Tag:Louisville
Posted on: October 14, 2011 1:19 pm
Edited on: October 14, 2011 1:20 pm
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Big 12 TV partners didn't want BYU

Posted by Tom Fornelli

When the Big 12 was looking for a school to replace Texas A&M, the one school that was mentioned frequently was BYU. It made some sense in the fact that since BYU was already an independent in football, it might not have to make a lot of changes to bring its football program to the Big 12. Of course, TCU was then named the newest member of the Big 12, and now you're not hearing all that much about BYU as much as you do schools like West Virginia and Louisville should the Big 12 add more teams.

Why is that? Well, according to a report in the Salt Lake Tribune, the Big 12's television partners put the kibosh on BYU.
Although BYU’s flirtation with the Big 12 may yet be renewed at some point beyond next year, The Salt Lake Tribune has confirmed what the Tulsa World first reported on Oct. 7: Big 12 talks with BYU hit a snag last week and the league, at the behest of its television partners, quickly moved to invite TCU.

“There is some rigidity at BYU in terms of what they will and won’t do,” Tulsa World columnist Dave Sittler wrote, quoting a Big 12 source. “Some of it has to do with [LDS Church] rules, and also the way they engage with media partners.”
It seems both ABC/ESPN and Fox Sports also had problems with BYU's policy of not playing sports on Sundays. Not for football as much as any other sports the networks might want to televise.

In addition the report also says that BYU wanted assurances that an unspecified minimum of the school's games would be televised nationally, and it also wanted the ability to show BYU games that weren't picked up by Fox or ESPN on BYUtv.
Posted on: October 14, 2011 10:33 am
Edited on: October 14, 2011 10:40 am
 

Report: Big East voting on exit fees Friday

Posted by Chip Patterson

As the Big East pursues a conference model that includes 12 football-playing schools, one obstacle that seems to be holding up the process is the league's exit fees. With an unknown future, the six remaining football schools have been noncommittal towards increasing the exit fees, which would make it more difficult to leave. At the same time, potential Big East targets such as Navy and Boise State would like to see some more commitment from the conference before joining.

According to a Sporting News report the conference has scheduled a call on Friday that would include a vote on "dramatically increasing the exit fee for universities wishing to leave for other conferences."
A source close to the league told Sporting News the meeting will ask schools to approve a change in the league bylaws that would require a school to pay three times its annual share of league television revenue in order to depart.

Under the league’s current deal, that would raise the buyout to between $15-17 million. If the league were able to gain a TV contract even close to the one it recently declined from ESPN -- $1.4 billion over 9 years – that escape clause would become even more substantial.
The report also includes a detail that Louisville may decline to participate in the call. The Cardinals have been the most realistic defector of the remaining six, as they have targeted as a potential replacement for MIssouri should the Tigers leave the Big 12. Louisville's vote is not needed to issue a change in the withdrawal fees, Big East bylaws require just a 75 percent vote for approval.

Until the exit fees are raised, it will be near impossible to convince other schools to join arguably the most volatile conference in FBS play. However, the addition of the service academies would be a big step forward towards securing the league's future. Once you get the service academies you can start working towards bringing in programs that would help maintain the Big East's status as a BCS automatic qualifier.

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Posted on: October 11, 2011 12:27 am
 

Report: San Diego State looking for Big 12 invite

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Memphis has been looking for an invitation to the SEC (really) but they're not the only program looking to take a big step up in competition.

According to the San Diego Union-Tribune, San Diego State is all but begging for an invite to the Big 12. Athletic director Jim Sterk has passed information about the school and surrounding television market to Big 12 officials, including interim commissioner Chuck Neinas.

“We’ve been proactive as far as getting information out and just making sure their folks know what a valuable commodity San Diego State is,” Sterk told the Union-Tribune. “We’ve been able to show how well we capture the San Diego television market in the last couple of years and have a program that’s really on the rise and have a lot of things going for it. We’re a member of the Mountain West Conference, and we think it’s a very good conference. But if things realign, you never know how the sands are moving.”

The Big 12 officially welcomed TCU to the league on Monday, adding the school in the wake of Texas A&M's departure to the SEC in 2012. The league may continue to expand, possibly back to 12 members, or choose to remain at 10. Leaders are still waiting on a decision from Missouri, which is mulling their conference affiliation options and could choose to follow the Aggies to the SEC.

BYU, Louisville and West Virginia are the schools frequently brought up if the Big 12 is to expand again but Sterk wanted to make officials aware that San Diego State is just as close geographically to schools such as Texas as BYU is.

