November 16th, 2012
2012 Bowl Projections
Texas A&M’s upset of Alabama a week ago has dramatically turned the tables on the 2012-13 bowl picture. With two weeks to go, plus a few conference championship games remaining to play, anything can happen. Nothing is guaranteed as the Tide proved last week, but here is a look at how the BCS bowl scenario may play out.
Discover BCS National Championship
Kansas State vs. Oregon
The Ducks reach the title game by virtue of three impressive season-ending wins over Stanford, rival Oregon State, and UCLA in the Pac-12 championship game. The Wildcats and their Heisman Trophy QB Collin Klein finish the season with Big 12 opponents Baylor and Texas then get a month-long break to prepare for the Ducks.
Rose Bowl presented by VIZIO
Wisconsin vs. Stanford
The Badgers get Nebraska in the Big Ten title game and get revenge for a 30-27 regular season loss. With Oregon going on to the national championship game, the Rose Bowl selects the next best Pac-12 team, the Cardinal, to represent the conference.
Discover Orange Bowl
Florida State vs. Notre Dame
FSU is clearly the best the ACC has to offer and after destroying whoever happens to back into the ACC championship from the Coastal Division will be the conference’s representative in the Orange Bowl. Notre Dame, which will make its case for a berth in the BCS title game after an unbeaten season, finishes the regular season ranked third and wishing it was 2014.
Allstate Sugar Bowl
Alabama vs. Louisville
The Tide wraps up the season with one loss and, being shut out of the title game due to the upset loss to the Aggies, wind up as the SEC choice. ‘Bama faces off against the Big East champion, Louisville. The Cardinals, under coach Charlie Strong, win out beating Rutgers in a season-ending Big East championship deciding game.
Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Georgia
With Kansas State heading to the national championship, the Sooners are the Big 12 choice to face off in a battle with one of the SEC’s best, Georgia. The Bulldogs struggle with the triple option in their final two games (Georgia Southern & Georgia Tech) but overpower both opponents to receive an at-large berth.
November 12th, 2012
As the 2012 college football season nears its end, talk of what teams will play in what bowl game has started. But where did the bowl games start? Here’s a brief look at the history of bowl games in college football.
The term “bowl” is taken from the earliest of all bowl games, the “granddaddy of them all,” the Rose Bowl, which is also the name of the stadium in which the game is played. In 1902, the Tournament of Roses Association sponsored the East-West football game pitting teams from opposite ends of the country in an end of season event. The first game was played by Michigan and Stanford, a game that Michigan won, 49-0. Beginning in 1916, the game was played annually and was renamed the Rose Bowl in 1923 when the newly finished Rose Bowl stadium became the host.
Other cities throughout the country began to see the promotional value of such games, promoting tourism and industry in their areas. By 1940 there were five major college bowl games: the Sugar Bowl (1935), the Orange Bowl (1935), the Sun Bowl (1935), and the Cotton Bowl Classic (1937). Traditionally, bowl games were played in warm climates such as those in Southern California, Texas, Florida, and Louisiana. When the bowls originated, commercial air travel was non-existent so enough time had to be given for fans and family to travel to the games. Therefore, when football seasons ended in late November and early December, several weeks were given for travel and bowl games were played on or near New Year’s Day.
Bowl Games Increase
Up until the 1950s, all bowl games were played on New Year’s Day. At the time, there were only eight games. By the late 1950s, some of the games began playing in late December. More games began being played in December as more bowl games came into the mix. By 1990 there were 19 different bowl games and only the major bowl games were played on New Year’s Day.
Prior to 1992, bowl games had strict agreements with conferences. For example, the Rose Bowl traditionally had the champions of the Big Ten and the Pac-10 play each other. The Sugar Bowl always had the SEC champion playing the Big 8 winner. The problem with that format was that the top-ranked teams in the country may never meet at the end of the season to determine a champion.
Bowl System Now
Traditionally, committees representing each bowl game would select the teams that would compete in their bowl game. This practice still exists however, it is a little different since the inception of the Bowl Championship Series (BCS) in 1998. Committees still exist but selecting teams is based upon conference affiliations with the different bowl games. Because of the bowl system and the vested economic interests related to the bowl games and also the longer regular season in Division I compared to lower divisions, there has never been a playoff system instituted to determine a national champion.
There are now 35 bowl games which begin play in mid-December and continue through early January. Teams must win six games during its regular season to be invited to play in a bowl game. The BCS system consists of five games, four “traditional” bowl games (Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta) plus the national championship game. The two top-ranked teams in the final BCS poll play in the title game. Opponents for the four other games come first from the six major conferences (ACC, Big 12, Big East, Big Ten, Pac-12, and SEC), Notre Dame (if they qualify), and then other highly ranked teams.
