Tag Archives: BCS

BCS National Championship Ends at the Rose Bowl

It is all too fitting that the final BCS National Championship game will take place at the Rose Bowl near Los Angeles, California. For several decades the Rose Bowl has been known as the “Granddaddy of Them All”. This phrase was coined years ago when the Rose Bowl game often determined the national championship. This was well before the BCS was part of the college football bowl system. This season the Rose Bowl will host the “Granddaddy of Them All” but it will take place five days after the Rose Bowl game. The Rose Bowl will take place on January 1st while the BCS National Championship will be played on Monday, January 6th, 2013. This is sure to be one of the most sought after tickets in BCS Championship history because it will be the final championship game in the current format.

How the BCS Works

In 1998, the Bowl Championship Series was formed to crown the NCAA college football champion. Prior to the BCS it was often the case that the top two teams in the country did not play for the championship at the end of the season. In the 1980s and 1990s there were several split national championships because bowl games had conference affiliations that did not allow the top two teams to play. In fact, as I child I can remember the #1 team playing the #11 or #12 team in a bowl game. It was not good for the fans nor the sport. This was the reason we have seen the BCS over the last fifteen years. As the college football landscape has evolved it has changed many things about the bowl system. One issue with the current BCS is the computer system that is involved. In the 1980s and 1990s computers did not factor into the ranking system. Today they are a very big part of the BCS ranking system.

Computers are used to gauge many factors related to college football teams. It would be impossible to explain all the metrics. In short, the computers will analyze a team based on the opponents they have played and, more importantly, the opponents they have defeated. Unfortunately, a team cannot determine what other teams do with their schedule. It is also true that college football programs create their schedule years in advance. If Texas schedules LSU in 2013 for the 2018 season they expect LSU to be a top 15 program as they are now. If LSU loses their coach and some of their recruiting classes are not stellar it may very well be that LSU is not a top 50 program when they play Texas five years from now. Is this the fault of the Texas athletic department? Absolutely not. The computers will not like the schedule simply because of circumstances Texas does not control.

Another issue with the current BCS system is the fact that three undefeated teams cannot play in one game. If Alabama, Oregon and Ohio State go undefeated in the 2013 season one of these teams will be left out of the BCS National Championship in January of 2014. This is a huge cause for concern as fans in different parts of the country will have their issues with who gets it. Is Oregon a better team than Ohio State because they play in the Pac-12? Is Alabama better than both Oregon and Ohio State because they have won three of the last four national championships? These are questions that will be answered much differently by different experts and fans.

The ultimate goal of the BCS was to place the #1 and #2 teams in the national championship game. No matter what fans may say about the current BCS there is no argument to be made that the #1 and #2 teams will play on January 6th, 2014. Whether or not these are the two best teams in the country is an argument for another time. In the future this argument will not be valid as there will be a college football playoff in which the top four teams will get in. It will be the first time in college football history that a playoff will be part of the championship process.

The Rose Bowl and the BCS have had a great relationship since 1998. The BCS currently has four bowl games before the BCS National Championship Game. These bowl games are the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl, the Sugar Bowl and the Orange Bowl. All four locations are in warm weather climates as this attracts fans from all over the country. Many fans from northern teams love to travel south for New Years. Some will even make it a long holiday and travel to Los Angeles, California for the Christmas holiday as well. There are very few bowl games, in general, that are played in cold weather climates as January in the United States is not enjoyable in some of the states that are in the northern part of the country.

Los Angeles and the Rose Bowl

The Rose Bowl Stadium is located in Pasadena, California but most people consider it in Los Angeles. It is in Los Angeles County and the University of California at Los Angeles plays their home games in this stadium. The first Rose Bowl game was played in Pasadena in 1923 and there has only been one Rose Bowl game played outside of the stadium. The 1942 Rose Bowl was played in Wallace Wade Stadium in Durham, North Carolina. Even the most diehard college football fans do not know this tidbit of trivia.