“If they look west, who knows what happens?” Sterk said.

Neinas is familiar with the school, having advised former athletic director Jeff Schemmel to hire football coach Rocky Long in 2006 as part of his consulting business.
Posted on: October 9, 2011 3:43 am
 

SEC Winners and Losers, Week 6



Posted by Jerry Hinnen

A handy recap of who (and what) really won and really lost in the SEC's Week 6.

WINNER: Les Miles.

For years, college football fans have come up with excuse after excuse for why Miles has been less than a terrifiic head football coach, despite his gaudy records and 2007 national title. He's just lucky. Anyone can recruit that kind of talent to LSU. His clock management is terrible. Never lost fewer than two games in a season. He can't get his offense fixed. Did we mention he's lucky? This offseason, one prominent blogger went so far as to place Miles No. 1 on a list of "the Worst Coaches in College Football."

But after today's dominating 41-11 win over Florida and the Tigers' 6-0 start to the 2011 season -- a start that includes wins over four different ranked teams -- even Miles's most ardent detractors have to admit the Mad Hatter has put together the kind of upper-upper-echelon team that can't be explained by recruiting or luck or happenstance alone. Yes, it helps to have Ryan Baker and Tyrann Mathieu and Michael Brockers around, but even superstars like those don't make the kind of terror-inducing defense LSU has today without the guidance of John Chavis, who Miles recruited to Baton Rouge personally. Yes, it's tough to not have a strong running game with Spencer Ware and a veteran line, but that running game wouldn't be nearly so effective if Jarrett Lee hadn't shaken off a career's worth of failures to become exactly the steady, accurate (and vs. the Gators, bomb-tossing) quarterback the offense needs--a development that can be directly traced to Miles's much-derided hire of Steve Kragthorpe as his team's new quarterbacks coach. The Tigers have been special teams killers for far too long under Miles to dismiss their contributions as mere "luck," as evidenced once again Saturday when punter Brad Wing noticed the lack of a Gator punt safety and took off for what should have been a 44-yard touchdown.

In short: to watch the Tigers' rise to 6-0 and their dismantling of the Gators and not see Miles's fingerprints all over them is an exercise in willful ignorance. Luck can explain some of his successes, and the natural advantages of being LSU does explain a little more. But these Tigers? They are only explained by having a coach at the very, very top of his field.

LOSERS: Auburn's wide receivers.

Tiger quarterback Barrett Trotter hasn't played well of late, and has the numbers to prove it--6 of 19 for 81 yards and a pick against Arkansas, to be specific. But he also hasn't gotten much help from his wideouts with leading receiver Emory Blake out ... if he's gotten any at all. Remove a 44-yard reception for Travante Stallworth on a second-half flea flicker completion, and Auburn's wideouts combined for all of three receptions for 21 yards. DeAngelo Benton had a particularly rough evening, dropping one late first-half pass that could have set up an Auburn field goal, getting called for a hold that would eventually force an Auburn punt, and letting a late Trotter pass whistle through his hands for the aformentioned interception.

WINNERS: Backup quarterbacks.

Jacoby Brissett aside, it was a good day to be a current (or recent) second-stringer in the SEC. Connor Shaw cemented himself as the new South Carolina starter and then some with his 311-yard, 4-touchdown, zero-pick performance vs. Kentucky. Mississippi State's Tyler Russell came off the bench to complete 11 of his 13 passes, three of them going for second-half touchdowns that turned what had been a 3-0 halftime deficit into a 21-3 win over UAB. Vanderbilt's Jordan Rodgers didn't have much of an impact statistically (11-of-18, 104 yards, 2 INTs), but led a couple of decent drives and looked as composed vs. the Alabama pass rush as you could hope.

And then there's Lee, who you'll remember was not only Jordan Jefferson's backup with just days remaining before the season, but many fans' favorite to drop to third-string behind JUCO transfer Zach Mettenberger. Against Florida Lee completed only 7 passes--but he also only attempted 10, and those 7 completions averaged a gain of 22 yards.

LOSER: Stephen Garcia.

The career of one of the SEC's most recognizable stars, magnetic talents, and frustrating enigmas appears poised to end not with a bang, but with a whimper. Though you can't ever say never with Steve Spurrier, Shaw's confident command performance against Kentucky suggests he's going to be the Gamecock quarterback for quite some time to come. There's going to be much more difficult opponents ahead for him than the hapless Wildcats, but does it matter? Spurrier's surprising patience with Garcia through his awkward start to this season now looks poised to be turned against him as Spurrier lets Shaw work through the same rough patches Garcia endured.

