Frank the Tank’s BlogPoll Week 7 Ballot, Football Parlay and Open Thread – 10/15/2010

OK, Husker fans.  I’m a believer now, or more to the point, I’m a believer in Taylor Martinez.  Also, I’ve buckled on the Boise State/TCU debate – Boise State may very well be #1 in the BCs rankings released on Sunday night, but the TCU defense is just stifling in a manner in a way that I don’t think Boise State can match.  Out of the non-AQ schools, I think that TCU is the best.

Here are this week’s parlay picks (with home teams in CAPS and odds from Bodog via Yahoo!):


  • MICHIGAN STATE (-7) over Illinois – Incredible beatdown by Illinois over Penn State last that I didn’t see coming at all.  I just wish this week’s game was being played in Champaign.  With Michigan State’s defense holding Denard Robinson in check last week and Illinois effectively having a poor man’s version of Michigan’s offense, I don’t think the Illini are coming out of East Lansing with a win.  Fortunately, Illinois is going to have a very favorable schedule for the rest of the season and it would be a legitimate disappointment if we don’t make it to a bowl this season (which I wouldn’t have said a month ago, when I didn’t think we’d even have a chance at bowling).
  • LOUISVILLE (+3) over Cincinnati – Taking the points with the home team.  Nothing more and nothing less.
  • Arkansas (+3.5) over AUBURN – I think that LSU is the real deal out of the SEC, but I still have a lot of reservations about Auburn.  Arkansas has also been underestimated by Vegas for much of the season. 

Frank the Tank’s College Football Parlay Record
Last Week: 1-2

Illini Games for the Season: 2-2
Overall Season: 6-11-1


  • Seahawks (+6.5) over BEARS – The Bears shouldn’t be getting anything close to a touchdown spread based on what we’ve seen so far.  This will be a win for the Bears since Seattle is hellabad on the road, but the score will also be close enough that Lovie Smith will continue to be the coaching chopping block in the minds of Chicago sports talk radio callers.
  • VIKINGS (-1.5) over Cowboys – I can’t tell you how much I’m delighted by Brett Favre falling on his 4-inch sword this week.  People that I know that have spent a lot of time around Green Bay have told me plenty of stories of #4’s adulterous womanizing douchebag ways that have been ignored over the past two decades by a media that insists upon pushing the facade of their All-American golden boy.   Good for Deadspin (an outlet I’ll always be grateful to for linking to this blog regularly when fellow Illinois alum Will Leitch was running it) for pushing to the forefront a clear incident of sexual harassment in the workplace that the mainstream media that just wants to pass off as a tabloid takedown of a “hero”.  (OK, so it might be tabloid takedown, but it’s deserved in this instance.)  That being said, I don’t know how the bookmakers continue to give the Cowboys so much credit – that’s a BAAAAAD team.  It also took the league’s best secondary to keep the newly formed Favre-Moss combo in check on Monday night and they still were able to connect for big plays late.  The Cowboys certainly don’t have anything close to the Jets’ secondary and Minnesota is an extremely tough place to play on the road.
  • Raiders (+6.5) over 49ERS – Good thing that Bay Area fans have the Giants in the NLCS to take their minds off of this craptacular metro area football fest.

Frank the Tank’s NFL Football Parlay Record
Last Week: 2-1

Bears Games for the Season: 2-3
Overall Season: 7-8

As always, feel free to use this post as an open thread for the weekend’s games and non-expansion college sports news.  If you want to talk about conference realignment in general, please continue the discussion on yesterday’s Through the Wire post.  Have a great weekend!

(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)


136 thoughts on “Frank the Tank’s BlogPoll Week 7 Ballot, Football Parlay and Open Thread – 10/15/2010

  1. Richard

    OK, I can’t see how you can justify ranking Iowa so far above Arizona and not rank Oregon St. at all when they should be above both those teams.

    Iowa’s only loss is to Arizona, who’s only loss is to Oregon St., who only lost to 2 top 5 teams.

    Essentially, you’re punishing Oregon St. for having the balls to play a really tough non-conf schedule (on the road, no less) as well as showing a strong recency bias. If Iowa-Arizona had taken place last week and Arizona-OregonSt. taken place earlier, would your poll look different? I’d argue that it shouldn’t.


    1. Art Vandelay

      Unfortunately for Oregon State, they lost one of their best players for the season last week. It’s hard to see them having the same success they would have had otherwise. If Iowa were playing either team on a neutral field, I would guess that they’d be favored.


  2. Abe Froman

    I’d drop Florida out completely. Maybe replace them with Oregon State. And then flip flop the Beavers and Arizona. Then I think we’re good.
    Game I’m most look forward to is Neb-Texas. I think we see if UNL is a real contender after this week.


    1. Art Vandelay

      I agree. If Texas deserved to be dropped out of the rankings after their loss to Oklahoma, then so did Florida after their home loss to an incredibly mediocre LSU team.


  3. I’m not a fan of Brett Farve by any stretch of the imagination, and I’m not a fan of what he’s alleged to have done (even if he was aiming high).

    However, I think what AJ Daulerio had done is despicable and unethical in the way he’s treated Sterger.

    I wish I could find and link to the article that I read earlier this week which told how this went down internally. But as I recall, he and Sterger are (were?) friendly within media circles, and, earlier this year, in a situation any reasonable person would assume to be off the record, she told him some stories about athletes, including Favre, who had pusued her with various degrees of inappropriateness over the years. Daulerio knew it’d be a good story and asked Sterger continuously if she’d considered going on the record. Sterger (who strikes me as someone with a very good head on her shoulders) declined, repeatedly.

    Daulerio finally got to the point where he more or less told Sterger “Fuck it. I don’t care if it was on the record or not when you told me, and I don’t care if you want to go on the record now. I’m running it regardless of what you think.”

    Now Sterger’s being dragged through the mud for something she had nothing to do with. Great way to treat a friend/acquaintance.

    Deadspin was oh so noticeably better when an Illini was running it. 🙂


    1. @Hopkins Horn – I understand where you’re coming from on how AJ handled the situation. It looks slimy on its face, although my understanding is that Deadspin ultimately received the voice mails and “head shot” from a third party source other than Sterger (albeit paying for that material National Enquirer-style).

      I agree with you that Deadspin was much better when Leitch was running it – his writing was superior and he did apply journalistic standards (to the extent that they exist on a blog of that type).

      That being said, I don’t know if there’s any athlete out there whose personal actions were so contradictory to his pristine public persona. From what I’ve heard about Favre’s romps through Green Bay (one of my best friends worked at Packers training camp for several years during the late 1990s), he made Tiger Woods look like a well-adjusted husband.

      So, do the ends justify the means in how this story broke? This is good case study for a journalism class.


      1. Frank:

        Lots of good stuff here I’d love to discuss, and I will do so later when a screaming one-year-old doesn’t limit my ability to do so. Just one thing to throw out there: keep in mind that Deadspin originally published the rumors in August, two months before it received the images and voice mails from a third party, when, as far as I can tell, all Daulerio had to go on was what Sterger told him in presumed confidence and had never received strict permission to run what she had told him in that confidence.


  4. M

    FWIW, Illinois is the only team with a worse home record than away in conference since 1993. MSU has one of the biggest positive differentials though.


    1. StvInIL

      Horn that guy you were talking about sounds like a warm bucket of spit. I have not even read about the Favre Saga. I have NEVER been a packers fan but always respected the play of Brett favre.