When visiting Los Angeles for the Rose Bowl and/or BCS National Championship in January 2014 many fans will look in to some of the local attractions. The Parade or Roses will take place during the day on January 1st, 2014 and it is quite the event. If fans are taking the long vacation for both games it would be smart to plan ahead. Even though Los Angeles is one of the largest cities in the world it never hurts to come up with a plan instead of just winging it when you get there. Los Angeles County is huge and those from small towns in the south might be overwhelmed with all the options. Teams in the Southeastern Conference may be excited to go to Hollywood but it takes a little bit of preparation. Those in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Eugene, Oregon or Tuscaloosa, Alabama love the college town atmosphere but that is very much different than the bright lights of Hollywood.

With the advancements of smartphones, tablets and mobile Internet access it is much easier to navigate a large city. Google Now allows users to ask Google for suggestions. This service continues to get better over time as Google better understands the type of food one may or may not like. Apple has something very similar with Siri. Instead of wandering around Los Angeles aimlessly anyone with a smartphone can now get walking directions to the closest sushi bar or steakhouse. This was not possible just five years ago. One of the best ways to navigate the Rose Bowl area is to take advantage of the Google Maps and Yelp apps. These apps are priceless when it comes to dining and entertainment options. Even if you want to get in a quick round of golf you will be able to find options through these two apps.

Booking a hotel or a place to stay in Los Angeles is another tough decision for diehard college football fans. In small college towns it is not hard to drive a motorhome to the stadium and stay for a few nights. Some families have a parking spot right outside the stadium they have used for several decades. This is not going to be possible at major bowl games. It is definitely not possible at the Rose Bowl as the stadium staff will have to clean up the stadium after the Rose Bowl on January 1st for the BCS National Championship game that will take place on January 6th. It might be hard for some fans to fly to LAX, rent a car and book a hotel room. This is something they are not accustomed to when it comes to watching their favorite team play in a college football game. Anyone that has been to big time football in the southeast knows that fans have their way of life and they enjoy it just the way it is.

When these fan bases go to other major cities it is not easy to adjust. That said, they are willing to do anything to watch their favorite college football team play. If the team in the BCS title game is their alma mater they may have waited decades to watch them win a championship. This is not the case with Alabama as they have won three national championships in the last four years. Teams like Notre Dame, Oregon and Clemson have not won national championships in decades so their fans will be ready to roll into Pasadena and take over the Rose Bowl.

By Jesse Wojdylo

College Football Midseason Report

Halfway into the 2012 college football season, let’s take a look at some of the big surprises, some not-so-surprises, and biggest flops yet so far. After winning a national title and losing four players to the first round of the NFL Draft, Alabama was thought by many to have lost just a little too much to continue their dominance. At the midpoint of the season, the Tide is clearly the best team in the country with a bruising running game, solid QB play from A.J. McCarron, and the nation’s best defense.

Surprisingly, the Florida Gators are not far behind and are looking to make a run through the SEC East in order to take the Tide for the SEC title come December. Coach Will Muschamp, in just his second year, has brought the Gators back into the national title picture with a strong dose of RB Mike Gillislee and what may be the nation’s second-best defense. In a 44-11 blowout win over then No. 7-ranked South Carolina, it was the Florida defense and special teams that forced four turnovers. The Gators are already 5-0 in SEC play, with three of those wins coming on the road against ranked opponents.

Notre Dame (6-0) surely has surprised many sweeping Big Ten rivals Michigan, Michigan State, and Purdue, then destroying Miami and beating a very good Stanford team in overtime. And the Irish did all of this with some pretty shaky quarterback play. The Irish still have two big tests remaining on their schedule (Oklahoma, USC), but could find themselves in the thick of the BCS championship picture at season’s end.

Maybe the two biggest surprises are Oregon State and Kansas State. Both are unbeaten, but the Beavers are coming off a disastrous 3-0 campaign a year ago. So far, they have beaten Wisconsin, hammered BYU and have destroyed three Pac-12 opponents. Kansas State, which has always been good under Bill Snyder, has just been phenomenal. Quarterback Collin Klein may be the nation’s best player and the Wildcats play great defense and just don’t make many mistakes. KSU still has some big games remaining, but they are another team that could find themselves in that BCS title picture should they win out.

