Unofficial Predicitons: College Football Champs

Thursday, 2 September 2010, 20:14 | Category : College, Football
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With the college football season about to begin on Thursday, we thought it only appropriate to make some Unofficial Predictions.  Since the season has not yet begun, my knowledge of teams is based on the more official reports of others.  We will also refrain from predicting the winners of non-AQ conferences we are not as familiar with.  At this point all we can do is gaze into the crystal ball and write what we see…

ACC Atlantic: Boston College

ACC Coastal: Virginia Tech

ACC: Virginia Tech- they choke in at least one big game during the season, but they somehow tend to stay relevant.

Big XII North: Nebraska- they’ve got something to prove in their final season in the conference.

Big XII South: Oklahoma

Big XII: Nebraska- I was not convinced by Landry Jone’s play last season.

Big East: Pitt

Big Ten: Wisconsin- I may be a little biased on this one.

Mountain West: TCU- The Horned Frogs are somehow flying under the radar.  They are ranked 6th and have a very weak schedule this year.  Utah and BYU will be no match and Oregon State shouldn’t do much to them at home either.  It is smooth sailing from there.  If Boise St. loses, TCU could be the team to break into the national championship game.

Pac-10: Stanford- from what I understand it is up for grabs; Washington will be a sleeper to watch out for.

SEC East: Georgia

SEC West: Alabama- but watch out for Arkansas.

SEC: Alabama

WAC: Boise State- duh.

Champion: Boise State over Alabama- Its hard to see this scenario actually happening, but I don’t think the Big East or ACC have the talent to send a champ.  The Big Ten, Big XII, and Pac-10 will all beat up on each other.  BSU is ranked high enough that if it goes undefeated then there is no reason why it shouldn’t get a shot at the title.  Alabama is still a powerhouse, but BSU seems to thrive in big games.

Summary: Who knows?! Last season was a little too scripted, so we’re expecting (and hoping for) a lot of surprises this season.

Conference Confusion: Part II

Saturday, 14 August 2010, 16:42 | Category : College, Football
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ESPN.com

In part I of this post, I delved into the expansion of both the Mountain West Conference and the Pac-10, with Utah being a key figure in both.  The MWC conference gained Boise St just to lose Utah to its west coast rival.  The Pac-10 also picked up Colorado; however, it was not the only conference to look towards to Big XII for expansion.

The Big Ten (which actually has 11 members) has been looking to expand for some time and finally found a taker in Nebraska.  Since Nebraska makes the required minimum of 12 teams to have divisions within a conference, the Big Ten is now exploring the possibilities for evenly matched divisions. I suggest creating a division down the

Possible Big Ten division

Illinois-Indiana border creating a Big Ten East and West.  This will ensure that most Big Ten rivalries and permanent matches, such as Michigan-Ohio St, will stay intact.  Only four existing rivalries would be divided.  However, teams would only have 5 in-division games with three or four games against opponents from the other division, making it possible to keep those rivalries.  Very doable.  Furthermore, dividing the conference like so would be balanced.  The teams I placed in the East finished last season 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 1o in the conference, while the teams in the West ended 2, 4, 8, 9, and 11.  And based on its record, Nebraska would have likely ended in the top 5.  Much more straight forward than the divisions in the ACC, but there are other options.

For some time now, Penn St coach, Joe Paterno, has been vocal about expanding the Big Ten eastward.  If the conference manages to pluck top teams from the Big East (which would definitely improve the conference in basketball), then division boundaries become more difficult to draw.  If they do go that route, I suggest choosing out of Pitt, Cincy, and West Virginia.  Along with the addition of divisions, the Big Ten (or is it Twelve now?) is also planning to begin a conference championship in Indy starting 2011.  It appears the Big Ten is making big plans to pull itself out of its recent slump in mediocrity.

I hope to see a lot more of this in up coming seasons.