      NEBRASKA vs Texas
      The NE vs. TX game was one I was looking forward to. Now I am assuming that NE gets it done easily en route to their last Big 12 championship.
      Michigan State Vs. Illinois
      Illini fans, ye have little faith. That means you Frank. I have been giving a positive nod to this team from the start. They have had so many injuries yet the defense turns in a credible effort each week. You can blame a defense when 1) an offense can stay on the field and 2) can’t score. As I have eluded to a number of times, if Scheelhaase can become a dependable passer for the Illini then this team has a considerable upside. Will that turning point come this week? Or this year? Yeah, I know PSU has some injuries but no one cries for the Illini when they do either. I myself pencil in PSU to lose 4 games this year in a transition year.
      No, I’m not off the NU band wagon but the cats don’t play this week. I do like some of what I’m seeing from the Illini. And for goodness sakes, the cats lost to Purdue last week. I know the Purple lamp will be lit in the Clock Tower at the Rebecca Crown Center again this year. C’mon Sparty.  My respects to Purdue. They did the enough things right to win a conference game on the road. No excuses here.


    2. Playoffs Now

      Booster says: October 15, 2010 at 10:59 am

      Nebraska’s D will completely stifle Texas, T Magic will flash just enough brilliance to remind everyone he is going to be great.



      Well, since you brought it up…

      The relative play so far this season and simple basic statistics suggest a NE win. With supposedly comparable programs, when one team (TX) has won 8 of the 9 in conference meetings, the odds increase each year that the losing program (NE) will win and begin to even things back to the supposed average. Basic statistics, IF the assumption that the programs are comparable is true and the time frame is long enough to allow for natural cycles.

      However, history also suggests that sometimes in lopsided rivalries one team seems horribly snake bit by Charlie Brown fate. Or maybe they aren’t really comparable programs. Who’s to say?

      So here’s just the numbers:

      TX-NE games in the B12

      TX 8-1 overall, NE 1-8 overall

      1996 CCG-St. Louis W 37-27
      1998 Lincoln W 20-16
      1999 Austin W 24-20
      1999 CCG-San Antonio L 6-22
      2002 Lincoln W 27-24
      2003 Austin W 31-7
      2006 Lincoln W 22-20
      2007 Austin W 28-25
      2009 CCG-Arlington W 13-12


      Here’s what they are playing for:

      NE – will they end up 1-9 or 2-8 in the final history of the conference rivalry?

      TX – will they end up 9-1 or 8-2 in the final history of the conference rivalry?


      My pick:

      Go with the odd quirks of rivalry fate.

      TX 27, NE 24

      9-1, 1-9

      Ron Franklin, Hoggy Rowe


        1. bullet

          Texas 17 Nebraska 13. It will be a low scoring game. I think Texas will not make as many stupid penalties and turnovers as they have been and will squeak out a win. 7 of the 9 Big 12 games between these 2 have been nailbiters. This one is likely to be also.


  5. jj

    I like all the pics frank. Not sure that’s a good thing.

    I think the ducks ought to be number 1 though. They’re more imppressive on the field than OSU. I got a feeling OSU is going to get a big scare this week, but pull it out in the end.

    Some other thoughts:

    WI – 21
    OSU – 24

    IOWA – 24
    UM – 21

    ND – 285
    W Mich – 3


    1. Art Vandelay

      I like Wisconsin in an upset, Iowa in a blowout, and Western to keep it to 14-24 (I think they’ll cover the spread).

      Wisconsin is a really good team, although they haven’t played great this year. With the combinatory of White and Clay, I like them to cause all kinds of problems for OSU in the run game. I’m not impressed with OSU’s linebackers against the run. They depend more on their D-line for that. Once Clay gets to the second level, I think he’ll cause problems. White will be able to get to the second and third levels. IF Tolzien doesn’t lose the game for the Badgers like he did last year, I think this game goes Wisconsin’s way.

      Iowa matches up really well with Michigan. They’ve got a good secondary that will be successful in man-coverage, and they’ve got the defensive line to get penetration, strongly limiting Denard Robinson’s ability.


      1. jj

        Clay seems to have had a real hard time moving laterally lately. I know he’s hurt, but he needs to get his weight down. Wisky could do this. It will be a good one.


        1. StvInIL

          Yeah, if Clay could make that one cut on the first guy he’s OK. But people are complaining because he’s getting 5 yards instead of 20. I can work with a Clay. Especially when I have the other kid as a change of pace. Either way, that’s why you have a QB. To pick up 20 yards on one play.


  6. Rick

    As for the Big East:
    Syracuse covers at home v. Pitt. The Cuse at home and they are improved. Pitt is schizo.
    Cincy covers at The ‘Ville. Cincy is just better, Ville getting better
    RU covers at New Meadowlands v. Army. In Dodd Rutgers trusts…Army is much, much improved and a tough team this year.
    UConn: Bye


  7. Art Vandelay

    Frank, what makes you buy into LSU so much? They have underwhelmed in every game I’ve seen, with the exception being @Florida (which they should have lost anyways on a rule technicality). UNC – they would have lost if the pass interference was called on the final play of the game. Tennessee (at home!) – they should have had offsetting penalties on the 13 men on the field debacle, and I’m not sure they score a touchdown from the 10-yd line (or where exactly it was from). Florida – they won, and deserved to win, but Florida might just be a really bad team this year, and I’m not sure that’s not the case.


  8. zeek

    So what are we to make of these reports of a 7-5 vote on the Northwest/Southeast split of the Pac-12.

    One of the Arizona schools has jumped ship and I assume the 4 Cali schools are voting as a block against any scheme that doesn’t have the 4 playing each other every year.

    Still, unless the Arizona schools decide to both vote with the Cali schools, it seems the 7-5 margin will hold and result in a split that’s going to make USC/UCLA/Cal/Stanford unhappy unless they go to 5-2-2 with 2 yearly cross-division rivalry games.

    It’s been suggested that Scott would want them to force the split of the Cali schools and then use that as a way of bargaining for even revenue sharing as an exchange for the 5-2-2 setup. I suppose it makes sense, but I get the feeling that the Cali schools may regret the rush to expand. When expansion was proposed, they were all sold on the vision of a Pac-8 and SWC with the Arizona schools split to the East and the old Pac-8 restored. Now, it seems that they get a worse situation, although it could be negotiated out…

    Still, from the point of view of USC/UCLA, etc., they’re sort of being railroaded into accepting some kind of compromise that gets them all the Cali games if they accept revenue sharing.


    1. Michael in Indy

      If the Northwest schools have essentially signed off on the idea that they will be in a division with the NorCal schools, but not the SoCal schools, then will I have a scenario that should make everyone satisfied.

      First, have equal revenue distribution.

      Second, have 9 games/season (5 within division, 4 against the other division).

      Third, allow the LA schools two protected crossover games each against the Bay Area schools. The California schools would thus follow the 5-2-2 model.

      Fourth, the Northwest schools and the Mtn. Time schools (Az, Az State, Col, & Utah) wouldn’t have permanent crossover games. Someone correct me if I’m wrong, but I doubt that would matter much since the rivalries aren’t too strong between the Northwest and the Mtn. Time schools.

      USC would play Washington and Oregon for two years, UCLA would play WSU and OSU for two years. Then they’d switch for the next two years, and then switch back, etc. Same scenario for the NorCal schools with the Mtn. Time schools.

      Meanwhile, each Northwest school would play 3 of the 4 Mtn. Time schools, rotating six years on, two years off. It would be just like what Big Ten teams have done with every team except their two “designated rivals” since 1993.

