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.

The Unofficial Reaction: BYU’s Independence

Wednesday, 1 September 2010, 2:33 | Category : College, Football
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Its official!  BYU is leaving the Mountain West and will join the West Coast Conference (WCC) for all sports other than football starting the 2011-12 season.  Wed., September 1, BYU will hold an official press conference announcing the move.

The whole process has been a real chess match between BYU and the MWC.  Earlier this summer BYU pushed for the remaining members of the WAC to sign an agreement to stay in the conference for at least five years so that it would remain a vaiable conference for BYU’s other sports to compete in.  To counter BYU’s potential move to the rival conference for all other sports besides football, the MWC raided their rival conference.  They were forced to reconsider.  Now that they are going ahead with it anyway, Utah State loses out big for being loyal to the WAC and BYU.  My sympathies.

Alas, BYU’s decision to move forward with the leap into the wild was released a day before the deadline set by the MWC.  If you don’t know a lot about the WCC, check them out at their official site and the omniscient source.  The conference is made up of other private, religious institutions, which ironically enough will make scheduling changes to accomodate BYU’s no playing on Sunday stance.  Last season BYU was often referred to as the second best team in the west, behind WCC’s Gonzaga.  The WCC’s is prominent as a basketball conference, but they do not offer four other sports sponsored by BYU.  It is unknown what will happen with those sports.  BYU is also a significantly larger school than the other members of the WCC.  Other than those differences, the WCC and BYU are great fit for each other.

Jimmy pretty well summed up the rest of the situation in his latest post.  The biggest concern for me is that they do not have any bowl contracts.  Due to their nationwide fan base, it should not be too difficult to land a bowl game of some sort.  Even if they end up in bowl games worse than the Las Vegas Bowl (which is really saying something), they will not have to divide their winnings with a conference.   As Spencer commented, along with more earnings from contracts with ESPN and viewership on their own network, BYU games will simply be more available to a larger portion of its fan-base.  Even though they won’t have the same agreement with the BCS as Notre Dame has, BYU will have to go undefeated if they want to appear in a BCS bowl either way.

My biggest concern is scheduling.  They have proven they can schedule real opponents (i.e. Oklahoma, Florida State, Washington, and Texas), but the real problem will be scheduling later in the season when most teams are in conference play.

The Unofficial Reaction is its a smart, sensible decision worth all the risks and criticism.

BYU-Independent?

Thursday, 19 August 2010, 5:27 | Category : College, Football
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The Skinny: Turns out that just as soon as I thought the dust was settling from all the conference shifting this summer BYU decided to stir things up again.  Apparently they have been rumors that BYU has wanted to go independent for some time, but this is the first I’ve heard of it.

Perhaps without one of the Mountain West’s most important members triggered BYU to more seriously consider the leap.  Even with the addition of Boise St, the loss of Utah weakened the MWC’s chances of be included in the BCS .  Obviously, BYU feels that there is a better chance to make it to BCS bowls independently than being weighed down by the riff raff at the bottom of the MWC.  BYU would join only three other independent schools: Army, Navy, and Notre Dame.

Much like Notre Dame, BYU is religiously affiliated and has the advantage of a national fan base and its own network.  However, BYU would like to have one more thing in common before taking the plunge.  BYU still needs to verify that it would have the same benefits as Notre Dame, getting an automatic BCS bowl bid if ranked in the top 8.

BYU is looking to restore some of its old rivalries in the WAC for all other sports, which are more difficult to schedule.  Apparently, if BYU does go with the WAC, they will have a scheduling collaboration.  One would be its continued in-state rivalry with Utah State on the Friday before the LDS church’s General Conference.  Another would be adding a “financially lucrative 13th game” against Hawaii.  The game would be played every other year in Provo.  Its unclear how interested the MWC would be in retaining the Cougars.

Possibly as a knee-jerk reaction to the buzz about BYU leaving, the MWC invited WAC members Fresno St and Nevada to join Boise St as new inclusions to the conference.  When Boise St joined the MWC, the remaining teams in the WAC signed a $5 million buyout agreement.  BYU supported this agreement to keep the WAC from getting cleaned out by the MWC in case it did indeed choose to go independent.  It may not be financially feasible for the two to make the change.  They have time to think it over, but the MWC has given BYU until September 1 to decide.

Extra Point (how I see it): When I first heard about this I got excited, but shortly after I got scared.  As I have continued to read about this I like it more and more.  If BYU doesn’t get the same deal that Notre Dame has, then I’m not convinced they should do it.  Even if they can make more money by going independent, it won’t mean much if they don’t have a realistic shot of making it to a BCS bowl.

Beginning of a new rivalry?

Going conference-less will be a great chance for BYU to create and further establish long term rivalries.  Unfortunately, it will be difficult to continue the Holy War every year if the PAC-10 decides to play 9 in conference games, much less any other PAC-10 teams.  I already mentioned USU and Hawaii.  Why not keep some of its MWC rivalries alive too, like TCU and Air Force.  This is also an opportunity begin cross-country rivalries in some stronger conferences (similar to Notre Dame and USC).  After last year, I’m all for a schedule that includes Oklahoma.  If BYU plays its cards right, it has the chance to really strengthen its schedule and chances to play in BCS bowls.  I just realized, if this goes through, then it would be possible to see a BYU-Utah match-up in a BCS bowl.

Not only would this move earn BYU more money, it would gain power through its freedom.  However, I still want a guarantee from the BCS.  Nothing like a fancy guarantee on a box to make you feel all warm and toasty inside.

Will the Cougars decide to venture out in the wild?

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