Which means that in the end, Garcia's senior season hasn't been undone by the off-field troubles that so many have expected to be his downfall. It's gone south because he simply hasn't produced on the field, because aside from one half against East Carolina, he's never looked as good in 2011 as Shaw looked Saturday. It's not how we expected things to come to an end for Garcia (if this is the end), but nothing about Garcia's time in Columbia has ever played out as expected, has it?

LOSERS: Kentucky fans.

The Wildcats kicked off to open their game against the Gamecocks, forced a fumble on the return, and recovered just outside the Carolina 20. Cue the shots in the stands of overjoyed Kentucky fans high-fiving each other and celebrating the best possible start.

60 minutes later -- and only 96 Wildcat yards, 6 Wildcat first downs, and 3 Wildcat points which came immediately following that fumble recovery later -- those same fans had to be some of the most miserable in the country. It's one thing to watch a poor football team; it's another to watch a team that seems so hopelessly outmatched on offense and doesn't seem to be showing any kind of week-to-week improvement. After failing to top 300 total yards against Louisville or Florida, the Wildcats have now failed to top 300 yards in their games against LSU and Carolina combined.

So about that kickoff: were those fans happy to have that one moment of joy? Or all the angrier for that joy being so completely misleading?

WINNER: Georgia's defense.

Before the game, we asked if the Bulldog secondary could live up its gaudy post-Boise State numbers against the likes of Tyler Bray and Da'Rick Rogers on the road at Tennessee. The answer: mostly. Bray and late-game injury replacement Matt Simms did throw for 290 yards at a perfectly respectable 7.3 yards-per-attempt clip, and without an interception.

But they never did throw a touchdown, either; in fact, the Volunteers were kept out of the end zone entirely until Simms snuck in from a yard out with only 2:45 to play in the game. Thanks to the Dawg defensive backs keeping the Vols in front of them, and the UGA front seven stuffing the pathetic Tennessee ground game to the tune of .4 yards per rush (yes, .4), Bray and Co. finished the game with all of 12 points on the scoreboard. The Bulldogs offense wasn't much to write home about -- Isaiah Crowell didn't even hit the 60-yard mark on the ground, the red zone offense sputtered, and like his Vol counterparts Aaron Murray threw neither an interception nor touchdown pass -- but after years of seeing their team score like a pinball machine only to lose after another lackluster defensive display, we expect Dawg fans will take it.

LOSER: Clarity in the SEC East.

South Carolina was the preseason favorite. They were the favorite after they beat Georgia. But then Garcia struggled and Florida beat Tennessee, and the Gators were the favorite. And then Carolina lost to Auburn and Florida lost to both Alabama, and lots of people considered Georgia as the new favorite. But now that Shaw looks to have healed the Gamecocks' Achilles heel ... are they the favorites? Or is Georgia, still, after beating Tennessee? Or is Florida just ripe to return once their schedule eases up? All we really know is that none of the other three teams is winning the division, and that the East winner is going to be a two-touchdown underdog to the West's come December. Past that? your guess is as good as ours.

WINNERS: Everyone who loves college football. Let's not go crazy by saying something like "LSU and Alabama isn't going to be the only game that matters in college football this season"; with Wisconsin, Stanford, Clemson, Boise State and of course Oklahoma all looking at potential undefeated seasons, it's too hasty to even lay claim to LSU and Alabama as the nation's best two teams.

That said: if you're a college football fan, and you've watched Alabama and LSU play this season, and you know how good they are, and you've considered how much fun it would be to watch them meet, undefeated, with a trip to Atlanta on the line on Nov. 5 ... then every week that passes with the two of them still unblemished is a good thing. This was one such week.





Posted on: October 7, 2011 2:38 pm
Edited on: October 7, 2011 2:41 pm
 

The Saturday Meal Plan: Week 6

Posted by Tom Fornelli

The Saturday Meal Plan is a helpful guide put together for you to maximize the results of your college football diet.  Just enough to leave you feeling full, but not so much you spend your entire Sunday in the bathroom. 

This is a bit of a bizarro week in your college football diet, as most of the big games on Saturday will be taking place earlier in the day while our nighttime offerings lack some of those bolder flavors we all love. But that's fine, because with some of the entrees you'll be served during the day, you might not have enough room for that 32-ounce steak once dinner comes around.