      The results: California rivalries remain intact. Northwest schools host LA schools twice every four years, and visit them the other two years. Mtn. Time schools go to the Bay Area twice every four years. Mtn. Time schools don’t get a leg up on the Northwest schools in TV revenue for simply being in the same division with USC/UCLA. And any player who stays for four years will get to play every Pac-12 opponent at home and on the road at least once.


      1. Richard

        However, the NW schools (as well as new members Utah & Colorado) also want to play in SoCal as often as possible. That would mean the NoCal & SoCal schools would not have protected rivalries (even though Cal-UCLA have been playing each other annually since forever and Stanford-USC have been playing each other annually since forever).

        The NW schools better be careful. The Cali (especially the SoCal) schools would not be happy losing on all fronts (divisions, scheduling, & revenue sharing), and unlike the Big10, there’s only one locus of power/funding/TV viewers/alumni/recruits in the Pac10/12. Piss them off enough, and they may seriously explore reviving the idea of the Airplane Conference again.


        1. cfn_ms

          USC has made enough low-grade noises about going independent that I think it’s safe to say that if they don’t get both NorCal games AND they are railroaded into substantial revenue concessions, at best they give it a year or two to see how much cash the league makes, and at worst they’re gone as soon as they can figure out terms (most likely UCLA, Cal and Stanford join their movement, and then all hell REALLY breaks loose). That’s why I’d presume that it’ll be either:

          1) N/S with 5-2-2 scheduling and meaningful revenue concessions

          2) N/S with 5-1-3 scheduling (USC and Stanford play annually; Cal and UCLA play annually) and zero revenue concessions

          I’d lean towards the first, but could absolutely see the second happening instead.


          1. USC has made enough low-grade noises about going independent that I think it’s safe to say that if they don’t get both NorCal games AND they are railroaded into substantial revenue concessions, at best they give it a year or two to see how much cash the league makes, and at worst they’re gone as soon as they can figure out terms (most likely UCLA, Cal and Stanford join their movement, and then all hell REALLY breaks loose).

            Let’s suppose this did happen. What might the chain reaction be?

            * You would likely have a new, scaled-down version of the envisioned Pac-16, with the four Texas and two Oklahoma Big 12 members lining up with the California schools (sorry, Stanford, block Baylor and Okie State and you’re on your own). Maybe ASU and Arizona join forces to create an east/west, 12-member split.

            * The northern Big 12 schools (ISU, KSU, KU, Missouri) persuade the Big East football members to liberate themselves from Providence, forming a 12-team league.

            * The six remaining Pac-12 members reluctantly take in Brigham Young, Boise State, Texas Christian and three others (Southern Methodist? Houston? Air Force?).

            Of course, there’s always the chance A&M would use this opportunity to bolt for the SEC, Texas be damned. Then, who knows what happens?


          2. Richard

            Er, that seems a bit farfetched. I believe the main reason Texas backed out of the Pac-10 offer is because TAMU would rather join the SEC. Break apart the Big12 and that would happen again. What’s more likely is that the 4 Cali schools join the Big12 (with the Arizona schools) with revenue guarantees or the BigTen.

            As for what the Pac8 does next, they may very well add SDSU & Fresno for a California presense (they’ll still all depend on Cali for recruiting, and that’s where a ton of their students are from/alums go). Maybe TCU to get a foothold in Texas. Maybe Houston. Not BYU because they already have Utah and most of the other areas where the Mormons are out west covered (and Utah as a state isn’t populous enough to warrant 2 schools). Definitely not Boise, because they have no recruiting grounds to speak of and bring a tiny market.


          3. Richard

            Meanwhile, it’ll be fun to speculate what a BigTen with the Cali schools would look like. The pods would actually be set up rather neatly:

            4 Cali schools




            East and West would always be in opposite divisions with North and South rotating. 9 game conference slate.

            Basketball would set up nicely as well (play the schools in your pod twice and everyone else once). The Cali schools could take weeklong roadtrips to the Midwest for their non-revenue sports.

            Incidently, the BigTen in this scenario would have 16 schools in 10 states.


          4. Richard

            BTW, if the Cali schools join the Big12 instead, the BigTen could seriously start looking at Colorado (though they’d likely not do anything).


          5. Okay, Richard — in other words, it’s the Pac-16 concept on the flip side, as the Big 12 becomes the Big 16 (were the Arizona schools to join their California brethren). You could set up a pod system of sorts, with the four California schools, the four northern Big 12 schools, the Arizona schools aligning with two of the Big 12 south (Texas Tech and Baylor?), and the other two from Texas joining Oklahoma and Okie State.

            But one dogging question remains — do Rose Bowl rights go to this conference, or to what’s left of the Pac? That could be sticky. If the Big 12 got it, you could theoretically see Iowa State face Iowa in the Rose Bowl (yeah, right).


          6. zeek

            The Rose Bowl rights would stay with whatever conference the 4 California schools are in…, or they’d get to that conference soon enough.

            Let’s not joke around, without California, the Pac-10 is nothing.

            Other than Washington and more recently Oregon, there’s no other schools that really bring out the value of the Rose Bowl matchup with the Big Ten other than the California schools…


          7. cfn_ms

            I think the chain reaction would be wildly unpredictable. Such as:

            Is there a “best of” conference w/ 12 – 16 of the Pac-12/Big 12?

            Does A&M walk to the SEC?

            Does Mizzou get a Big Ten invite after all? How about Kansas?

            Do ANY of the NW schools get an invite (if it’s 16, especially if A&M and/or Mizzou/Kansas walk, then I’d guess U-Dub would, though it’s no lock)

            Does Colorado leaving the old Big 12 help (b/c USC et all would want them) or hurt (b/c Texas et all are pissed at them)?

            Which old Big 12 teams get left out (KSU, ISU look like locks for the boot; Baylor seems iffy but are politically well-connected)?

            etc. etc. etc.

            Personally I think the odds of all this happening are low, mainly b/c the Pac-12 won’t be dumb enough to destabilize the whole thing by pissing off UCLA / USC. But I could certainly be wrong.


          8. m (Ag)

            “* You would likely have a new, scaled-down version of the envisioned Pac-16, with the four Texas and two Oklahoma Big 12 members lining up with the California schools (sorry, Stanford, block Baylor and Okie State and you’re on your own). Maybe ASU and Arizona join forces to create an east/west, 12-member split.

            Of course, there’s always the chance A&M would use this opportunity to bolt for the SEC, Texas be damned. Then, who knows what happens?”

            Well, that is not going to happen; however, I think A&M would have a hard time saying no to such a suggestion. It’s much more appealing than the bulky Pac 16 proposal, with only an 8 game schedule and likely at least as profitable as the SEC would be. Let’s face it, even though the Northwest schools may be good on the field, they don’t excite the casual fan as much as UCLA.

            If it happened, I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a switch of Baylor with TCU (for athletics) or Rice (for academics and a recruiting ground). It would be really hard for the few Baylor supporters to do anything when another school’s supporters would cheer.

            That said, if the Texas and California schools could put politics aside in planning a new conference, I think they’d propose this:

            West: UCLA, USC, Cal, Stanford, Washington, Oregon

            East: Arizona, Colorado, UT, A&M, TT, OU

            It would be ridiculously profitable, controlling every state in the Pac 16 proposal while only dividing the money 12 ways. Since Texas is roughly 3/4 of California’s population, it makes sense the ratio of schools would be 3:4. It would be well respected by casual football fans. Of course, several schools would have to make a difficult political choice to accept.


          9. Richard

            Of course, that’s not happening. Washington, Oregon, Arizona, and Oklahoma aren’t dropping their “state” schools.

