Tag Archives: bcs

Barkley’s Back! Watch Out Pac-12, BCS

Man, today is probably the most excited I’ve been about USC football in years. It’s hard to get excited about a team when the games don’t count for anything. Next year, the Trojans are off probation, and I certainly know how good it feels to be off probation! I’ve been a USC fan since 1995 when my sister enrolled there.  Since I chose to go to school at a mid-major conference school, I didn’t have a football team. Well, we did in the past – a damn good one at that – but we had too many black people. In 1951, the USF Dons went undefeated, but were uninvited to any bowl game because they had, gasp, three black guys! That team is still the only college team in history to have three future NFL hall of famers (Bob St. Clair, Ollie Matson, and Geno Marchetti). They surely would’ve had a fourth, if it weren’t for a devestating, career-ending injury sustained by Burl Toler. Still, he went on to become the first black referee in the NFL, so that’s still pretty notable. Add to that, the team’s information director, a guy by the name of Pete Rozelle, went on to play a small part in the NFL’s history, serving as commissioner from 1960 to 1989.

Those days are long gone though, so I’ve adopted USC as my college football team. It’s been a rough few years, but as I mentioned, the Trojans are off probation and back in the thick of things next year. Not many people realize this, but they finished the season as the 5th ranked team in the nation in the AP poll. I’ve got to be honest, I haven’t watched them much in the last 2-3 years since they weren’t bowl-eligible. The exception being the big win over Oregon this year. I can’t imagine I would have watched in on an average Saturday night, but I was in Utah that weekend for my grandfather’s funeral. It was a great game, and I was excited for what could be next year, but I assumed it was a foregone conclusion that quarterback Matt Barkley wouldn’t be there. Even leading up to today, I didn’t really hold out much hope that Barkley would return for his senior season. He would have been a consensus top 10 pick in this year’s NFL draft, and I still can’t really see any kid wanting to play for Lane Kiffin. But Barkley is different. He’s one of those once in a decade players who had dreamed of playing at USC his entire life. Following in the footsteps of Matt Leinart from Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, CA, Barkley also chose to return for his senior season. What makes it special, though, is this year it’ll count.

The Trojans finished 2011 with a 10-2 record, that of course went largely unnoticed. Their two losses came against an Arizona State team that was a LOT better than the one playing in tonight’s Las Vegas Bowl, and a triple-overtime thriller against an elite Stanford team. Not only is Barkley coming back, but he’ll have his two best receivers returning as well. Sophomore Robert Woods and Freshman Marqise Lee combined for 184 receptions, 2,435 yards, and 26 touchdowns. Running back Marc Tyler graduates, but Curtis McNeal was the team’s leading rusher. With probation behind them, I’ve got to believe they’ll have one or two future Heisman candidates coming in next year to take handoffs. They are expected to lose junior left tackle Matt Kalil to the NFL Draft, but you can’t win them all. Next year, though, the Trojans just very well may. I hope Oregon and Stanford enjoyed the run they had, because next year the Pac-12 goes, once again, through Southern California.


Tigers Out Slop The Ducks


The National Championship last night had it’s moments, but for the most part was a pretty boring game, and it looked like both these offenses weren’t in sync, which was the opposite of what everyone was hoping for. I wanted Oregon to pull out the win or find some way to get the game into overtime, but instead we got one of the lowest scoring, and boring bowl games of the year. Congratulations goes out to the Auburn Tigers, too bad that trophy will be taken back in the next few years and nobody will really care that it was taken back, because we obviously know something is up with money going to Cam.