Though hopefully you have room for one of those steaks at breakfast.

BREAKFAST

#3 Oklahoma vs. #11 Texas - ABC 12pm ET

This is a pretty wonderful way to start the day, isn't it? There are a lot of great rivalries in the world of college football, and this one has to be considered one of the best. For years the winner of this game basically helped decide who was going to win the Big 12, and it will go a long way in deciding the conference champion again this year. Also, Texas finds itself ranked near the top ten once again after a terrible 2010 season, and while things seemed to have turned around in Austin, this game will be the first real indication of how far the Longhorns have come. - Tom Fornelli 

#13 Georgia Tech vs. Maryland - ESPNU 12pm ET

The Yellow Jackets keep scoring in bunches and riding their offense to methodical wins, while Maryland desperately is trying to put the pieces back together following a pair of home losses.  The Terps offense finally got back in a groove against Towson, particularly getting a boost from the return of wide receivers Quintin McCree and Ronnie Tyler.  Maryland's high-tempo offense must keep drives alive in order to give their defense time to rest on the sideline.  Additionally, the defense must get stops on third down or Georgia Tech will slowly wear down Maryland on both sides of the ball.  Let's casually call this one "The Friedgen Bowl" since former Maryland head coach Ralph Friedgen said he "could care less about Maryland" and "is flying a Georgia Tech flag now." - Chip Patterson

North Carolina vs. Louisville - ESPN2 12pm ET

Louisville's offense is struggling, averaging less than 20 points per game and ranking dead last in the Big East.  The matchup against North Carolina's talented front seven will provide plenty of work for the Cardinals inexperienced offensive line.  Louisville's greatest strength on defense might be their secondary, but this Tar Heels team has become uncharacteristically run-heavy.  The emergence of Gio Bernard has changed the face of the offense, as the redshirt freshman will look to continue his streak of 100+ yard games to four.  Something that hasn't been done by a North Carolina running back since Ethan Horton in 1984. - CP

LUNCH

#1 LSU vs. #17 Florida - CBS 3:30pm ET

What happens when a Honey Badger smells blood? We may find out when Tyrann Mathieu and the rest of the LSU defense hosts a Gator attack missing John Brantley and still licking the wounds from its strangling at the hands of Alabama. Whatever hope Florida has will rest in their defense shutting down the Bayou Bengals' power-running game, but the return of the bruising Spencer Ware from a hamstring problem won't help them. - Jerry Hinnen [Video Preview]

#20 Kansas State vs. Missouri - ABC 3:30pm ET

Raise your hand if you thought before the season started that Kansas State and Missouri would be pegged as a game appearing on a national network during the middle of the season. Okay, now put your hand down, liar. Missouri has been a bit up and down this season as James Franklin has grown accustomed to filling Blaine Gabbert's shoes, and he doesn't have the easiest defense to go against this week. Then there's Kansas State which has caught just about all of us by surprise so far this year, as Bill Snyder has once again lifted this program back into Big 12 contention. - TF

#21 Virginia Tech vs. Miami - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET

Both of these teams need a win if they plan to contend with Georgia Tech for the Coastal Division title, but neither team has put together a truly impressive performance that makes me think they could.  It will be a chance for both teams to prove (to themselves, really) that they belong at the top of the ACC.  Miami has been wildly inconsistent on both sides of the ball this season, but get a huge boost with preseason all-conference safety Ray-Ray Armstrong returning from suspension.  The Hokies' offense will need more than David Wilson to beat the Canes, and that responsibility falls on quarterback Logan Thomas.  Thomas' development has taken longer than some expected, but this would be a great time for him to grow up and lead VT to a huge home win over their longtime rivals. - CP

Penn State vs. Iowa - ABC/ESPN 3:30pm ET

This has been a rather one-sided affair over the last decade or so, but give Iowa-PSU credit: the games are generally exciting, with six of the last 10 meetings featuring either single-score margins or a 4th quarter lead change. Expect more of the same this week, with Iowa bringing the conference's most prolific passing game (seriously) to town and Penn State hoping to turn their offensive fortunes around against a surprisingly green Hawkeye defense. - Adam Jacobi

DINNER

#10 Arkansas vs. #15 Auburn - ESPN 7pm ET

Last year's meeting produced an SEC regulation-time record 108 points, and judging by Tyler Wilson's 500-yard passing day last week (and Texas A&M's 381 yards rushing), Arkansas looks ready to do their part for a repeat performance. But this time, the Tigers have to hope their improving defense can keep them out of a shootout--a struggling passing game has Gus Malzahn's unit leaning heavily on Michael Dyer and ground-out first downs. - JH