            In any case, the Big12 adding the 4 Cali schools (and maybe the Arizona schools) is more likely than the Big12 jettisoning the 4 schools north of OK. I’m not sure why you think not adding the NW schools would sway TAMU’s decision. They seem quite set on the SEC if Texas heads West.


    2. Michael in Indy

      I can understand why the SoCal schools wouldn’t want to go to the equal distribution model. Right now, with unequal sharing, USC & UCLA might be getting, say, 35% of Pac-10 TV revenue, even though all along they’ve made up only 20% of the league. They’ve already conceded that, with two more members coming in, their 35% share (or whatever it is) is going to drop somewhat. In their minds, if they’ve been getting 35%, dropping to a 25% share would seem reasonable. But if they went to equal revenue sharing, they’d drop down to 16.67%. Why would they sign up for that?

      They would sign up for that because they should have seen this coming all along. The SoCal schools knew that when they agreed to expansion, they league would go to divisional format, meaning either that UCLA and USC would be split up, or that some of the current members would be placed in a division without either of them. They knew that for whatever loss in revenue share they’d get with expansion, the schools who aren’t in their division would lose an even greater share since they’d lose out on annual games in LA. Yet they agreed with everyone else that expansion was the way to go, and they agreed knowing they might not get Texas.

      USC and UCLA knew that no one else in the league would have agreed to expansion if it meant losing out on games vs. the LA schools.


  9. Michael in Indy

    I can’t help but notice that the Big Ten has a far-fetched, yet possible, chance for a dream national championship game.

    Michigan State does not play Ohio State this year, so it currently outranks all of its remaining opponents. Win their next three games (v. Illinois, @ Northwestern, @ Iowa) and they should pretty much go undefeated on the year, unless they choke vs. PSU, Purdue, or Minny. But they have a legit shot at an undefeated season, and thus a decent shot at going to the national title game.

    Ohio State, at Number 1, obviously outranks each of its remaining opponents. They’ve got their hands full with games remaining against Wisconsin, Iowa, and Meeeeeeeeeeesh-igan. But they certainly have the talent to go through the season unscathed.

    If only one of those two teams goes undefeated, the other one could still very well play in the national title game against yet another Big Ten team–Big Ten as of next July. Nebraska might have an easier road to the national title game than MSU or OSU. Their talent is decidedly superior to all remaining teams on their schedule. Okie State, A&M, Texas, & Mizzou may challenge them, but the only real hurdle will be Oklahoma in the Big 12 Title Game.

    Man, if the championship game is B10 vs. B10, wouldn’t that be the best redemption ever for Big Ten fans who are sick of hearing about SEC supremacy!


    1. As an outsider, I’m torn.

      For our purposes here, I think it’s safe to assume that, if this scenario played out, OSU would be #1 and MSU would be #2.

      On one hand, if they’re the best two teams, let ’em play, even if from the same conference.

      On the other hand, the main reason they’d be considered the best two teams would be that they’re undefeated. So why should a conference which plays neither a round-robin nor a CCG be awarded with two teams in the national championship game? The Big 10 is the only conference which allows two different teams to emerge undefeated.

      But to flip sides again, it’s not MSU’s fault this happened. (At least I don’t think it’s their fault.)

      Yeah, this one would be a tough nut to crack.

      I guess this ceases being an issue next year, so, as one who enjoys chaos, maybe root for it this season since it likely cannot happen again anytime in the foreseeable future?


      1. Michael in Indy

        MSU’s chances of getting into the championship game are pretty slim. Among Ohio State, Oregon, OU, Nebraska, Boise State, and TCU, only one team be undefeated. I don’t see MSU jumping over any of them. But hey, there’s still a possibility.


  10. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Frank – thanks for the love for my Tigers. Through the first half of the season, LSU has played the most difficult schedule in the country and is still undefeated. They may have not looked good much of the time, but as Herm Edwards says, “you play to win the game!”

    If Auburn beats the Hogs, which I think they will also, then next week the Tigers v. Tigers game on the Plains will be the game of the week, with CBS telecasting and Game Day on site.


  11. Jake

    Alright Frank – way to come around on the Frogs! Honestly, I was concerned earlier in the season, but the way the defense seems to have gelled is very reassuring.

    For this weekend, I will reluctantly pull for Texas to beat Nebraska and enthusiastically cheer for Wisconsin to beat Ohio State. And I guess I should go ahead and pull for Iowa State to beat OU, just to be safe. Too bad BYU is having such a down year – tomorrow’s game was one I (literally) had circled on my calendar.

    Also, go Rangers.


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      1. zeek

        It was 20-6 and I had given up on Nebraska.

        Then all of a sudden they do a fake fg into a pooch kick which got returned for a TD. What in the world was Mack Brown thinking…


        1. zeek

          And Texas win 20-13. Nebraska imploded at every level (except special teams), and Texas came in with a great game plan to shut down Martinez and force Nebraska to go to receivers who weren’t making catches. The final score doesn’t really do justice to how thoroughly outplayed Nebraska looked out there…


          1. schwarm

            Texas had their lowest total offense of the year today, and scored a FG in the 2nd half. They took away Nebraska’s running game, and the receivers couldn’t make a play. I think there were about 8 dropped balls, and 4 at or near the endzone. But I’ve some to expect this futility.


        2. I don’t think that was a bad call at all — sometimes shit happens. I’ve seen that pooch punt called many times, and I’ve never seen it returned for a TD. Usually it’s downed within the 10.

          Look at it this way: Nebraska blocking a FG and returning it for a TD was likelier than what happened.


      2. bullet

        Looks like my curse worked again. After I hyped him for the Heisman, Martinez didn’t even finish the game at QB. Got pulled for the backup.

        A bye week really helps against Nebraska’s type offense and that showed.

        It was kind of amusing listening to the Nebraska announcers on XM Radio, saying that Texas couldn’t match Nebraska in offensive firepower (“Texas doesn’t have a chance in a high scoring game”). The Texas offense has been very inconsistent and UNL did a GREAT job of shutting down the Texas passing game. But Texas has as much big play explosiveness as anyone in the country.

        It was not a typical Nebraska crowd. They booed every single call that went against UNL the whole game.


        1. StvInIL

          Boys, sometimes the other team wins. Why? Because they deserve to. Texas was more consistent. I had scratched this on the scratch pad in the back of my mind. Thought it would be a really good game to watch. By the time the game rolled around I thought the game would end up a snore fest that Nebraska would handle and was only going to watch the first quarter. Looks like Nebraska needs to work on their pass game for games like this one. You can’t always expect to be ahead 17 – 0 at the end of the 1st.


  13. Richard

    Did Miss St. lose their QB? Why did they just run it every play for 25 straight plays against the Gators? Have they passed since the first quarter?


    1. Richard

      I think it’s been 30+ straight running plays for Miss St. now. Also, why are they leaving 10-15 seconds on the playclock with 6 minutes left, a 3 point lead, and them running every single play?


        1. mushroomgod

          Isn’t it interesting the way offensive styles come in and out of fashion?

          Some of us are old enough to remember the ’70s when Neb, OK, MICH, OSU dominated with the option game……10 years later NOBODY was using it….just goes to show that you can win with many different systems….the key is getting the right players for the sysytem and coaching them up……….


          1. schwarm

            FWIW, Nebraska had more of a traditional offense in the 70’s with Dave Humm, Vince Ferragamo etc. at QB. They switched to more of an option game about 1980, and ran some form of that until the Bill Callahan era. By the mid 90’s, very few other teams were running a power/option offense, which is curious because is was dominant for UNL.