After watching this slopfest of a championship game, I couldn’t help but wonder if this game would’ve been much better if they had played it slightly sooner than 20 weeks after the season. Sports aren’t supposed to be played like this. I’m the kind of guy that complains when there are too many days between games in the NBA Finals or MLB World Series games.  I understand that Bowl games are a big part of New Years day, but why do we have to wait an extra ten days to put the National Championship game on? The simple answer is money of course. It’s like starting from scratch for these two teams though. We may as well have the game right before the season starts, because both teams looked like they were in week 1 for most of the game. Unless Cuban figures out some way to get us a college playoff, the only way to fight back will be to boycott the championship all together. Nobody buying tickets to the game, and nobody watching is the only way we have any hope of changing the crappy system. That being said, I can’t bring myself not to watch, so it looks like we will have to watch two rusty teams play for the National Championship every year for the rest of my lifetime…


NCAA Bowl Schedule Isn’t THAT Bad…

Since I don’t work in professional sports anymore, I find it harder to keep espn.com open on my browser at work. Therefore, I’ve had to find alternate means of keeping up with my sports news. Recently, I’ve channeled my inner-old guy and have started tuning into sports talk radio on my way to and from work. This morning it was Colin Cowherd of ESPN Radio griping about the bowl schedule. In the afternoon it was local sports clown Grant Napear ranting (what else is new?) about the horrible matchups. Now I’m not usually a glass-half-full guy, but I don’t see what the problem is. Yes, there are plenty of boring games and terrible matchups, but I wouldn’t call this one of the worst lineups in recent memory. Nevermind that none of my BCS predictions panned out, there’s still plenty of intrigue as far as I’m concerned. Here’s my Top Three and my Bottom Three for the upcoming bowl season….

#1 – BCS National Championship – Oregon vs. Auburn: It’s the national championship game, what else needs to be said? It’s tough to argue the only two major unbeaten teams – with apologies to TCU – being in the big game. It features two of the four Heisman finalists in Cam Newton and LaMichael James and two historically great programs. The only downside is we have to wait until January 10 to see it.

#2 – Rose Bowl – Wisconsin vs. TCU: Sure, a Pac-10-Big Ten matchup of Stanford-Wisconsin would have been the logical choice here, but Wisconsin is widely considered to be the next best team outside of the two unbeatens. Either they’ll solidify that spot, or TCU will make a good case for a share of the national championship – though they won’t get it.

#3 – Las Vegas Bowl – Utah vs. Boise State: I know, the Las Vegas Bowl isn’t exactly the pinnacle of postseason college football, but that doesn’t take away from the fact that this will be a great game. I picked both of these teams to earn BCS berths, but a couple of late season losses killed those hopes. Nonetheless, it will feature two teams that have both put together undefeated seasons recently.

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Doin BCS Bowl Projections

Without bashing the BCS, or fully knowing the rules these days (are the ACC and Big East still guaranteed a BCS berth? I hope not), here goes my predictions for this year’s BCS Bowl matchups. It’s tough because there’s so many teams from the West up high in the rankings, but we all know the BCS likes SEC schools, and even Big Ten and ACC teams. By factoring that in with projecting the rest of the season, here’s what I’ve come up with.

ROSE BOWL – STANFORD VS. OKLAHOMA

Stanford wins out and finishes 11-1, enough to let the Rose Bowl have a coveted Pac-10 team, and one who hasn’t been there very often, but has a huge following. Expect a sea of red on hand to cheer on the Cardinal against Oklahoma…. or maybe some other team. I’ve got Oklahoma finishing 10-3, but there’s going to be a logjam atop the Big-12, so this could easily be Missouri, Oklahoma State, or Baylor, or even a team from another conference altogether.
FIESTA BOWL – NEBRASKA VS. TCU

Nebraska will get the obligatory Big-12 berth in this game, thanks to a 11-2 finish with a conference championship over Oklahoma. TCU will be unhappy, but I see them losing to Utah. Having that one loss relieves some of the pressure on the BCS to include smaller schools that go undefeated.
ORANGE BOWL – ALABAMA VS. BOISE STATE

Also taking the heat off the BCS will be Boise State’s regular season loss to either Fresno State or Nevada on the horizon. Alabama will end up in Florida despite beating Auburn, because they’ll come up short in the conference.

