step down that slippery slope to the sort of eight- or 12- or 16-team playoff that sees the college football equivalent of the New York Giants ride a single hot streak past more deserving teams to a national championship. This is another reason the Big Ten proposal should do more to placate the major bowls--they've collectively taken a lot of heat for their role in preserving the BCS's current status quo, but their money and influence are also a key line of defense in ensuring the "plus-one" doesn't become a "plus-six."

But whatever downsides you come up with are always going to pale in comparison to the upside. The biggest flaw of the BCS has always been the No. 3 team that deserved its shot as much as either (or both) of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams and didn't get it, the team that -- as Phil Steele has called it -- needs to be in the playoff. The squabbles over No. 4 vs. No. 5 are going to continue, yes, but that's a small price to pay for giving 2001 Miami, 2003 USC, 2004 Auburn, 2010 TCU, or 2011 Oklahoma State their shot. Giving them that shot in an electric on-campus atmosphere -- be it in the Midwest, on the West Coast, the Southeast, wherever -- makes a huge triumph for college football that much more, well, huge.

Bryan Fischer: We're moving toward change, but what form it takes certainly remains to be seen. Let's be clear that there were something like 50 proposals presented at the last BCS meeting, so what's notable is not this specific Big Ten proposal but the fact that the conference has changed its tune and is open to some sort of playoff.


Jim Delany has two things he is looking to accomplish no matter what happens with the BCS: keep the Big Ten in a seat of power and protect the Rose Bowl. This proposal does both and seems to be a win-win for just about everybody. I think we're moving in the right direction and Delany is finally going with the flow instead of obstructing it.

Having seen how well things worked out for the Pac-12 with an on-campus championship game, I'm in favor of including a home field advantage tie-in no matter what proposal surfaces. The detractors are always worried about the regular season and keeping the bowl system and a plus-one/four-team playoff would make things meaningful during the year and keep the current structure (more Alamo Bowls!) in place. The most interesting thing, to me, will be how long we'll be stuck with the system. It could be a 10-plus year deal--which is interesting if tweaks need to be made in order to ensure a better playoff system.

TF: I would think that the any deal has to be longer than 10 years, just because conferences are going to want to keep things from expanding to 8 teams or 16 teams for as long as possible. Because we all know that as soon as the four-team playoff begins, then so will the "Expand the playoffs!" arguments. 

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the opening kick of the year all the way through the offseason, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. View a preview.

Posted on: February 8, 2012 10:14 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 10:43 pm
 

Report: Rutgers-Syracuse could play twice in 2012

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The drama surrounding conference realignment and the Big East conference seems to be revisited on a daily basis with a new wrinkle popping up by the hour. Earlier Wednesday, CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy reported West Virginia and the conference are close to a settlement worth at least $20 million that would resolve all issues between both parties and allow the school to leave the league.

The Mountaineers are headed to the Big 12 and have insisted they are doing so for the 2012-13 season. The Big East has previously maintained that they will remain a member in the conference so that there will be eight football members this fall but that is something leadership is apparently wavering on.

The latest twist, according to McMurphy, is that both are working together on an agreement that would let West Virginia out of the league with both parties asking around to see if a future conference member could join this year instead of in 2013. Boise State has been a school that some are speculating could be option number one.

What happens if a school can't come to the Big East-to-West in time? Well, it appears the answer is to play two.

According to The Star-Ledger, one contingency for a seven-team league seems to be schools playing a home-and-home in the same season to make up for the lost game with West Virginia. The highly unusual move could have Rutgers and Syracuse playing twice, with the second game in Yankee Stadium. The Scarlet Knights are set to host the Orange this season if the Big East stays with eight schools.

The paper also mentions that Rutgers is close to finalizing a home-and-home deal with Arkansas, starting this fall. Rutgers would travel to Arkansas this year with the Razorbacks returning to Rutgers Stadium in 2013.

All things considered, if the worst case scenario is a Rutgers-Syracuse double-header this season, they should play the second game at a baseball stadium. At least that makes a little sense.

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com