It appears that the Big XII is content for now because they lost their weakest links in basketball in Colorado and Nebraska (although, the Corn Huskers football team is currently ranked 9th in USA Today Poll).  Diminishing its numbers means the money the conference makes will now only be split ten ways.  (I’m not sure how the Pac-10 benefits from its acquisitions.)  If the Big XII does decide to replenish, its best bet may be to look into TCU and Houston, both of which are consistently in the bowl busting talk, at the expense of smaller conferences.

After the loss of Utah, the MWC would be devistated if TCU decided to head out as well.  Of course, they could always make acquisitions of their own.  If they could add three more teams (probably Houston, Nevada, and Fresno St) they could have two divisions.  This would facilitate two teams from the MWC to make BCS bowl appearances in the same year.  But they may decide to play it safe and not disrupt the progress they have made the last two years.  As of now, the MWC is ahead of the Big East and tied with the ACC in the measurements we are aware of.  According to one ESPN blog, “We know that the BCS measures the strength of the best teams as well as the conference as a whole. It also looks at BCS bowl berths and Top 25 rankings. But the rest of the measuring stick — if more even exists — is broken off and kept in a vault somewhere.”  I guess we’ll see in two years.

Now that the Big Ten and Pac-10 are up to twelve and the Big XII is down to ten, I expect to see a chain reaction of conference changes across the nation over the next few years.  One theory is the creation of 4 mega conferences.  As for me, I believe the changes will be more subtle.  But one thing is for sure, NCAA Division I conferences are in flux.  What changes do you see coming in college football? (Hint: please comment)

Conference Confusion: Part I

Thursday, 12 August 2010, 4:49 | Category : College, Football
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ESPN.com

So if I understand this correctly, then XII=10 and Ten=12?  The landscape of Division I FBS has changed significantly this summer.  Two BCS conferences, the Big Ten and Pac-10, both increased the number of schools in their conference while the Big XII shrunk.

While the Pac-10 attempted to strip the Big XII clean this summer, the Mountain West (typically regarded as the top non-AQ conference) made an upgrade of its own by picking up Boise St.  In this past Fiesta Bowl, Boise St. defeated Mountain West’s TCU 17-10 for their second BCS bowl victory.  The addition of Boise St. appeared to be a good step forward for the MWC to become an automatic bid conference.  Unfortunately for the MWC, Utah isn’t waiting to upgrade.

As of next year, Utah will be a member of the Pac-10, joining Colorado (of the Big XII) as the newest members of the conference.  Utah is 7-3 in its last 10 meetings with the Pac-10, including its handling of Cal in last year’s Poinsettia Bowl.  Utah is the original

Utah defeats new Pac-10 rival, Cal.

“bowl buster” and the first non-AQ team to win two BCS bowls.  The supped-up Pac-10 will likely place its two new additions with the Arizona and LA schools.  This leaves the Bay Area and North West schools to make up the other division.  Losing Utah does hurt the MWC’s chances of becoming the seventh automatic bid conference, but the addition of Boise St. will help to ease the hurt.

For some time, I heard rumors that the Pac-10 has flirted with the idea of adding Utah and instate rival BYU (my alma mater), but that they had problems with BYU due to its religious affiliation.  While BYU has never reached a BCS bowl, they are consistantly at the top of the conference and ranked in the top 25 (in both football and basketball).  Since switching Utah for Boise St. probably leaves the MWC with about the same chance to become an automatic bid conference, this move in some ways helps BYU.  Whether the Byu-Utah rivalry will continue or not is to be determined.  If the Holy War does continue, BYU will have a guaranteed BCS opponent every year; not to mention the conference won’t beat itself up as much.  Regardless, it’ll be nice not to have to root for Utah when they’re not playing BYU anymore.

Expansion plans for the MWC and the Pac-10 did not go exactly as planned this summer.  In the middle of a four year trial, the MWC may wait out the next two years to see if they make the jump to a BCS conference before making any more additions.  Only time will tell if the se two conferences will choose to continue expanding.

Check Part II of this post for more on conference changes.

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