SUGAR BOWL – AUBURN VS. UTAH

Utah will go undefeated, but once again get snubbed out of fear of a Utah-Oregon television ratings disaster. Like clockwork, they’ll opt for a one-loss goliath and Utah will be left to face another SEC team.

BCS CHAMPIONSHIP – OREGON VS. OHIO STATE

Ah, a BCS dream matchup. Despite being a West Coast team, the Ducks have a huge following, so ratings shouldn’t be a problem for the committee here. And Ohio State is always a slam dunk on a national stage. This should be one of the best National Championship games in a long time.


Let’s Go Bowling!

The college bowl season has arrived! Today, the first course will be served up in the form of Bulldogs, Cowboys, Knights, and um, Scarlet Knights. While no one expects the Nielsen ratings to jump through the roof, some good football ought to be played today. Here’s some things to look for in today’s games.

New Mexico Bowl. 1:30pm PST. Fresno State vs. Wyoming

Who Will Be Watching: 1.5 million people. Fresno State dominates the Fresno area, which is populated by about 1,000,000 people, but there’s not much of a following throughout the rest of California, with the exception of alumni. Wyoming, however, is the predominant university in the state, which has a population of a little over 500,000.

Who To Watch: Ryan Matthews. The Bulldogs’ RB was quietly one of the best in the nation, leading the country in yards per game at 151 per contest. He’ll be playing for a draft slot, as many people will be seeing him play for the first time.

Who Will Win: Fresno State. The Bulldogs finished the season 8-4, but they played a slightly tougher conference schedule, and also put up a better fight in their losses at Wisconsin and at Cincinnati, and their other two losses were to undefeated Boise State and a pretty underrated Nevada team in Reno. Wyoming, on the other hand, finished 6-6. Of their six losses, four were against ranked teams, and the other two were on the road at tough opponents’ stadiums. They were shut out by Colorado, Air Force, and BYU, and were only able to muster a total of 30 combined points in losses to Texas, Utah, and TCU. Expect Wyoming to put a few more points on the board, but they likely won’t have the resources to contain Matthews.

St. Petersburg Bowl. 5:00pm PST. Rutgers vs. Central Florida

Who Will Be Watching. 750,000 people. Don’t expect anyone outside of Northern New Jersey and the Orlando area to care much about this one. Although, there may be a few scattered fans throughout the country just looking for a football fix.

Who To Watch: Brynn Harvey, UCF, and Tim Brown, Rutgers. Harvey carried the ball 248 times for 1,077 yards and 14 TDs. What’s more impressive? 0 fumbles. As for Brown, while donning a great receiver’s name, he pulled in 51 catches for an average of 20.6 per reception. He’s only 5’8″ 165 lbs, so expect to see a couple deep passes and possibly some fireworks.

Who Will Win: Rutgers. The two teams have identical 8-4 records, but Rutgers plays in a better conference. Although it will be a virtual home game for UCF, the Scarlet Knights are the better team.


5 Things That Need To Happen In Sports

Consider this my Christmas wish list for the world of sports. Here’s a few things I’d like to see happen. They’re not necessarily the most pressing issues, but they just seem to make sense in my head.

College Football Playoff System – Let’s start with the obvious. This topic has been beaten to death, and is destined to sit at its current impasse. 95% of the population wants a playoff, while the BCS and a few others do not. It’s been said that the point of the BCS is only to ensure the top two teams are playing for the National Championship. However, this year, we’ve got an unprecedented THREE undefeated teams NOT playing for the Title. If Cincinnati beats Florida, they’ll have a pretty convincing argument. At the same time, the winner of the Fiesta Bowl, either TCU or Boise State, will also have the right to consider themselves co-champions.

Likelihood of this happening: Slim to none.

Realignment of MLB Divisions – It’s been 12 years since the Milwaukee Brewers jumped to the National League, yet we’re still sitting here with 6 teams in the NL Central and 4 teams in the AL West. The solution is simple, click here for my proposal.