Bowl Game Fun Facts
The University of Alabama has played in the most bowl games, 57, and has won 33 of those games. Nebraska holds the record for the longest consecutive streak of bowl game appearances with 35 straight from 1969 to 2005. Currently, Florida State has appeared in 30 straight bowls and will most likely make it 31 this season. Oklahoma is the only team that has appeared in all five of the BCS bowl games. The Sun Bowl, one of the original bowl games, along with the Cotton Bowl, are the only bowl games that are not televised on the ESPN family of networks (ESPN, ESPN2, ESPNU, ABC). CBS broadcasts the Sun Bowl while the Cotton Bowl is televised by Fox Sports Network.
October 28th, 2012
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.
October 17th, 2012
Seven weeks into the 2012 college football season, we finally have our first BCS rankings and, with that, it’s time to project the biggest bowl of them all…The Rose Bowl. This year’s Rose Bowl, to be played on January 1st as usual, will feature the traditional Big Ten/Pac-12 matchup. But, who will represent each conference? Sure, it may be too early to tell, but let’s take a look at the possibilities.
With Ohio State and Penn State out of the Big Ten championship and Rose Bowl pictures this year due to NCAA penalties, the Leaders Division is all Wisconsin’s. Surprisingly, both the Buckeyes and the Nittany Lions are unbeaten in league play so far. Take away a poor half and a kicking debacle in week two and PSU might be unbeaten on the season as are the Buckeyes.
The Wisconson Badgers have five league games remaining, the toughest of which may very well be against Ohio State and Penn State. Regardless, the bottom three in the Leaders Division will most likely have at least three losses. Even if Wisconsin ends up with three league losses, they will hold the edge on Purdue and Illinois, and should beat Indiana in week 10.
Play in the Legends Division is much tougher with the Michigan Wolverines and Nebraska Cornhuskers the favorites, although Iowa is currently 2-0 in league play. Don’t forget Northwestern, which ripped off six straight wins to start the season and Michigan State, last year’s Big Ten champ. The way it pans out in the Legends Division, though, is up to the Wolverines and the Cornhuskers. Iowa must play both and also must face Penn State and Northwestern. That doesn’t make it easy for the Iowa Hawkeyes.
Michigan and Nebraska play each other in two weeks, but the ‘Huskers have Northwestern, a team they lost to last year, Michigan State, Penn State, and Iowa. Michigan will face pretty much the same road to a division title and cap off the season with the year-end rivalry game at Ohio State.
Look for superior defense and the play of Denard Robinson to propel the Wolverines to the Legends Division championship and look for them to face Wisconsin for the Big Ten title.
The interesting thing with the Pac-12 is the Oregon Ducks. Currently the BCS No. 3 team, Coach Chip Kelly’s squad is projected to be playing in the national championship game and if current No. 1 Alabama and No. 2 Florida win out, they will play each other in the SEC championship game. The loser is likely out of the BCS title game which would pave the way for…the Oregon Ducks, should they too win out.
Oregon still has USC and Stanford remaining on the schedule along with a Thursday night trip to Tempe, AZ, to take on a rejuvenated Arizona State team that is currently 5-1. And don’t forget the Civil War. Oregon must play in-state rival Oregon State, ranked eighth in the BCS, in Corvallis on Thanksgiving weekend.
Should Oregon head to the BCS title game, that leaves USC Trojans, Stanford Cardinals, and Oregon State. Todd Graham’s Sun Devils just won’t cut it this year as they head down the stretch. Of the three remaining teams, the Trojans will have the easiest road as their test will come Nov. 3rd when they face the Ducks. Even if USC loses to Oregon, which will be looking for payback for last year’s 38-35 loss, a two-loss Trojan team wins the South Division and the right to play in the Pac-12 championship. With Oregon winning the North, it’s either the Ducks going to the BCS title game or to the Rose Bowl. If Oregon plays for all the marbles, then USC steps in and represents the Pac-12 in the Rose Bowl.
Rose Bowl Projection
Look for the teams with the easiest routes to get to Pasadena and for the Ducks to be playing for a national title… Wisconsin vs. USC
October 13th, 2012
To remain in the national title hunt, the University of Southern California football squad cannot afford another slip up.
Yet to exhibit the greatness predicted by college football experts before the season, inconsistency plagued the Trojans through the first five games. USC rolled over Hawaii and California, struggled mightily at various points against Syracuse and Utah, and lost to Stanford. The Orange, Utes, and Cardinal all lack the raw talent of USC, but they managed to keep each contest unexpectedly close.