Northwestern vs. #12 Michigan - Big Ten Network 7pm ET

If it weren't for that Russell Wilson fellow over in Madison, this game might feature the best two QBs in the conference, as Dan Persa leads the Northwestern charge against visiting Denard Robinson and the Wolverines. Persa shined in his first week back from that Achilles injury last year, but missed the last few minutes for precautionary reasons after an awkward tackle. Can Northwestern make headway against a newly re-energized Michigan defense, or will the Wolverines keep rolling along? - AJ

#7 Stanford vs. Colorado - Versus 7:30pm ET

Colorado isn't terribly good this season but the Buffaloes are rebuilding their program under new head coach Jon Embree and do have several weapons Stanford has to contain. The Buffs are 36th in passing offense and sophomore Paul Richardson is averaging 95 yards receiving a game. As always though, the reason to tune into this game is Heisman candidate Andrew Luck and a balanced attack that can beat you through the air or on the ground. Plus, you never know when something like this is going to happen and make you say wow. - Bryan Fischer

#14 Nebraska vs. Ohio State - ABC 8pm ET

Before this season, this game looked like the second half of a brutal conference opening for Nebraska. Wisconsin held up its end of the bargain last week by beating the Huskers 48-17, but Ohio State is hardly the challenge it used to be without Terrelle Pryor and a host of other stars. If Nebraska's going to show it belongs among the Big Ten elite, it has to bring the pain against a reeling OSU ballclub this week. - AJ

LATE NIGHT SNACK

BYU vs. San Jose State - ESPNU 10:15pm ET

Not exactly a marquee matchup, I know, but it's football and it's on your television. Plus, aside from getting pasted by Utah a few weeks ago, BYU hasn't played a game this season that didn't come down to the final minutes, so the possibility of some midnight HAM is totally in play here. - TF
Posted on: October 6, 2011 11:20 am
Edited on: October 6, 2011 4:17 pm
 

TCU to join the Big 12



Posted by Tom Fornelli


As reported earlier Thursday by CBSSports.com's Brett McMurphy, TCU will be joining the Big 12 conference.

The Big 12 made the announcement official on Thursday morning, saying that it has "authorized negotiations with TCU to become the conference's tenth member." The Big 12 also announced that Missouri did not participate in the vote on the advice of legal counsel.

"These discussions with the Big 12 have huge implications for TCU," said TCU Chancellor Victor Boschini. "It will allow us to return to old rivalries, something our fans and others have been advocating for years. As always, we must consider what's best for TCU and our student-athletes in this ever-changing landscape of collegiate athletics. We look forward to continuing these discussions with the Big 12."

"We’re proud that TCU has been invited to join the Big 12," said Texas AD DeLoss Dodds in a statement. "Their commitment to academics and success on the field make them an excellent fit. With a solid budget and strong financial support, they have been proactive at improving facilities. Their close proximity to all conference institutions makes for a comfortable travel situation."

When Texas A&M was going through the process of leaving the Big 12 for the SEC, for the most part the Big 12 kind of just sat there hoping that Texas A&M wouldn't leave. Which is a role that the Big East seems to have taken over now.

Well, obviously, the Big 12 isn't sitting still anymore. Missouri may not have said that it's leaving just yet, but the writing is on the wall, and this time the Big 12 is being a lot more proactive. Something that Oklahoma President David Boren alluded to in his statement about the addition of TCU.

“TCU is an excellent choice as a new member of the conference," said Boren. "They bring strong athletics and academic credentials and were enthusiastically and unanimously supported by all of the members of the conference. There could be other additions in the future.”

Adding TCU would bring the Big 12 back to 10 schools without Texas A&M, but once Missouri leaves the Big 12 will need to find another replacement. Schools that have been mentioned the most often are BYU, LouisvilleWest Virginia and Cincinnati. Accoring to the Tulsa World's Dave Sittler, Louisville is the next school in line for an invite, but it's possible that three of those four get invites, as the conference has been kicking around the idea of expanding back to 12 schools.

For all our coverage on conference realignment in college football, click here. You can also hear Brett McMurphy discuss TCU's move and what it means for the Big 12 and the Big East on the latest episode of the CBSSports.com College Football Podcast here.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 7:56 pm
Edited on: September 29, 2011 7:57 pm
 

Report: Big 12 may be interested in TCU after all

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Hooray! More conference realignment news!