Likelihood of this happening: Doubtful, at least as far as my plan specifically. Realignment as a result of expansion or contraction might be a more likely scenario.

Eliminate NBA Referees’ Biases – Even though the NBA has been in denial for years, we all know they have a problem. Over the course of the last 15 years, the game has evolved into a whistle blowing exhibition. Either cut the crap or start selling referees’ jerseys at the NBA Team Store. I can’t stand watching my favorite sport get ruined more and more each year.

Likelihood of this happening: Not on Stern’s watch.

Chris Cohan To Sell The Warriors – I’m not entirely convinced it’s this guy’s fault. I’m pretty sure it’s a collective effort driving the franchise into the ground. If I had to choose someone to blame, it’d be team President, Bobby Rowell. However, since he appears married to Cohan, it’s going to take a change in ownership to revive this thing. The W’s fan base is the best in basketball; they need an owner who shares the same sentiment.

Likelihood of this happening: It’s probably more a matter of a buyer willing to spend the money than Cohan’s willingness to sell.

Sacramento to Build and Arena HERE – I know there’s a lot more to it – for example, money – but sometimes logic only slaps you in the face so often. The downtown railyards are just sitting there, practically begging for an arena. Meanwhile, the more favored location is not. If money is such an issue, why not scale back arena plans a little? Basketball in Sacramento has never been about the amenities, just build an arena that keeps up with the Joneses, put a quality team on the floor, and watch your money grow.

Likelihood of this happening: Wake me when it’s over.


Three Lumps of Coal: The Worst Bowl Games

Matt’s Pick: GMAC Bowl. Central Michigan vs. Troy in Mobile, AL. Jan. 6 4:00pm PST

This game makes every year’s list of worst bowl games, due in large part to the timing. The GMAC Bowl is always the second to last bowl game, played the night before the BCS National Championship Game. This year’s installment features a pretty decent 11-2 Central Michigan team, who provided one of the most exciting games I watched this season when they beat Michigan State. They also have QB Dan LeFevour, who led the nation is completion percentage (71.1%) and was 20th in passing yards with 3,043. Troy, on the other hand, did go undefeated in Sun Belt Conference play, but failed to put up a fight against nonconference opponents, Florida, Bowling Green, and Arkansas.

Andre’s Pick: R&L Carriers New Orleans Bowl. Southern Mississippi vs. Middle Tennessee in New Orleans, LA. Dec. 20 5:30pm PST

I don’t think this game deserves ESPN’s attention, shouldn’t Versus or TBS be on this one??  10 bonus points if you can name the mascot for both teams.  Tick-tock… ok, times up: you might know SoMiss are the Golden Eagles, but MidTenn is the toughy, the Blue Raiders.  But even they might be better than the Silver and Black Raiders.  Ok low-blow.  If you do catch this snoozer on a Sunday afternoon, watch for the battle of two strengths as Damion Fletcher of the Golden Eagles, one of the most prolific and underrated RBs in the country, goes up against the very strong front 7 of the Blue Raiders D.

Tony’s Pick: Little Caesars Bowl. Ohio vs. Marshall in Detroit, MI. Dec. 26 10:00am PST

I hate Little Caesars Pizza, so it’s fitting I hate there bowl game as well. In fact I’d rather eat tofu than a Little Caesars medium cheese pizza, but that’s neither here nor there. When I wake up Saturday morning the day after Christmas I can honestly say the last thing I will do is tune into Marshall and Ohio. These are two mediocre mid-conference football teams with no real standout players of note either. In fact, Marshall’s coach Mark Snyder resigned at the end of the regular rather than have to coach his team in this bowl (well, I might have made that part up).  With two other quality games later in the day, pass on the Mini Caesars Bowl, and get some family time in…..you won’t be missing anything.