Possibly the only unit outperforming expectations, USC’s defensive line exhibited dominance over the first several games. Junior defensive end Morgan Breslin ranks among the top players nationally in sacks (5.5) and tackles for loss (10.5) on a defense that yields fewer than three yards per carry. As the Trojans trudge through the high-scoring PAC 12 Conference, its opposition will likely try to beat them by way of air.
Cornerback has been a major point of concern for coach Lane Kiffin. The starters struggled so much the first few weeks, speculation surfaced that Kiffin might consider shifting wide receiver Marqise Lee to the position. Though he recently denied the possibility of moving Lee over to defense, safety Josh Shaw practiced at corner this week, confirming the staff’s lack of confidence in the secondary.
But it does appear the Trojans are trending upward in recent weeks.
In a 27-9 victory over in-state foe Cal on Sep. 22, USC was able to sack Bears’ quarterback Zach Maynard seven times. And for the first time since 2008, two running backs surpassed the 100-yard mark for the Trojans—Silas Redd racked up 158, while Curtis McNeal totaled 115.
Against Utah last week, USC dug itself out of an early hole to earn a valuable conference road win. QB Matt Barkley posted perhaps his best game of the season, completing 23 of 30 passes and three touchdowns. Equally impressive, the receiving corps displayed deep threat potential all game long as the Trojans prevailed, 38-28.
As USC plows deeper into the season, the schedule doesn’t get any easier.
With a trip to Seattle to play Washington on the horizon, as well as #2 Oregon Ducks and #7 Notre Dame coming to town in November, the Trojans have plenty of boulders in their path. Also laying in the weeds is crosstown rival UCLA, a squad foaming at the mouth to avenge last year’s 50-0 embarrassment. With one loss, a national title game appearance doesn’t appear as likely as it did prior to the season, but if the Trojans do find themselves in Miami they will most certainly have earned it.
October 1st, 2012
Two schools located in the same city, Los Angeles, separated by just twelve miles makes
for one interesting rivalry. The likelihood that alumni and students from the schools
will interact with each other on a daily basis is very high. Ohio State-Michigan and
Army-Navy are two other huge college football rivalries that come to mind, but neither
features the kind of proximity that is seen by the Trojans and the Bruins.
The schools have competed against one another in a variety of sports since the early
1900s. USC, long recognized as a “football school” and UCLA, the “basketball school,”
both have storied traditions in other non-revenue sports as well, such as track & field,
volleyball, and water polo. UCLA actually holds the NCAA record for most team national
championships with 107 and most overall national titles with 128, more than any other
school in the nation. But, it’s on the football field where the real rivalry begins.
Since the formation of the old Pacific Coast Conference, which is now the Pac-12, USC
and UCLA have shared or won 54 conference football championships. The rivalry
game, normally played the last week of the regular season, has had conference title
implications as well as, on some occasions, national title implications, and has served to
determine the conference’s Rose Bowl berth on several occasions.
One of the most memorable was the “Game of the Century” played in 1967 pitting #1
UCLA led by QB Gary Beban against the second-ranked Trojans and a phenomenal
young running back named O.J. Simpson. USC won 21-20, beat Indiana in the Rose
Bowl, and claimed the national championship. Beban did win the Heisman Trophy that
year. Simpson won it the next.
Recently, though, the game has lost some of its luster. While USC has flourished,
winning national championships in 2003 and 2004 and losing in the title game in 2005,
UCLA has struggled. The hiring of “golden boy” former QB Rick Neuheisel in 2008
was to signal the return to prominence. It was not to be as the former Rose Bowl MVP
produced only one winning season and a 21-30 overall record.
USC has dominated the rivalry of late. The Bruins’ last victory in the series was in 2006.
With another BCS title game berth on the line, UCLA pulled one of the great upsets in
college football with a 13-9 victory denying the Trojans the chance to play for another
national championship. USC still won the Pac-10 and went on to the Rose Bowl that
Since the ‘06 win, the Bruins have not fared well in the “Victory Bell” match-up, losing
miserably last year, 50-0. USC has won 12 of the last 13, holds a 46-28-7 advantage in
the series, and in the last five meetings has outscored UCLA, 158-35. USC has owned the
Victory Bell for the better part of the past two decades. The bell, originally from an old
Southern Pacific railroad locomotive, has traditionally been awarded to the winner of
the USC-UCLA game every year since 1942.
If there is a year to mark a turning point in the rivalry, it may very well be 2012. With
new coach Jim Mora, Jr., the Bruins are off to one of their best starts in recent history.
UCLA is 4-1 with a big win over then 16th-ranked Nebraska. Their only loss was a 27-20
setback to 18th-ranked Oregon State.
