July 22, 2009

MWC commissioner: BCS changes could take five years

Mountain West Conference commissioner Craig Thompson says changes to the BCS could take five years, according to an Associated Press story.

That sounds about right because the television contract with ESPN runs from 2011-14. Any BCS changes couldn't really happen until after the contract ends.

Thompson also said that the conference signed the ESPN deal so the athletes could compete in showcase games. Below is the full AP story.

HENDERSON, Nev. (AP) — The commissioner of the Mountain West Conference says he’ll keep pushing for changes to college football’s postseason bowl selection system.

But Commissioner Craig Thompson said Wednesday it could take five years to get any change to the Bowl Championship Series system.

Thompson told conference media in southern Nevada that in the meantime, the MWC went ahead and became the last conference to sign a broadcasting contract with ESPN for the 2011-14 seasons.

The MWC has been lobbying Congress and the BCS for bowl selection changes since Utah went undefeated last year but was shut out of a national championship game.

Thompson says the conference agreed to the ESPN deal so MWC athletes wouldn’t be denied a chance to compete in the nation’s showcase football games.

Army announces more Yankee Stadium games

BY EVAN DRELLICH

Army has scheduled three additional college football games to be played at new Yankee Stadium, including a matchup with Rutgers in 2011.

The Black Knights will also play Air Force in 2012 and Boston College in 2014. The three games, announced during a press conference on Wednesday morning at Yankee Stadium, are in addition to a 2010 matchup with Notre Dame that was announced Monday.

“We take great pride in recruiting players in a three-hour circle around our institution,” said Rutgers coach Greg Schiano, referencing former Scarlet Knight star Ray Rice, a New Rochelle native and now running back for the Baltimore Ravens. “This falls in a 25- to 30-minute range on the train, so this is an important place to us. This is going to be a great thrill.”

CBS Sports president Sean McManus announced that CBS College Sports Network will exclusively carry every Army home game over the 2010-2014 seasons in high-definition, giving the network deals with all three service schools: Army, Navy and Air Force. All Army home games are guaranteed to be played on Saturday afternoons as part of the deal.

For Schiano, whose Scarlet Knights were 7-5 and won a third straight bowl game in 2008, coaching in Yankee Stadium will recall memories from his childhood. He was in the stands for Reggie Jackson’s three-home run performance against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series.

“It’s going to be cool, I don’t know if there was a better way to say it,” he said. “I was at that game that night, and what a special night. As I was driving in this morning, I pointed out to my boys that we were there. It’s going to be neat. I can’t wait.”

Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti said getting into Yankee Stadium was one of the first things he worked on after taking the position April 1.

“It’s an effort to try to make sure that we’re part of these unique opportunities that raise the profile of the football program and the entire university in one shot,” he said.

Air Force athletic director Hans Mueh pointed to the games as a chance to break into a market his school has difficulty pulling talent from.

“The East Coast is tough for us to recruit,” Mueh said. “Army and Navy are ensconced in this part of the world.”

Report: Virginia Tech, Boise State to play in 2010, 2011

WTVR 6 in Richmond is reporting that Virginia Tech and Boise State have agreed to play in 2010 and 2011.

Chatter is that Virginia Tech will drops its home-and-home in those years with Syracuse, after the Orange asked out of the deal. Understandable, considering coach Doug Marrone is looking to rebuild the program.

Sources have said the Broncos and Hokies will open the 2010 season in FedEx Field, home of the Washington Redskins. It would not be the Hokies' first time kicking off a season there -- they played the USC Trojans in Landover, Md. in 2004 (great atmosphere for a college game, as I was in the pressbox that night).

The 2011 game will be played in Blacksburg. Looks like Virginia Tech makes out like bandits on this deal, fiscally speaking. However, they'll be strapping on the pads a little tighter with Boise State flying to the East Coast.

--Abramson

July 21, 2009

Will Weis be coaching Notre Dame in 2010?

OK, we now know what was widely speculated: Army will play Notre Dame at new Yankee Stadium in 2010.

The real question is whether or not Charlie Weis will survive in South Bend and be on the sidelines for that game.

Newsday online columnist Arthur Staple ponders that question in this column.

5 memorable college games at Yankee Stadium

Here are five of the best games played in Yankee Stadium (as selected by Newsday's Arthur Staple, who has been covering the Army-Notre Dame football game at Yankee Stadium story).

Don't worry if you don't remember any of them ...

Nov. 10, 1928 - Notre Dame 12, Army 6. Irish coach Knute Rockne delivered the "Win one for the Gipper" speech at halftime, and his team scored twice in the second half to win in front of 78,000.