Three Types of College Football Openers

The college football season got off to a lackluster start last night – with the exception of LeGarrette Blount’s performance during the extra period.  What’s sad is Blount was in the shadow of Jeremiah Johnson last year, and this was to be his year in the spotlight.  Unfortunately, he wanted all of his spotlight on the first night, and because of that, he will be all but forgotten in our memories after the weekend is over.  That game, paired with the earlier game, South Carolina vs. NC State, left a lot of us wanting more.  Tulsa and Tulane didn’t exactly deliver Friday night either.  So, Saturday marks our best chance to see some real college football barn-burners.  Week 1 is typically reserved for the powerhouses beating up on some lowly D-1, and sometimes, D-2 schools, but there are a few games that stand out this weekend.  Here, we’ll list the three types of Season Opening games and how they might play out.

The Blowouts

These are the games that are so lopsided Vegas doesn’t even bother with spreads.  They’re the games that are built solely to ensure a team gets off to a 1-0 start and get them off on the right foot in they’re national or conference championship campaign.  You know the type, big school at home versus a small school with little to no national following.  Need some examples?

Akron @ #9 Penn State, Navy @ #6 Ohio State, Jacksonville St. @ #15 Georgia Tech, Montana St. @ Michigan St., The Citadel @ #21 North Carolina, Louisian-Monroe @ #2 Texas, Florida Atlantic @ #24 Nebraska, Charleston Southern @ #1 Florida, and as much as I hate to include them since they don’t typically schedule easy games, #4 USC hosting San Jose State.

The Blowouts Gone Wrong

These games have the same intention as those previously mentioned, however, they can backfire, much as Michigan’s upset loss to Appalachian State.  There aren’t many of them, but at least one is sure to end in heartbreak for a hopeful team.  Here’s our pool of potential upset games.

#22 Iowa vs. Northern Iowa, Auburn vs. Lousiana Tech, #25 Kansas vs. Northern Colorado, #12 California vs. Maryland, UCLA vs. San Diego State, and my pick for the most likely upset, #23 Notre Dame vs. Nevada.

The Legit Matchups

These games are the exception.  They don’t always end in a competitive game, but you have to give the schools credit for diving right into the fray and not scheduling a pushover to kick their season off.  Much like the Boise State – Oregon matchup Thursday night, they can make or break your season.

#13 Georgia @ #9 Oklahoma State, #20 BYU @ #3 Oklahoma, and Week 1’s main event, #5 Alabama vs. #7 Virgina Tech at the Georgia Dome.


College Football Kickoff – Oregon @ Boise State, Thu SEP 3

College football season is here, and not a day too soon!  Nine games are on the docket, but one is clearly the main attraction.  #16 Oregon will visit the blue turf to take on the #14 Boise State Broncos in a west coast showdown.  Both teams are known for their electric offense, not to mention their vibrant color schemes.  It will be a test of wills on the field, and a test of retinas on the TV screen.  Oregon is coming off a 9-3 season and looks to challenge USC and Cal for the Pac-10 title this year.  Boise State, a perennial WAC favorite, is coming off what seemed like another ho-hum undefeated season.  Fans can expect fireworks as these two teams duke it out in front of a national audience.  Thursday night’s matchup should have a bowl game feel to it.

On the Ducks’ side, the main story is the departure of 14 year head coach, Mike Belotti.  Belotti made the jump to the Athletic Director’s office, leaving former offensive coordinator Chip Kelly at the helm.  The player to watch will be RB LeGarrette Blount, who gained 1,000+ yards last season splitting carries with Jeremiah Johnson.  With Johnson gone, Blount figures to be the feature back for Oregon.

For the Broncos, the key to their attack will likely be the passing game.  Kellen Moore returns at QB and has two weapons at the wideout spots in Austin Pettis and Titus Young, who was suspended for the majority of last season, but figures to be a deep threat for the Boise State offense.  It will be on the defensive side of the ball where Boise’s fate will lie.  If the Broncos can stifle the Oregon offensive attack, they should find a way to put enough points on the board to outlast the Ducks.