The Bruin offense has become more consistent and it starts with the play of freshman
QB Brett Hundley. Hundley is completing 66 percent of his passes (121-for-183),
has 1,480 passing yards, 11 touchdowns, and has a passer rating of 150.6. And, led
by Jonathan Franklin, UCLA has one of the top 15 rushing offenses in the country.
Franklin, a 5-11, 195-pound senior, has 693 yards rushing including two 200-yard
games already this season.
If the Bruins continue to improve and stay healthy, it’s possible that this year’s Nov.
17th match-up with the USC Trojans could be for the Pac-12 South Division championship.
USC, however, has it a little tougher meeting two ranked opponents, Washington and #2
Oregon Ducks, prior to the cross-town rivalry.
The Trojans are led by senior QB Matt Barkley, who stunned the football world last year
declaring he would return for his senior year at USC. With Barkley, the country’s best
receiving tandem in Marqise Lee and Robert Woods, and the addition of Penn State
transfer Silas Redd, the Trojan offense is its strength. The vulnerability lies within the
Trojan defense as Stanford proved as they handed USC its only loss of the season, 21-14.
While it may not be a “game of the century” this year, the Victory Bell tilt will be one to
watch as the regular season winds down. The UCLA Bruins will be looking for a signature win
as they enter the Mora era and will desperately want to end the Trojans’ dominance in
the rivalry. USC, on the other hand, may need the victory as it fights for to keep a BCS
bowl bid alive. The 2012 edition should be a good one, a return to the gridiron battles of
the 1960s and ‘70s.
You can purchase USC Vs Ucla tickets now
August 14th, 2012
With the 2012 college football season just weeks away, there is talk already of BCS coaches who may be on the “hot seat” and need to win and win fast in order to save their jobs. Remember Mark Richt a season ago as Georgia opened the season 0-2 and hadn’t really produced anything special in a few years. Richt’s job was on the line and the Georgia Bulldogs responded reeling off ten straight victories and earning a berth in the SEC championship game.
What coaches need to do the same in 2012? Here’s a look at the top five BCS head coaches who could find themselves out of a job this year.
Frank Spaziani, Boston College
Frank Spaziani Boston College
BC hasn’t been the same since the whole Jeff Jagodzinski fiasco a few years back that led to Spaziani’s hiring. After two bowl seasons in 2009 and 2010 (both losses), the Boston College Eagles
took a step backward and finished 4-8, just 3-5 in the ACC. “The Mad Scientist” is going to have to cook up something on offense after finishing near the bottom of the BCS in most statistical categories. It won’t help that Montel Harris, the school’s all-time leading rusher, was kicked off the team earlier this year.
Randy Edsall, Maryland
Randy Edsall Maryland
After building Connecticut into a full-fledged, respectable BCS program, Edsall was thought to be the guy who could do the same with the Maryland Terrapins
. He still may be the one, but a disastrous first season, along with some player dissension, leaves Edsall in a predicament. Give him credit, he replaced both coordinators and had a respectable recruiting class. Now for the hard part…win and win fast.
Tommy Tuberville, Texas Tech
Tommy Tuberville Texas Tech
After 10 straight winning seasons under predecessor Mike Leach, the Red Raiders
have become accustomed to winning. Tuberville put up a decent 8-5 mark in his first season in 2010, leading Tech to a win in the TicketCity Bowl. Last year…not so good. A 2-7 mark in the Big 12 left Tuberville’s squad at 5-7. No winning season. No bowl bid. Tuberville will have to get back to a bowl if he wants to stay in Lubbock and he will have the offensive weapons. Six starters return to an offense that averaged 471 yards and 34 points per game.
Dan Enos, Central Michigan
Dan Enos Central Michigan
For much of the latter half of the last decade, the Chippewas were a contender for the MAC title, winning three conference titles (‘06, ‘07, and ‘09). Enos took over after a 12-2 year where CMU won the MAC, the GMAC Bowl, and finished ranked in the final Top 25. In two years Enos has posted identical 3-9 records. The former Michigan State
QB needs to right the ship, but it’s going to be difficult. The MAC West is loaded with Northern Illinois, last year’s champion, Toledo, and Western Michigan, all bowl teams last year.
Mike Price, UTEP
Mike Price UTEP
Price enters the final year of his contract and it’s likely not to be renewed unless the veteran coach can work a miracle. The Miners have had a habit of winning three non-conference games and then finding a way to beat three C-USA opponents and squeeze into a bowl game at the end of the season. That theory backfired last year as UTEP
managed just five wins, one an overtime win over Division II Stony Brook. The Miners’ theory likely will not happen again. The non-conference slate features Ole Miss
, and Oklahoma
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