          2. bullet

            Texas invented the wishbone, was the first power school to drop it (1977 new coach Akers decided to ride Earl Campbell in an I formation), and was the school that figured out how to stop it and lead to its demise. Texas had to figure it out to stay on the field with OU who perfected the wishbone.

            Saturday’s game with Texas completing 4 passes was probably the 1st game since Darrell Royal was coach that UT has completed so few. DKR used to say there were 3 things that could happen when you pass and two of them were bad. Ironically, perhaps the 3 most famous plays in UT history were passes, two under Royal. There was the 4th down pass vs. Arkansas in 69 in the Big Shootout that led to the winning TD, a 45 yard TD pass with 12 seconds left the next year vs. UCLA to win 20-17 and continue what would be a 31 game win string and the 4th down pass from their own 27 to seal the 1st Big 12 championship vs. Nebraska.


          3. schwarm

            Bullet – OU was pretty successful with the wishbone until the demise of Barry Switzer. When do you think Texas figured out how to stop it?


          4. bullet

            OU won 5 straight games in the series before the tie in 76. Fred Akers split with OU while he was coach the next 11 years and OU had superior talent almost all of those years. OU scored 6, 31, 7, 13, 14, 28, 16, 15, 14 before scoring 47 in Akers last year when UT went 5-6. OU was scoring 40&50 on nearly everyone else. After a couple of losses, 3 mediocre and 1 good Texas teams won 4 straight holding OU to 24, 7, 13 and 24. Not sure exactly when OU gave up the wishbone.


          5. schwarm

            Texas went into most of those games from ’77-’87 very highly ranked. If OU was scoring 40-50 on every one else and beating UT half the time, sounds pretty good to me if I’m OU. My perception of OU’s wishbone was that it was not particularly complicated, and basically allowed better talent to succeed. Once Switzer was gone, the talent edge faded, and so did the team. The four game winning streak for UT was after Switzer left.
            I don’t doubt that UT knew how to defend the wishbone, but perhaps you are underselling the relative talent level at UT. In particular, they had some good teams in the early 80’s, and OU was down at that time.


          6. bullet

            Those were relatively down years for Texas. UT usually came into the game ranked highly (not as highly as OU), but ended the season much lower. During 77-87 Texas was 4,9,12,Unranked,2,17,5 and then Unranked the remaining years. OU was 7,3,3,3,20,16,unranked,6,1,3,3 in the final AP polls. OU was higher rated, usually much higher rated, in the final polls all but 3 of those years. Teams split during those years, 5-5-1.

            Defending the wishbone is primarily playing your assignments. Once everyone figured that out, the offense faded. A Kent St. might not defend it against OU, but good teams could. It works now for Navy, AF and GT because people don’t face it often and the proper defense is the exact opposite of the attacking schemes defenses use now. With Martinez at QB, defensing UNL is much like defensing the wishbone. If you leave your assignment, suddenly the ball carrier is 10 yards beyond you.


  14. zeek

    Well it seems that Boise State and TCU fans really won this weekend of chaos.

    All that stands between them and the guaranteed MNC spot(s) are Oregon, Auburn/LSU winner, Oklahoma, and Michigan State at this point.


      1. zeek

        Well, I’m excluding them because they’d have to go through Oklahoma, so they’ll replace Oklahoma on that list if they beat them…

        What I mean is there’s only 4 paths to those spots. I’m including Michigan State because if they win out, I think they’re in (behind an undefeated Oregon, Auburn/LSU, or Oklahoma, but ahead of undefeated Boise or TCU or even Mizzou or Oklahoma State).


          1. zeek

            Well, I guess Oklahoma State-Mizzou could matchup in it, but I’m not so sure that winner would climb above both TCU and Boise State…


    1. 84Lion

      Don’t forget that both Auburn and LSU have to play Alabama and LSU still has to play Arkansas as well as Auburn and Alabama. Auburn probably has the “easiest” road to go undefeated but then there is the SEC championship.
      I agree, TCU and Boise are sitting pretty at this point.
      Actually, other than MSU playing at Iowa, their schedule isn’t that hard. Assuming they can stay focused they could go undefeated.
      Does a one-loss SEC team trump an undefeated MSU?


      1. zeek

        That’s a really intriguing question to me, but I think it depends on how Iowa does against Ohio State.

        If Wisconsin and Iowa both beat Ohio State and then both only have Big Ten losses to Sparty, that significantly helps Michigan State’s strength of schedule since it’d have a 11-1 Wisconsin and a 10-2 Iowa on it. You wouldn’t even need Ohio State on that schedule to have enough strength…

        I think a 12-0 Michigan State in that situation would get the nod over a 1 loss SEC Champion.

        It is a good point that Alabama still plays both Auburn and LSU, so that’s going to be tough.

        I just don’t see a 1 loss SEC Champion getting in over a no loss Big Ten Champion in Sparty, even though Sparty doesn’t play Ohio State this year.


      2. Richard

        I doubt it. The big difference between MSU’s and Boise’s schedules is that there’s more heft in the middle and less dreck on the bottom. Even if Iowa & Wisconsin is equal to VTech & Oregon St., MSU also has Michigan, ND, Illinois, PSU, Northwestern, and Purdue while Boise only has Nevada, Fresno, and _maybe_ Wyoming as opponents in that class. The bottom of the WAC (really, everyone outside the top 3) really kill Boise’s schedule strength and hurt them with the computers.


      3. m (Ag)

        “Does a one-loss SEC team trump an undefeated MSU?”

        In the computers? It’s certainly possible. It certainly would help if Florida beats FSU, South Carolina beats Clemson, and schools that have non-conference losses (Vandy, Georgia, Ole Miss, and Tennessee) do poorly against the other 8 teams. Other helpful items would be Georgia beating GT and teams that the SEC beat doing well in their conferences (West Virginia, USF, or Louisville in the Big East, PSU in the Big 10, A&M in the Big 12, any number of ACC teams).

        However, the human polls are 2/3 of the formula, and I don’t see a 1 loss SEC team staying ahead of an undefeated Big Ten team there.


    2. Well it seems that Boise State and TCU fans really won this weekend of chaos.

      All that stands between them and the guaranteed MNC spot(s) are Oregon, Auburn/LSU winner, Oklahoma and Michigan State at this point.

      If it gets to the point of Boise State and Texas Christian becoming a likely title game matchup, don’t be surprised to see some BCS coaches who vote in these polls make “deals” with ESPN (guaranteed future TV games?) to prevent this nightmare (in Bristol’s point of view) from happening. It could (grudgingly) tolerate one of those teams getting in, but not both.


      1. bullet

        I think the coaches are already working to stop Boise and TCU and Utah.

        Last week Oregon was 53 points ahead of Boise in the coaches poll. Oregon took the week off, Boise took the 2nd half off after leading 41-0 at the break, and Oregon is now 67 points ahead of Boise.

        OU jumped from 6th to 3rd over TCU. TCU had its 3rd straight game w/o giving up a TD. OU had an impressive 52-0 win at home over Iowa St. Yet it was no more impressive than Utah’s 68-27 win at Iowa St. last week. Utah dropped behind Michigan St. after MSU’s overwhelming 26-6 win over Illinois where they trailed 6-3 at halftime. Utah led them by 102 points last week.


        1. zeek

          Yep. Expect the winner of Auburn-LSU to also post a jump. Who knows where to though…

          If Oklahoma beats Mizzou and Auburn beats LSU, we could see Boise drop to 4th and TCU drop to 5th…


    1. mushroomgod

      I wonder if TP was still hurt–he seemed to have NO interest in taking on those Wis tacklers……

      I’ve seen enough of him over the last few years to question his heart……I’m sure he’ll be a hugh draft pick, but I think he’ll flop in the NFL.