On the other end of the college football stratosphere is Auburn. Just two years removed from a national championship, head coach Gene Chizik finds his Tigers sitting at 1-5 with one of the country’s worst offenses. Their QB play has been horrendous and the Tigers may have trouble winning another game this season.

Right beside Chizik is John L. Smith at Arkansas. The Hogs were ranked in the preseason Top Ten and after former coach Bobby Petrino’s bout with motorcycle mayhem cost him his job, Smith walked in ready to ride Petrino’s wave to an SEC title. Five weeks into the season, Arkansas stood at 1-4 losing to mid-major Louisiana-Monroe, then getting trounced at home by Alabama the following week. The Hogs are now 3-4 with consecutive wins over Auburn and Kentucky, neither of which is very good.
With the recent success of school’s like Michigan State and Wisconsin, and even Michigan’s 11-2 season a year ago, one would have thought that the Big Ten might rival the SEC for college football dominance. Not so. Michigan and Wisconsin each have two losses thus far and Michigan State sits at 4-4 going into the ninth week of the season. Northwestern has been a surprise, rattling off six straight wins to start the season, but from top to bottom, the conference is nowhere near the SEC or even the Big 12.

With another eight weeks to go, there is still plenty of football left. What remains to be seen is how the BCS title picture plays out and, who will move to the forefront in the race for the Heisman Trophy.

How the BCS Top Ten Fared Last Weekend

NCAA College Football Showdown Saturday did not disappoint as the weekend was full of quality match-ups, including a Top Ten battle in Gainesville. The No. 2-ranked Florida Gators proved they are worthy of their lofty BCS ranking clearly outplaying No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks in a 44-11 victory. The Florida defense and special teams forced four Gamecock turnovers, three of which Gator QB Jeff Driskell turned into touchdown passes. Driskell, who continues to improve, threw for four touchdowns. Both Florida and SC played outstanding defense. The Gators managed just 183 total yards, becoming the first FBS team in history to score over 40 points without gaining 200 yards of total offense.

Alabama Crimsontide, ranked No. 1 in the BCS, had little trouble with Tennessee in a 44-13 win. Tide QB A.J. McCarron threw for a career-high 306 yards and four touchdowns. The vaunted ‘Bama defense gave up just 79 yards rushing to the Vols and held Tyler Bray, the highly touted Vols’ QB, to 184 yards on 13-of-27 passing and no touchdowns.

Prior to Saturday’s lineup feast, the No. 2 Oregon Ducks traveled to Arizona State and dismantled any hopes of an upset in the first 15 minutes of play en route to a 43-21 win over the Sun Devils. ASU scored on its first play, a 28-yard pass from Taylor Kelly to Kevin Ozier, to jump out to a 7-0 lead just 49 seconds into the game. The Ducks countered with a Kenjon Barner 71-yard run and two Marcus Mariota touchdown passes to take a 22-7 lead at the end of the first quarter. Barner would run for two more scores and Mariota, an 86-yard run, as the Ducks built a 43-7 halftime lead.

In somewhat of a surprise, head coach Bill Snyder’s No.4 Kansas State Wildcats went to Morgantown and made it look easy against Geno Smith and West Virginia as Wildcat QB Collin Klein accounted for seven touchdowns in a 55-14 thrashing of the No. 13 Mountaineers. Klein established himself as a legitimate Heisman favorite with a career-high 323 passing yards, completing 19-of-21 passes, three touchdowns, and added 41 yards on the ground and four scores.

No. 5 Notre Dame Fighting Irish remained unbeaten fighting off a 14-7 halftime deficit to defeat Brigham Young, 17-14. The Irish rolled up 270 yards on the ground and George Atkinson III scored on a two-yard run early in the fourth quarter to seal the win. Running backs Theo Riddick (15 carries, 143 yards) and Cierre Wood (18-114) led the way for ND. Irish QB Tommy Rees, playing in place of the injured Everett Golson, completed six of his first seven passes, then only attempted three in the entire second half. Notre Dame’s defense limited BYU to just 66 yards on the ground.

