Tag:Big Ten
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:38 pm
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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. 

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Posted on: February 9, 2012 1:40 pm
 

MWC commish 'open' to Minnesota AD job

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Minnesota athletic director Joel Maturi won't be officially retired until June 30th, but the school would like to have his successor in place before then, and one name that has come up is current Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson.

Thompson, who has been the commissioner of the Mountain West since the conference was first formed in 1999, is a Minnesota graduate. He's also said he's open to the idea of returning to the school to run its athletic department.

"But there would be a million questions to learn more about the position," Thompson told the Pioneer Press. "Is there a budget deficit? Is fundraising the issue? Is the focus on rebuilding the football program? Are there academic concerns? Is there a support system to graduate student-athletes? There would be a lot more to know about the needs and wants of the athletic department before you can even think about taking the next step."

While there are plenty of questions for Thompson to ask Minnesota, there are probably just as many questions for him to ask the Mountain West. The first question being, what would Thompson's role be within the conference should it merge with Conference USA?

With the future of the Mountain West being unclear at the moment, this might be the best time for Thompson to make the next move in his career.

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Posted on: February 8, 2012 1:34 pm
Edited on: February 8, 2012 1:48 pm
 

VIDEO: 1940 Michigan star Harmon dodges Cal fan

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The 1940 Heisman Trophy winner, a two-time All-American, the No. 1 overall pick in the 1941 draft, and the grandfather of NelsonMichigan's Tom Harmon is, without question, one of the giants of the game. The Cal Bears, meanwhile, are giants of a very different kind of game: somehow convincing spectators that they ought to take the field while the game is going on. 

For your Wednesday afternoon viewing pleasure, we present this video of those two unstoppable forces meeting in Berkeley in 1940. Harmon evades nearly the entire Bears team only to have to avoid one last tackler on the goalline ... a balding Bears fan named Harold Brennan. Enjoy:



As documented by Michigan history site MVictors, the play became famous enough for a shot-by-shot examination in the pages of Life magazine:



As part of the Life feature, Brennan provided an ... interesting account of his time on the field.

"I'm glad I did it," he said. "When the Michigan boys go home, they can't tell folks no one tackled Harmon ... I did."

Which just goes to show you: even in 1940, college football fans were already rabid enough to occasionally ignore what was actually happening on the field for the kinder, gentler version of things in their head.

HT: EDSBS.
Posted on: February 8, 2012 12:38 pm
 

Big House to host NHL's Winter Classic

By Brian Stubits

The NHL will make a major announcement on Thursday at 10:30 a.m. at Detroit's Comerica Park. It will then make a second announcement at 1:15 at Michigan Stadium in Ann Arbor.

Because we are really good with the power of deduction, we have a pretty good guess as to what this is all about: probably something along the lines of a Winter Classic at the Big House.

Petty sarcasm aside, there's no doubt now that the league is going to make next year's Winter Classic official, pitting the Detroit Red Wings against the Toronto Maple Leafs on the campus of the University of Michigan.

The school's Board of Regents signed off on the deal this week to allow the NHL to move in for a little while. Here's more from ESPN.com.

The NHL is offering to pay $3 million to the university for the licensing of the stadium, and the university would give the NHL use of Michigan Stadium from Dec. 1, 2012 until mid-January 2013 -- including time for all potential set-up and breakdown scenarios.

The dual announcement is being done because it has been previously reported that to help bring the festivities to Detroit and appease Wings owner Mike Illitch, Comerica Park, home to the MLB's Tigers, will also host some of the events.

Specifically, the second rink in Detroit will host the majority of the action accroding to the Macomb Daily.

Comerica Park will host an American Hockey League game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and Toronto Marlies, the minor league affiliates of the Wings and Leafs.

It will also be the site of the Great Lakes Invitational, along with two Ontario Hockey League games and numerous high school and youth games.

Michigan and Michigan State will be two of the GLI teams. Three OHL teams – the Plymouth Whalers, Saginaw Spirit and Windsor Spitfires – have already been confirmed.

Comerica could also host the alumni game between the Wings and Leafs.

Hockey at the Big House has been done before. Michigan played Michigan State a few years back and drew over 100,000 for the game. A similar crowd can no doubt be expected with the Leafs and Wings bringing their Original Six flavor and their big fan bases to campus.

For more hockey news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnHockey and @BrianStubitsNHL on Twitter.

Posted on: February 7, 2012 7:22 pm
 

Iowa's Phil Parker promoted to D-coordinator

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

Under Kirk Ferentz, Iowa has enjoyed one of the most stable, most continuity-heavy coaching staffs in the country. So it wasn't a surprise Tuesday when Ferentz announced he had promoted one of his own to the Hawkeyes' vacant defensive coordinator position.

That coach is Phil Parker, the Hawkeyes' secondary coach for the past 13 seasons. Parker will replace Norm Parker (no relation), who retired following the 2011 season after 12 years as the Iowa DC. The two Parkers served as co-defensive coordinators in 2010 as Norm battled diabetes complications.

As part of Phil's promotion, offensive line coach Reese Morgan will switch to coaching the defensive line, while linebackers coach Darrell Wilson will take over Parker's duties with the defensive backs. Morgan has been with the Hawkeye staff for the past 12 seasons, and Wilson for the past 10.

"Phil, Darrell and Reese have all done an outstanding job in our program for a significant period of time," Ferentz said in a statement. "I am confident they will have a very positive effect on our team as we transition forward."