  15. Alan from Baton Rouge

    BCS rankings by conference:

    Big XII (6): #1 Oklahoma, #11 Missouri, #14 Oklahoma State, #16 Nebraska, #19 Texas, #22 Kansas State.

    SEC (6): #4 Auburn, #6 LSU, #8 Alabama, #21 South Carolina, #23 Arkansas, #24 Miss. State.

    Big Ten (4): #7 Michigan State, #10 Ohio State, #13 Wisconsin, #15 Iowa.

    Pac-10 (3): #2 Oregon, #12 Stanford, #18 Arizona.

    MWC (2): #5 TCU, #9 Utah.

    ACC (2): #17 Florida State, #25 Virginia Tech.

    WAC (1): #3 Boise State.

    Big East (1): #20 West Virginia.

    Looking ahead to week #8, there are four games between ranked teams.

    #1 Oklahoma at #11 Mizzou
    #6 LSU at #4 Auburn
    #13 Wisconsin at #15 Iowa
    #16 Nebraska at #14 Oklahoma State

    Other games of interest include:

    Air Force (5-2) at #5 TCU
    #7 Michigan State at Northwestern (5-1)
    Purdue (4-2) at #10 Ohio State
    Washington (3-3) at #18 Arizona
    Syracuse (4-2) at #20 West Virginia
    #22 Kansas State at Baylor (5-2)
    Ole Miss (3-3) at #23 Arkansas

    Only ten unbeatens left.

    #1 Oklahoma
    #2 Oregon
    #3 Boise State
    #4 Auburn
    #5 TCU
    #6 LSU
    #7 Michigan State
    #9 Utah
    #11 Missouri
    #14 Oklahoma State

    A maximum of six teams can be unbeaten at the end of the year.

    Oklahoma play at Mizzou this weekend, and at Oklahoma State on 11/27.
    LSU plays at Auburn this weekend. I will be in attendance.
    TCU plays at Utah on 11/6.


    1. zeek

      Boise’s only hope was that Nevada kept winning and eventually would have been in the 10-12 range so Boise would have a convincing top conference win to match TCU-Utah.

      But with Nevada’s loss to Hawaii, the TCU-Utah game should be enough to push TCU past Boise along with the rest of TCU’s schedule.


  16. mushroomgod

    Just a minor expansion note—

    Saw a poll from the Washington Post concerning MD to the BT….can’t tell the date but it’s from when expansion was a hot issue…..4 responses were essentially–

    listen then decline…..20%
    listen and consider…..20%
    don’t listen…………44%

    There were 2499 votes.

    I had reconsidered MD as an option based on a long thread on a MD site that expressed some entusiasm for the idea. The results of this poll are more in line with my original belief that it’s a non-starter.

    With no MD, there’s not an attractive enough 14th team to proceed, if that was still an option…….


    1. zeek

      I doubt there’ll be any movement at this point until ND or Texas decides to change its mind. Those two hold all of the cards, since Texas holds the Pac-16 entirely at its discretion and ND knows it can join the Big Ten up to 14 as one of the few schools that pays for itself a couple times over…

      The SEC is probably happy where it is but would take Texas A&M if Texas goes to the Pac-16 as a way of securing itself some Texas real estate…


    2. StvInIL

      I saw that poll. That was very early in the process at the point Maryland was just a hint of an option. Currently there is no driver to just add a new team I believe. More movement would have to take place to take the BT out of its slow methodical process.


  17. Latest on the Longhorn Sports Network (Bevo TV). Nothing really new here except the mentioning of Fox as a probable partner:

    “Longhorn Network will agree to a television partner soon – probably, but not definitely — Fox. DeLoss Dodds told me he still expects it to be up and running by next fall and thinks Texas will have the rights to show one Texas football game and several basketball games.”


  18. Jay

    If I were a pollster I’d just go ahead and slot Boise at No. 1 now. At least that way I wouldn’t have to change the top of my ballot up every week!

    Oklahoma – Very overrated team. Clearly the BCS computers haven’t watched the Sooners play this year. They’ll lose at Mizzou this week.

    Oregon – Great team, but they don’t have what it takes to run the table. They’ll lose to USC coming off a bye in two weeks at the Colliseum. If not, the Beavers will get them in Corvalis at the end of the year.

    Auburn (which would likely be the new No. 1 at this point, judging from the way these polls seem to work) – Living off an easy schedule and the bloated reputation of its conference. Might not lose until the Iron Bowl, but could get tripped up by an even more overrated LSU squad which basically just got the week off.

    LSU – If Auburn doesn’t get these Tigers, Bama ought to in a couple weeks. They’ve got no business being unbeaten.

    Michigan State – They might get past Northwestern next week, but the trip to Iowa after that should get ’em. If not, the Spartans probably run the table. Do they have the cachet or the schedule strength to pass the non-AQs in this scenario?

    TCU/Utah – Obviously only one of these schools can finish the season unbeaten, but I actually think the winner of their meeting will pass Boise in the computers and the BCS by season’s end if they don’t lose.

    Every power conference team, save Michigan State, is probably going to sustain a loss at some point. But I don’t see the powers that be allowing for a ratings-killer and relatively powerless TCU, Boise or Utah team slipping into the title game – let alone two of them! The human polls will be manipulated in December in order to keep that from happening.


      1. Richard

        Yeah, an AQ powerhouse vs. a non-AQ team would be a ratings booster. Boise vs. VTech drew the highest ratings of any college football game in the past 16 years.


        1. @Richard – I’m actually skeptical of that – the biggest ratings normally come from a mega-power playing another mega-power. People like *saying* they want to watch the underdog, but they actually choose to watch the big dogs. The legendary Oklahoma-Boise State Fiesta Bowl was beaten out in the TV ratings by the horrific blowouts in the Rose Bowl (USC-Michigan) and Sugar Bowl (Notre Dame-LSU) that featured marquee names that same week. Would it be different for the very first time that a non-AQ team makes it to the championship game? Possibly for the uniqueness of it, but the historically low ratings of the BCS bowls featuring non-AQ teams seem to indicate the opposite. Plus, it would likely be a one-time occurrence in terms of interest – the networks might be happy the very first time a Boise State makes it that far for the novelty factor, but then wouldn’t ever want to see it again.

          The Boise State vs. Virginia Tech rating got a 7.3, which was the highest rating of a college football game on ESPN in the past 16 years. In terms of highest ratings over the past decade, the most highly-watched game was the 2006 National Championship Game (Texas-USC) with a 21.7 (basically the closest thing that college football has had to the mega-hyped 1991 NBA Finals featuring Michael Jordan and Magic Johnson going head-to-head with Vince Young, Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush all facing off with massive fan bases and mega TV markets behind them), while the highest rated regular season game was the 2006 Michigan-Ohio State game with a 13.0.

          If you look at that list, the top 20 most highly-watched games of the decade were all (1) national championship games, (2) Rose Bowls or (3) other games involving Big Ten teams versus other big-name teams (2006 Michigan-Ohio State, 2006 Ohio State-Notre Dame Fiesta Bowl, 2006 Penn State-Florida State Orange Bowl). People wanting to watch the big names doesn’t just apply to college football – look at the NBA games (19 out of the top 20 involved the Lakers, with the only exception being a Game 7 in the Spurs-Pistons 2005 NBA Finals) and MLB games (18 out of the top 20 involved the Yankees and Red Sox, with the only exceptions being Game 7 of the Angels-Giants 2002 World Series and the crazy follow-up to the Bartman game in Game 7 of the Cubs-Marlins NLCS). The NFL is really the only sport that’s largely immune to this.