After falling behind 12-0, No. 6 LSU scored 24 unanswered points and downed No. 18 Texas A&M, 24-19, in College Station. The Tigers started ugly but were able to gain some momentum going into the halftime break when Zach Mettenberger hit Kadron Boone with a 29-yard TD pass with 11 seconds to go to give LSU the lead for good at 14-12. Johnny Manziel, Texas A&M’s dynamic freshman QB, was held to just 27 yards rushing on 17 carries and was intercepted three times. LSU RB Jeremy Hill ran for a career-high 127 yards on 18 carries and scored once.

The surprising Oregon State Beavers, ranked No. 8 in last week’s BCS poll, took care of Pac-12 opponent, Utah, 21-7. OSU forced four Utah turnovers and Beavers’ RB Storm Woods rushed for three touchdowns. Oregon State is 6-0 and off to the school’s best start in 105 years after being picked to finish last in the Pac-12 North this preseason.

Oklahoma got ready for its showdown next weekend with Notre Dame by handing Kansas a 52-7 setback. The No. 9 Sooners were hardly challenged by coach Charlie Weis’ Jayhawks. Sooner QB Landry Jones threw for three touchdowns and Penn State transfer Justin Brown returned a punt 90 yards for a TD. OU has now won three consecutive games by at least three touchdowns.

It was a record-breaking day at USC Trojans as QB Matt Barkley threw three touchdown passes in the game’s first six minutes as the Trojans, BCS No. 10, beat Colorado, 50-6. Barkley’s second TD pass, a 39-yarder to Robert Woods, broke former Trojan QB Matt Leinart’s Pac-12 career touchdown passing mark. Barkley finished the day 19-of-20 for 298 yards and six touchdowns, giving him 102 TD passes for his career.

Play for Pay – Making Ends Meet in College Football

Pay for Play in College Football

Pay for Play in College Football

Savannah State traveled to Stillman, Oklahoma, last Saturday only to be shellacked by 19th-ranked Oklahoma State, 84-0, in a virtually meaningless college football game. And next week, the Tigers will likely face another drubbing at the hands of another ranked FBS school, Florida State.

In the world of college football, what seems like a meaningless tussle between two schools at opposing ends of the spectrum, is really what the game has become–a business deal. For schools like Savannah State, an FCS school, and those like San Jose State and San Diego State–both FBS schools but not in BCS conferences–the cold reality of college football is that they must schedule games against more talented FBS schools to pay the bills.

These “payday” games have been around for years. A “lesser” opponent will agree to travel to a “greater” opponent in return for an agreed upon amount of cash. The result is usually a drubbing on the football field, but the payday can help fund a football program or, in some cases, an entire athletic department.

Take San Jose State, for example, who in 2010 made $1.825 million by playing Alabama and Wisconsin on back-to-back Saturdays. They “won” at the bank despite getting beat on the field by a combined score of 75-17. San Diego State has played 23 “payday” games since 2000. Their record in those games–0-23. Last year, the Aztecs received a little over a million dollars to play at Michigan. That equates to ticket sales for an entire season at SDSU.

Schools cannot make huge increases in ticket prices nor can they force more people to buy tickets in order to generate higher revenues. A school can only sell so many t-shirts and other apparel items and schools cannot force donors to write big checks. So, with 12-game schedules the norm now, it only makes good business sense to take a few lumps on the field, cash in, and then continue on with the remaining league games.

The Southland Conference, made up of FCS schools, typically plays several “payday” games every season in order to finance its schools’ athletic budgets. Nicholls State, for example, will play Oregon State, South Alabama, and Tulsa this year. The games will be a good test against better competition and help prepare Nicholls for league play and ultimately, a spot in the 24-team FCS playoffs.

Payday games will continue as the major BCS schools look for additional games that can be used as a “tune-up” for the rest of their schedules. What all the schools involved hope to avoid are injuries that can affect play later on in a season. And, for the big BCS schools, they surely will want to avoid a shocker like 2007’s Michigan upset by Appalachian State. Regardless of what happens on the field, though, as long as there are bills to pay, schools will agree to play for pay.