Nov. 9, 1946 - Army 0, Notre Dame 0. The top-ranked Cadets and No. 2-ranked Irish played to a memorable scoreless tie, preserved when Notre Dame's John Lujack stopped Doc Blanchard late.

Dec. 1, 1928 - Stanford 28, Army 0. A record crowd of 86,000 turned out in the Bronx for Stanford's win.

Dec. 13, 1930 - Army 6, Navy 0. It was the first meeting between the academies at Yankee Stadium, and 70,000 turned out for the Black Knights' win.

Sept. 12, 1987 - Central State (Ohio) 37, Grambling 21. The last football game at the old Stadium, it tore up the field badly enough to cancel any further football plans

July 20, 2009

It's official: Army vs. Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium

BY ARTHUR STAPLE

Notre Dame and Army played some of the legendary football games at the old Yankee Stadium. Now, the two tradition-rich schools will play the first football game at the new Yankee Stadium, on Nov. 20, 2010.

“My Dad, like many of us, is a great fan of college football. And when we first floated this idea past him and told him Notre Dame and Army were interested, he was ecstatic,” said Yankees managing partner Hal Steinbrenner. “(George) has reminded me of a couple things over the last few months: 22 of the (49) games between the two schools took place right across the street at the old Stadium. We’re excited to bring that tradition across the street.”

The football field will stretch from behind home plate, diagonally, out to center field, a different configuration than when football was played in the old Yankee Stadium.

The two schools last played in Yankee Stadium on Oct. 11, 1969, and the last college game of any kind at the old Stadium was between Central State (Ohio) and Grambling on Sept. 12, 1987.

“This is a very special moment for me,” said Notre Dame coach Charlie Weis. “I was one of those guys sitting in the left-center field bleachers, watching Giants games as a kid. I was one of those guys watching the Yankees in the old Yankee Stadium, when the pillars were right in front of your face before they renovated it. This is a special moment for me, coming here.”

Neither program is close to where it once was, with Weis’ Irish team coming off a 7-6 season and Army is on its fifth head coach in the last seven seasons with Rich Ellerson.

But Army, which played 38 games in Yankee Stadium from 1925-1969, is set to announce a new series of games in the new Stadium on Wednesday.

July 17, 2009

Report: Army to play Notre Dame at Yankee Stadium

There's been plenty of speculation that new Yankee Stadium (just like the old Stadium) will host college football games in the future.

Newsday's Arthur Staple wrote about Army's interest in playing football at Yankee Stadium in this story.

Now the Yankees have scheduled a press conference for 4 p.m. on Monday to make a "major announcement" regarding college football at the new Stadium.

The Times-Herald Record of Middletown, N.Y., is reporting that Army and Notre Dame have reached an agreement to play at Yankee Stadium in 2010. According to the story, Army will also play games there in 2011, 2012 and 2013.

July 14, 2009

Bowden hopes Florida State wins appeal

The NCAA wants to strip Florida State's Bobby Bowden of 14 wins from his career coaching record. Florida State is appealing the decision.

The academic cheating scandal at the school prompted the NCAA to place Florida State on four years' probation, take away 19 athletic scholarships, and order 10 teams whose student-athletes were involved in the scandal to vacate wins.

Bowden is hopeful Florida State wins the appeal. The NCAA determined that Bowden and the other coaches had no knowledge of the cheating.

ESPN.com's Mark Schlabach has the full story here.

Meanwhile, Penn State's Joe Paterno, who leads Bowden by one victory on the career wins list, told the Reading (Penn.) Eagle that he doesn't think it would be fair for Bowden to have those wins erased from his record.

July 12, 2009

Congress and the BCS: The four-year waiting game

The Senate subcommittee with antitrust oversight, led by Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), held its hearing on the Bowl Championship Series last Tuesday in Washington, D.C.

The room was packed but the highlights were few. Well, there was one highlight. Hatch is asking the Justice Department to investigate the BCS for violations of antitrust laws.

The entire hearing focused on old ground. Words like "conspiracy" were thrown around.

The BCS system is flawed. That is clear. The BCS can be unfair to schools -- like Utah -- that are not part of the six power conferences (ACC, Big East, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10, SEC). We saw that last season. A playoff would be the best way to settle things.

So, now what? Well, nothing for now. We'll have to wait another four years, when the current BCS agreement ends in 2013.

For now, this is simply the start of a long fight that will move into the later rounds, when the BCS will eventually be forced to evolve into a better system (playoff?) for picking a national champion.