Texas A&M has already left the Big 12 for the SEC and there are some who believe that Missouri may soon follow the Aggies out the door. Which would leave the Big 12 with only eight schools and looking for potential replacements. As I wrote about yesterday, BYU, Boise State, West Virginia and Louisville have all been mentioned as possibilities for the conference as it may plan on returning to a 12-team league.

One school that isn't mentioned there that seems to make sense, however, is TCU. This is because it had been reported that Big 12 schools weren't exactly thrilled with the idea of adding another conference school in the state of Texas, but according to a report in the Dallas Morning News that may no longer be the case. The Dallas Morning News report is subscription only, but thankfully The Star-Ledger picks up where that pesky subscription line leaves off.
According to a report in today’s Dallas Morning News, “the Big 12 has a new stance about adding members from Texas, potentially opening the door for TCU and other schools.”

What it means is that TCU could be out of the Big East before it ever officially joins. According to two college officials, it would be an easy departure for the Horned Frogs, since they would only have to pay a $5 million exit fee and aren’t bound by the 27-month waiting period penalty unless they are Big East members as of July 1.

The two officials requested anonymity because they are not authorized to discuss TCU’s situation.
The Big 12 may be a more desirable destination for TCU should the offer come along, and not just for geographic and traditional reasons. Simply put, with Pitt and Syracuse already leaving the Big East and UConn expressing a similar desire, hard as it is to believe, the Big 12 is the most stable option at the moment. It would also still provide TCU access to the BCS.

What isn't clear is whether or not TCU would be the Big 12's top choice of a replacement to get back to ten schools, or if the Horned Frogs are only an option should Missouri leave.

But, as with all reports on potential realignment these days, we don't really know anything until the school makes it official.
Posted on: September 29, 2011 11:32 am
Edited on: September 29, 2011 11:35 am
 

The unique importance of Big East league play


Posted by Chip Patterson


On Thursday night, Pittsburgh and South Florida will kick off the Big East conference schedule on national television. To the uninformed viewer, I should probably offer a warning.

Big East conference matchups aren't always pretty.

Since the last major conference shift in 2004-2005, the Big East has become the butt of the many jokes in the college football world. What the conference boasts as "parity" often gets translated from the national perspective into "mediocrity."

But I would instead summarize Big East conference play as "unique." Of the six BCS conferences, the current makeup of the Big East makes it so that every team in the league can (and should) feel like they have a shot at a BCS bowl berth.

The way the conference has set up awarding that BCS bid, the only way to help your chances is to treat every single game in league play like the conference championship. So while some will scoff at the idea of intriguing Big East conference play, at least every single game matters.

At the root of the heightened competition is the absence of divisions or a conference title game. In the last eight seasons, there has been a tie for the conference title four times. In that same period, eight different schools have earned at least a share of the top spot in the league. But for the Big East, winning a tie-breaker could be the difference between a BCS bowl bid and the Belk Bowl in Charlotte, NC.

I'm sure we will review the tie-breaker scenarios extensively when they become more relevant in November, but in a division-less eight team league the focus is entirely on head-to-head records. In three-way and four-way ties, Big East rules call for a "mini-conference" to be created, with the head to head records of the teams in question sorting out the order.

In 2010 West Virginia, Pittsburgh, and Connecticut finished the regular season tied with 5-2 conference records. When the mini-conference was drawn up, the Huskies finished on top with a 2-0 record against the Panthers and Mountaineers. The two victories were a 16-13 overtime win against West Virginia and a 30-28 win against Pittsburgh.

Despite spending the entire regular season unranked (West Virginia and Pittsburgh both spent time in the polls) and having a worse overall record than the Mountaineers, the Huskies earned the league's BCS bid. They earned it thanks to two wins of three points or less in the middle of their conference season.

That makes Big East conference play unique. The round-robin format allows no team to escape with a "easy draw" and a field goal in October could determine who gets a bid to a BCS bowl in January. The Big East has never had a team pick up a BCS at-large bid, and likely will not in 2011.

Like I said, it won't always be pretty. But for the teams involved it will always matter. They are not playing for style points or computer rankings in the Big East. They are fighting against each other for one prize, one game at a time.

Keep up with the latest college football news from around the country. From the regular season all the way through the bowl games, CBSSports.com has you covered with this daily newsletter. | Preview
 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com