Best Off-Season BCS Coaching Hires

As we approach the beginning of the 2012 college football season, 27 teams will have a new head coach patrolling the sideline. Which schools made the best choice in their new mentor? Let’s take a look.

Ohio State: Urban Meyer
If ever there were a perfect fit, Meyer and the Buckeyes just might be it. Meyer, the former Florida head coach who guided the Gators to two national championships, is an Ohio native, played college football at Cincinnati, spent two years as a graduate assistant at Ohio State, and two years as the head coach at Bowling Green. To say he knows Ohio…well, he knows Ohio. And he brings a national prominence to a program that had been hit with the “Tattoo-gate” scandal and the decline of the Jim Tressel era. Meyer is the right guy. He’ll spend 2012 stockpiling talent and installing his spread option offense. The Buckeyes are not eligible for the Big Ten championship or a bowl game this year. Meyer has engineered big turnarounds before–8-3 in his first year at Bowling Green and 10-2 the first season at Utah. Look for big things in the Horseshoe in the next few years.

Mississippi: Hugh Freeze
Less than 10 years ago, Freeze was a high school head coach in Tennessee. And if you didn’t already know, one of his star pupils was Michael Oher of Blind Side fame. Fast forward a few years and you have a guy who went 20-5 in two seasons in his first college job, head man at NAIA Lambuth University, and 10-2 and a Sun Belt Conference title in his only season at Arkansas State. Freeze worked at Ole Miss from 2005 to 2007 serving in the athletic department for a year before becoming the tight ends coach. Granted the competition will be much tougher in the SEC, but if Freeze can change the culture in the program and around campus, he may get his wish… “to retire at Ole Miss.”

Washington State: Mike Leach
College football’s true “pirate” moves to Pullman, WA, not necessarily a football hotbed, but that may change as one of the game’s most intriguing coaches looks to lead the Cougars out of the depths of obscurity. Leach, unlike most BCS head coaches, did not play college football, but his developments in the philosophy of offense are prolific. In 10 years at Texas Tech, Leach coached three Sammy Baugh Award (best QB in the nation) winners–Kliff Kingsbury, B.J. Symons, and Graham Harrell. He posted 10 consecutive winning seasons, nine consecutive bowls (five bowl victories), and was the Big 12 Coach of the Year in 2008 when the Red Raiders went 11-2. He’ll bring his swashbuckling attitude and high-powered offense to the Wazzou who desperately need it in order to get back in the thick of things in the Pac-12.

Texas A&M: Kevin Sumlin
Not only will they have a new head coach, but the Aggies made another huge decision in the off-season–moving from the Big 12 to the SEC. Sumlin arrives at the right time to help make the transition to college football’s best league more manageable. Sumlin worked as an assistant in College Station under R.C. Slocum and was the assistant head coach in 2002. Ten years later, he’ll be the one to call the shots and if it’s anything like his stay in Houston, the SEC should take notice. Sumlin went 35-17 in Houston, including a 12-1 season last year. His offenses are known for huge numbers–last year’s Cougars were first in the nation in scoring offense (49.3 ppg), passing offense (450.1 ypg), and total offense (599.1 ypg). If Sumlin can get the Aggie defense anywhere near the capabilities of the old Wrecking Crew defenses of the past, Texas A&M will be in good shape for the future.

Pittsburgh: Paul Chryst
After three head coaches in a year, the Panthers have found the right guy in Chryst, the former offensive coordinator at Wisconsin. Chryst has never served as a head coach at any level, but with his pedigree he is certainly ready. The son of a high school coach, Chryst was an integral part of Wisconsin’s combined 70-22 record over the past seven seasons. His offenses have been among the nation’s best. Last year, the Badgers finished sixth nationally in scoring offense, averaging 44.1 points per game while featuring the 11th-best rushing attack with 235.6 yards per game. It’s exactly what Pittsburgh needs; a blue-collar, physical approach to the game for a blue-collar town which is a far cry from the one-and-done Todd Graham spread-and-shred offense of last season.