          1. jj

            I think Boise is the only non-aq that could pull significant ratings. It is “sufficently unique” as some would say. Utah and TCU would be a disaster for the reasons above.

            Speaking of ratings – UM/MSU hockey has sold over 105,000 tickets for the December outdoor matchup. A world record. What hosers say hockey doesn’t matter, eh?


          2. m (Ag)

            I don’t think that many casual fans (who the big bowls depend on watching) really care about Boise. The people who mostly care are sports reporters who can write easy columns every few weeks saying how they’d like playoffs and some passionate fans who fill up message boards.

            I think an undefeated Utah would do better than Boise or TCU, particularly if it gets matched up against a Pac 10 or Big 10 team in a bowl game (the Rose Bowl must be rooting for them, as they would be the best possible ‘replacement’ team this year). Network advertising will play up them joining the Pac 10 next year, which would get some respect from casual fans who are probably still unaware of it. Pac 10 fans in particular will be more likely to check them out in their last game as a MWC member.

            In addition, even though they might not be the most popular program in their own state, Utah probably has more devoted fans than TCU or Boise.


          3. @jj – Maybe. I could see the argument where Boise has become the equivalent of Gonzaga for college basketball (the “major” mid-major). From a pure TV perspective, though, Boise can’t just be playing any old establishment school – that was made clear when Boise’s win over Oklahoma and Utah’s win over Alabama drew tepid audiences. Does Butler’s appearance in the basketball national championship game last year lose a lot of general interest if they had been playing West Virginia? Absolutely. What made it truly compelling television to the average person off the street (not just big sports fans like us) was that Butler was playing the evil incarnate in Duke. Virtually every person in America has an opinion about Duke (whether good or bad), which you can’t even say about other elite basketball schools like UNC or Kentucky.

            So, who does Boise State need to play for the championship to really get everyone to watch? Notre Dame, of course.


          4. jj

            Agree Frank. The opponent matters a lot.

            In terms of this year, I think OSU or Bama would have done it and maybe Nebraska, LSU or OU. No one else really cuts it.

            Boise can do it b/c of all the after the fact love they’ve generated over the past few years. Boise could not have done it 5 years ago.

            Good analogy btw.

            Butler/Duke = interesting to most sports fans

            Gonzaga/Duke = insane level of attention


          5. Richard

            I think Boise vs. ‘Bama (to a lesser degree, Boise vs. another SEC team) would do the trick, as the most antipathy I’ve found online (not really here) towards the legitimacy of Boise as a national title contender has been from SEC fans and commentators. Plus the SEC is considered the strongest league right now. Plus ‘Bama are the current defending champions.

            I don’t think even Utah or TCU vs. ‘Bama would top Boise vs. ‘Bama, as you would have the ultimate BCS buster, the former community college who’ll be winners of their last 26 games (winners of their last 37 regular season games), albeit against mostly suspect competition, going up against one of the most storied programs of all time from what’s generally held to be the toughest league and who is also the reigning national champion. David vs. Goliath. The storylines would write themselves.


          6. bullet

            I think Boise would do well this year due to the Cinderella factor and due to the fact they have been in the discussion all year-in the championship game. Maybe Boise-Oregon would be a ratings dud, but vs. an SEC team, Ohio St. or OU would work.

            In the Fiesta, Boise was considered a fluke and everyone thought OU would blow them out. In the Sugar, Alabama fans were disappointed after their FL loss. And again, few believed Utah belonged there. In a championship game, the Cinderella factor kicks in. In the lesser bowls, people want good matchups.

            Maybe Boise wouldn’t draw much in ratings after the novelty effect as discussed above, but I think this year it would work.


          7. Jay

            Boise doesn’t even sell out its own stadium. To get really solid ratings, a team needs to have a large fanbase of its own. Regardless of any circumstances, I don’t see Boise being in the national championship over a power conference team with 40,000 students and countless alumni and casual fans doing anything but deflating ratings.


          8. m (Ag)

            Bowls choose teams like movie theaters pick films.

            A film writer can give a 4 star rating to a drama about a returned military veteran, but it’s not going to rival Transformers 3 in ticket sales.

            Lots of people say they want better movies, but they really want better action films, romances, and comedies.

            Lots of people say they want to see the best college football teams, but they really want to see the best teams from the the 5 BCS conferences that aren’t the Big East.

            (And national sports writers are probably worse at analyzing teams than film writers are at analyzing films.)


          9. @m (Ag) – Speaking of Transformers 3, the film crew for that movie was parked outside of my Chicago office building for well over a month this summer. I know it won’t exactly be Citizen Kane, but I saw a late night setup on Wacker Drive that was unreal – it looked like an earthquake hit the city for 4 full city blocks with rubble, cars and debris everywhere. A lot of Dark Knight scenes were filmed by my old office, too – Lower Wacker Drive and LaSalle Street were used in a ton of scenes in that movie.


          10. cutter

            The link below has the television ratings for all the bowl games from 1998 to the present, i.e., during the BCS era.


            Last season, the Boise State-TCU Fiesta Bowl was the fourth highest bowl game with a rating of 8.23. That put them behind the championship game, the Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bow. #5 position went to the Capital One Bowl between PSU and LSU at 6.83 and #6 was the Iowa-Georgia Orange Bowl at 6.80.

            In the 2008/9 season, Boise State and TCU played in the Poinsetta Bowl, but with lower ratings than 2009/10. That rating was 3.70.

            In 2007/8, Boise State played in the Hawaii Bowl against East Carolina. That rating was 1.47.

            The famous 2006/7 Fiesta Bowl between Oklahoma and Boise State drew a rating of 8.40. That game was also #4 in the bowl rankings with the Louisville-Wake Forest Orange Bowl coming in at 6.98.

            Boise State is in a couple more bowl games before that. The 2005/6 MPC Computers Bowl against Boston College earned a rating 0f 2.33. The year prior to that, Boise State played Louisville in the Liberty Bowl to a 4.6 rating.

            When you look at the fourth highest ranked game ratings in past seasons, here’s what you get:

            2010 – 8.23 (BSU v. TCU)
            2009 – 7.80 (Utah v. Alabama)
            2008 – 7.40 (KU v. VaTech)
            2007 – 8.40 (BSU v. OK)
            2006 – 9.00 (UGa v. WVU)
            2005 – 7.40 (Utah v. Pitt)
            2004 – 8.70 (Ohio State v. KSU)
            2003 – 9.20 (FSU v. Georgia)


    1. jj

      This should be fun. Probably an anomoly though. Fans will be something like 50% UM, 40% MSU and 10% curious drunks. I was surprised WI didn’t do theirs with MN. It looked pretty empty on TV.


  19. bullet

    I’m not a fan of firing coaches in mid-season. I can’t imagine it really makes a lot of difference in recruiting. Most are either leaning or will take a while. Two coaches with Longhorn connections got the axe this week, Brewster (former assistant) at Minnesota and Dodge (former QB) at North Texas.

    Seemed a little quick on Brewster, especially with this season still not complete. Dodge won 6 out of 43 after UNT had won 3 straight Sun Belt titles before he arrived. His was inevitable. I just have a question with what it does to the team with 4 or 5 games left.


    1. zeek

      Yeah, especially in this situation where Minnesota hasn’t been where it has wanted to be for 40 years. Is there really a need to rush Minnesota’s comeback?