This is a huge season opener for both teams, as one loss typically will take a team out of the national championship picture.  The winner, on the other hand, will likely vault into the top twelve, on the strength of the season’s biggest victory of Week 1.  Grab your popcorn, as T.O. would say, because these two teams from the Northwest are sure to put on a show!

MCeezy’s Prediction: Boise State 30 – Oregon 21


Big Opening Games of the 2009 College Football Season

Sep 3, Oregon @ Boise State

The college football season kicks off with a colorful combination of Oregon’s always intense jerseys and Boise State’s blue field.  This should be one wildly entertaining game, provided the High-Def broadcast isn’t too much on the retinas.

Sep 5, Maryland @ Cal

This is a pretty interesting season opening matchup for both programs, and I must say I’m surprised Maryland would make the trek to Berkeley so soon out of the gates. On the flipside, I guess when your yearly goal is to be bowl eligible at seasons end, taking a tough road game early on makes sense as barometer of where you stand. Neither team talent wise looks to have any serious influence on a conference title challenge this year (or any year for that matter). Gut feeling, Cal feeds off the home crowd, and its slightly better athleticism runs out to a two TD win.

Sep 5, Nevada @ Notre Dame

This game has upset written all over it.  Notre Dame always likes to schedule a lightweight before they get into the Michigan – Michigan State thing, but this year they might’ve picked the wrong opponent.  The game has shades of last year’s matchup with San Diego State, but I think the Wolfpack can execute at the right time and make the plays they need to take this game.  There’s also a strong likelihood that Jimmy Claussen could pick apart this defense in a blowout, but until then, I’ll be keeping a close eye on this score.

Sep 5, Georgia @ Oklahoma State

Georgia was great last year….Oklahoma St. was decent. Georgia’s coach is not quite as crazy as Oklahoma St. Coach. SEC Teams always destroy in these matchups. It’s the first big non-conference game of the year, but I still have Georgia by 21.

Sept. 5, Brigham Young vs. Oklahoma.*

It’s pretty tough to pick against the Sooners. With a seasoned duo of Bradford and Gresham passing up millions in the NFL to come back and play, they must be out to prove something. I think this will be close for a half at most. I hope we see a battle, but to be honest with you I think this one’s going to be a blowout on neutral ground.

Sep 5, Alabama vs. Virginia Tech.*

A great early season match-up of two highly talented and ranked teams with realistic goals of winning their respective conferences.  Alabama is coming off a banner conference season that ended with a terrible stumble to the finish line.  They lost their conference championship game to eventual National Champions Florida, then lost the Sugar Bowl to a serious underdog in Utah.  The underclassmen left over from last year will be aiming to correct their painful losing streak after starting the season 12-0.  The Hokies are by far the overwhelming favorites to win the ACC-Coastal over Georgia Tech as well as the overall Conference title this year.  The Hokies will begin as a preseason top-10 team due to a perennially strong defense and the emergence of QB Tyrod Taylor.  Should be interesting to see where these teams start the season in the polls, as each has been ranked as high as #6 in preseason polls.

Sep 6, Colorado State @ Colorado

These in-state rivals will again kick-off the season for bragging rights, and Colorado will be looking to extend their series win streak to three.  The Buffs will be looking to get off to a strong start to their season, after a disappointing 2-6 finish in conference capped by a 58-0 loss at Mizzu and a seat at home during bowl season.  For the Rams it was an up and down season as they showed great fortitude to win their final three games and finish above .500. They won the New Mexico Bowl by scoring 3 times in the 4th quarter to win a shootout by 5 over Fresno St., mainly behind Gartrell Johnson’s record setting 285 rushing yards, 375 combined yards, and two TDs… both of which came in the fourth quarter.

Sept. 7, Miami @ Florida State

The Seminoles look to win their third consecutive against their ACC rivals. The Canes have a very rough first month, and they don’t start things off easy for them  as they face a rowdy labor day crowd. Florida State should be able to continue their win streak capping off the three day weekend.

(* No Home Team)