It's no surprise that Hatch is taking the lead here. Remember, it was unbeaten Utah -- not one-loss Florida or one-loss Oklahoma -- that was left out of the national championship game last season. And then the Utes go and pound Alabama, which had been No. 1 for a good portion of last season, in the Sugar Bowl to complicate matters, and strengthening the case for changes to the BCS.

During last week's hearing, Rep. Joe Barton of Texas threatened that if a playoff wasn't set up Congress would move to pass his bill banning the BCS from calling its title game a national championship unless its outcome is decided within a playoff system. So if Texas goes and wins the national title in 2009, will Barton not celebrate the Longhorns as champions?

Barton has a stake in this as well. Texas beat Oklahoma last season, but the Sooners went to the national title game despite both teams having identical records.

Actually, Barton should be taking a hard look at the Big 12 before he slams the BCS. In fact, the Big 12, together with the BCS system, sent Oklahoma to the national title game. The first tie-breaker in the Big 12 is BCS ranking, not head-to-head matchup.

Outside of Hatch and Barton, no other senator really cared about the hearing. In fact, most stayed away.

The Mountain West Conference, which has Utah as a member, agreed to sign the BCS agreement last week. The MVC said in its statement that it had no choice, but will continue to fight for an equal system in college football.

By the time the current agreement ends, ESPN will have the television rights for all of the BCS games, including the national title game. And don't underestimate the power ESPN could have in changing things.

The American Football Coaches Association is experimenting with various scenarios for its poll, including no preseason poll, and perhaps a top 15 or top 10 each week, rather than the usual top 25. That would clearly impact how the BCS formula is calculated.

My guess is that college football will work out its own problems. It's just going to take some time.

July 3, 2009

Rutgers adds home-and-home with UCLA

Rutgers keeps adding to its impressive list of non-conference opponents in the coming years.

The Scarlet Knights have already announced future home-and-home games with Penn State and Miami (Fla.). Now Rutgers has announced a two-game series with UCLA.

UCLA comes to New Jersey on Sept. 1, 2016, and Rutgers goes to California the following season, on Sept. 2, 2017.

July 1, 2009

Senate to hold BCS hearing next week

The Senate will hold a hearing next week to look into antitrust issues involving the Bowl Championship Series.

Also, check this week's Sports Illustrated, which includes an essay by Sen. Orrin Hatch of Utah. Hatch has been leading the push to get a hearing on the BCS.

According to the Associated Press story, Hatch wrote in his SI essay: "One thing is clear: No changes will take place if Congress does nothing."

June 26, 2009

BCS rejects Mountain West plan

No surprise that the BCS rejected the Mountain West Conference proposal for an eight-team playoff that gave teams outside of the six power conferences a legitimate shot to play for a national title.

In all, the 10 conferences and Notre Dame agreed to current postseason set-up and current television contract.

What will be interesting is when ESPN takes control of television rights for all of the top BCS games. If ESPN wants a playoff, you can bet there will be a playoff sooner or later.

June 24, 2009

Nike unveils new Oregon Ducks uniforms


Photo: Chris Pietsch/The Register-Guard

I can never quite tell what Nike is trying to accomplish with their Oregon Ducks project. I've yet to meet anyone outside of the state of Oregon that actually likes the outlandish threads the Ducks wear on Saturdays. I've never been to Oregon, so that means I've never met someone who likes Oregon's uniforms.

The picture above is the uniforms planned for this year. The Register-Guard has more here.

In a similar note, Darren Rovell, who writes an awesome sports business column for CNBC, gave us a look at Boise States new unis.


Photos courtesy of broncosports.com

I also hear 10 teams will be wearing special Nike uniforms this year -- so keep an eye out for that announcement.

June 11, 2009

Nick Montana commits to Washington

Nick Montana, son of Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana, committed to Washington, according to The Seattle Times.

Montana is a senior quarterback at Oaks Christian High School in Westlake Village, Calif.

According to The Seattle Times, Nick Montana was very impressed with new Washington coach Steve Sarkisian. Not a bad guy to be impressed with. Sarkisian worked with NFL quarterbacks Carson Palmer, Matt Leinert and Mark Sanchez at USC.

The Seattle Times reported that Montana was also considering Notre Dame (his dad's alma mater), LSU, Ohio State, Alabama, Stanford and Georgia. Not a bad list of schools. And a great get by Sarkisian.

June 3, 2009

Boston College's Dominique Davis to transfer

Quarterback Dominique Davis is transferring from Boston College after he was suspended for academic reasons.

The problem for new head coach Frank Spaziani is who does he pick to be his starting QB? Redshirt freshman Justin Tuggle or junior college transfer Codi Boeck, who played fullback last season?

That's not a good problem, especially since the ACC should be competitive again in 2009. Not many easy games in the conference.

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