      Yes, they want a coach who can actually compete on the level of Iowa/Wisconsin, and yes they have a new stadium that they need to make sure they keep full, but I still don’t see the rush. They don’t want another guy who goes 6-6 or 7-5 to bowl games; they want a coach who can get them to 9-3 or possibly 10-2 records somewhat consistently.

      It’s going to be a lot harder in the new divisional setup with the other schools in the Northwest division mostly up right now (except Michigan, but they’ll always have a lot better talent), and their crossover rivalry game being Wisconsin.

      Still, this season was totally lost, and I don’t see how any coach they get can turn it around for at least another 2-3 seasons, especially if they go for a coach with his own system like Leach.


    2. Richard

      Well, if you’re going to fire a coach eventually, what’s the point in keeping him around? It’s not like Minny (or North Texas) this season was going bowling, so what do you lose? On the other hand, you get a head start on recruiting a head coach before the rest of the pack.

      BTW, while I perfectly understand letting Brewster go, I thought it was foolish (and rather arrogant) of Minny to fire Mason (even though the Minny fanbase as calling for Mason’s head and loved Brewster when he first arrived). The guy had taken the Gophers to 5 straight bowl games and 7 in 8 years (including a 10 win season). He was definitely their most successful coach since the ’60’s, so Minny certainly could do worse (and did).


    1. m (Ag)

      The real problem is that (as they said) the scheduling was done in a hurry and the Big Ten office clearly wants the 8 game schedule to be only temporary, even though it appears ADs and coaches are resistant to the idea.

      If they scheduled it SEC style, a school would drop off the schedule for 3 years before coming back on for 2.

      Iowa’s schedule would be a 5 year cycle, looking something like this:

      Year 1: @Wisconsin, Illinois
      Year 2: @Illinois, PSU
      Year 3: @PSU, OSU
      Year 4: @OSU, Indiana
      Year 5: @Indiana, Wisconsin

      They didn’t do this partly to get the best matchups before the next TV contract; I also believe they did it because ADs might find they prefer this to a 9 game schedule. Instead they picked a schedule where teams will drop off for longer periods of time, creating a little more push for the 9 game schedule.


      1. m (Ag) – I agree with this – a 9-game conference schedule in the Big Ten is FAR from a foregone conclusion. The more I look into this, the more there appears to be a disconnect between the macro-conference level (where the extra conference game is beneficial for the TV contracts) and the micro-school level (where many of them want the revenue from an extra home game and easier roads to bowl games). Jim Delany is going to have to convince the members that the extra conference game will create enough value in the way of additional TV revenue to compensate for the lost income from an additional home game and/or fewer bowl opportunities. I don’t think it will – gameday revenue is still sacronsanct and schools want to be able to sell consistent bowl appearances to their alums. If I were to bet today, I think the Big Ten will eventually adopt the SEC-style 5-year rotation that you indicated.


        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Frank – I’ve been writing the same thing for months. 9 conference games plus a conference championship game is just too much for any team to endure, as the 12-Pac will soon find out.

          If the Big Ten want to preserve every hatchet/bucket/spitoon/pig rivalry game in a 9 game schedule, they can kiss away any chance of even tOSU making it to a BCS NC game.


        2. bullet

          This is not such a big deal with KISS. Its really just splitting OSU/UM (and the 3 NW schools) that requires an every year opponent in the other division. Instead of a 5-1-2 schedule, you could do a 5-0-3 with KISS and get everyone home-and-away over a 4 year period.

          Interesting how everyone talks about long planning sessions, but all these expansions get done w/o figuring out all these significant issues. Its much like most corporate mergers. Presidents decide what they want to do and leave the mess for everyone else to clean up.

          I’m inclined to believe they go to 9 games. OOC is getting more and more expensive. Playing FCS schools really isn’t acceptable. The vote will be 8-4 in favor of 9 games w/OSU,UM,PSU,UNL voting no. IA and WI will be the swing votes.


          1. @bullet – Michigan actually has been on the record of supporting 9 or even 10-game conference schedules (which is interesting since they’ll fill up their stadium even against Little Sisters of the Poor). Illinois has also been open about increasing conference games. Ohio State, Penn State and Wisconsin seem to be the most against it as the schools that regularly have 8 home games, and I’d bet Nebraska would be in that camp, as well. My guess is that Iowa would be against it because they’re obligated to play Iowa State every season, so they want to keep some scheduling flexibility. Purdue and Michigan State will always want to play Notre Dame (forget about anyone who thinks for a second that they would willingly drop the Irish from their schedules – they’re more scared of the opposite happening), so are they going to want to give up their non-conference scheduling flexibility, too? Probably not. That’s 7 schools, from how I see it, are pre-disposed to voting against a 9-game schedule. At least 2 of those schools are going to need to flip or go against what I see are their self-interests on paper.


          2. Richard

            Oh, and no one who’s salaries are actually paid by a school finds playing FCS schools unaccceptable, as fans still attend those games.

            Also, if anything, the fact that the MAC schools of the world are demanding either $1M fees for guaranteed games or 2-for-1s would actually limit the desire of BigTen teams to increase to 9 conference games. With 8 conference games, you can easily maintain 7 home games by filling your nonconf schedule with 3 2-for-1’s and a FCS school. With 9 conference games, if you want to have 7 home games, you’re down to having only 1 away game to trade every 2 years. 3 2-for-1’s over 6 years and an FCS school every year means you still have to pony up $1M for a guaranteed game every other year (or else give up a lucrative home game).


          3. greg


            Wisky and Iowa will both be for 8 game schedules. They need to make sure they get that 7th home game, which they’ll sell out even if its Eastern Illinois.

            I agree about the haphazard mergers. The Pac10 really looked like they just decided to expand to “get bigger” and are now picking up the pieces amongst their disagreements. I doubt any more expansion by the B10 due to their conservative nature.


          4. Richard

            Well, they were gambling to land the big fish (Texas) and failed. Once they gave out invites to all the Big12 schools, they couldn’t just withdraw their invite to Colorado.


          5. m (Ag)


            “Michigan actually has been on the record of supporting 9 or even 10-game conference schedules”

            I know you’ve said this before, but I find it surprising. If Michigan wanted to add another school home/away, they could likely easily schedule schools like UCLA, Florida State, and Tennessee, rotating teams on the schedule every 2 years. That would probably create more fan excitement and more TV value than another conference game.

            “I’d bet Nebraska would be in that camp [against 9 game schedule], as well.”

            Yeah, we’ve already heard rumors of Nebraska maybe keeping a regular rivalry with Colorado and scheduling Oklahoma at least occasionally in the future. After 8 conference games, I definitely see them wanting space for a national opponent or an old Big 8 rivalry before a 9th conference game.


            “Well, they were gambling to land the big fish (Texas) and failed. Once they gave out invites to all the Big12 schools, they couldn’t just withdraw their invite to Colorado.”

            Well, if they want to fill up the schedule for a conference network while still selling some games to ESPN and a national network, 12 schools provide much more programming than 10.


      2. coldhusker

        I agree that if they weren’t doing KISS, then they should have done the SEC style 2 years on, 3 years off schedule. I’m guessing they could have easily got that done in time, but wanted TV again won out in wanting bigger matchups for Nebraska to get a better contract.

        Taking a look at Nebraska’s non-division schedule:
        – They get Penn St every year
        – They get Wisky and Ohio St in ’11 and ’12
        – I assume that means in ’13 and ’14 they get 2 of Purdue, Indiana, or Illinois
        – I also assume that means they won’t play 1 of Purdue, Indiana, or Illinois until ’15.


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