While Parker will have to prove his worth as a full-time coordinator, there's not much doubting his resume as a secondary coach; the Hawkeyes have produced multiple All-Big Ten and even All-American defensive backs on his watch, including Tyler Sash, Amari Spievey and Shaun Prater, and put together back-to-back national top-five finishes in opponent's passer rating in 2008 and 2009.

So Parker's promotion may not have the buzziest, sexiest decision from a coaching perspective, but if it yields the same defensive results the Hawkeyes have enjoyed since Ferentz's arrival -- and   there's little reason to think it won't -- it should prove effective all the same.

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Posted on: February 6, 2012 1:54 pm
Edited on: February 6, 2012 2:07 pm
 

Pac-12 makes changes to neutral site scheduling

Posted by Bryan Fischer

The Pac-12's continuing push into the media business with an upcoming conference network and digital platform will have a lasting effect on member schools' football schedules. According to the league's updated executive regulations, non-conference neutral site football games will no longer be permitted unless the conference gets their cut of the media rights:
No member institution shall enter into an agreement to play a neutral-site football game (except in circumstances where such neutral-site game is the away leg of a home-and-home series) unless such agreement provides the Conference with the exclusive broadcast rights and digital rights in all media, and copyright to such neutral-site game.
The move would essentially prohibit schools from scheduling games like last season's LSU-Oregon matchup at Cowboy Stadium in Dallas. Cases such as the upcoming USC-Syracuse game on September 8, 2012 at Met Life Stadium would be permissible because they are the Pac-12 team's away game in a home-and-home series while matchups like the UCLA-Texas game in 2014 would no longer be allowed unless the Longhorns agreed to come to Los Angeles.

Commissioner Larry Scott, whose contract was recently extended, has strived to keep a significant and meaningful portion of inventory for the Pac-12 Network in order to drive distribution with cable and satellite operators. The Pac-12 recently announced a scheduling agreement with the Big Ten that would strengthen the bond between the two leagues but would take away one non-conference game away from members. The combination of moves over the past two years appear to give the conference office a greater element of control over schools' schedules going forward.

USC-Alabama? Oklahoma-Oregon? With the Pac-12's new restrictions, it appears any chance such games happening as big neutral site games are no longer an option unless teams agree to come West.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 8:08 pm
 

Home of Michigan WR Hemingway burglarized

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A month ago, now-former Michigan wide receiver Junior Hemingway was enjoying one of the greatest moments of his life. Sadly, he's now likely suffering through one if its worst.

CarolinaLive.com reported that Hemingway's Conway, S.C. family home was burglarized Friday morning, with the thieves knocking down the front door and stealing nearly $5,000 worth of goods. Among the items missing were a large screen television and -- most painfully -- many of Hemingway's mementos from his Wolverine career, including jerseys and bowl rings.

"The sad thing is, this stuff just can't be replaced," Hemingway father Kenneth Hemingway said. The incident marks the second time in four months the home has been burglarized.

The one silver lining: the thieves left Hemingway's Sugar Bowl MVP trophy untouched on the home's living room coffee table. Hemingway won it with 2 highlight-reel receptions for 63 yards and Michigan's only two touchdowns of the 23-20 win, leading to a memorably emotional postgame interview.

Hemingway was not in Conway at the time of the burglary, as he's currently training in Atlanta for the upcoming NFL Draft combine and Michigan's Pro Day. According to NFLDraftScout.com, Hemingway ranks as the No. 46 wide receiver prospect in the 2012 draft and is not currently projected to be drafted.

Anyone with information on the burglary is asked to call Horry County law enforcement tip line available at CarolinaLive.com.

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Posted on: February 3, 2012 6:55 pm
Edited on: February 3, 2012 6:55 pm
 

New Wolverine already trash-talking the Buckeyes

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Defensive tackle Ondre Pipkins has been a Wolverine for roughly two days, having sent in his letter of intent to Michigan on Wednesday. Still, just because he's new, that doesn't mean Pipkins doesn't know the company line when it comes to the Ohio State Buckeyes.

Pipkins is not a fan, and he's not shy about sharing his feelings.

"Who are you talking about?" Pipkins asked in a radio interview in Ann Arbor on Friday.  "Are you talking about those people down south? I don't want to give them the time of day.

"We're going to see them Nov. 24 at that 'Shoe.' In the next couple years, we'll see them at the Big House, but it's just going to be like it was last year."

For those who need reminding, Michigan beat Ohio State 40-34 in Ann Arbor this past November, ending a seven-game losing streak against the Buckeyes in their annual, season-ending rivalry game.

Pipkins didn't stop there, either, going on to talk about some of his fellow incoming freshman. Pipkins said that when Michigan signee Kyle Kalis faced Ohio State recruit Tommy Schutt in the Army All-American Game, Schutt "ate turf. He at turf the entire time."

Pipkins also talked about his matchup with Ohio State's newest offensive lineman Kyle Dodson in the same game.

"I gave a little bit to what's his name, Dodson," Pipkins said. "He ran away from me. That's what they do. They run their mouth, and then when they meet up with the belly of the beast -- I call myself that because I am -- then they run away. When it comes to reality, they want to run away."

Pipkins hasn't even spent a minute in an Ann Arbor classroom, yet it seems he's already aced "Ohio State Hating 101."

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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