Mad About Mad Men, Frank the Tank’s BlogPoll Week 8 Ballot, Football Parlay and Open Thread – 10/21/2010

NOTE: The first part of this post contains spoilers for the Mad Men Season 4 finale, so if you still need to watch it or, alternatively, don’t care about the show, please skip down to the bottom of the post with this week’s picks.

Before we get to this week’s picks, I had to throw down some Mad Men thoughts since my head is still spinning after that season finale.  Putting aside the fact that Joan didn’t go through with the abortion of her baby with Roger and Betty’s Christine O’Donnell-esque firing of Carla, the stunner was obviously Don sudden marriage proposal to Megan after basically only spending a couple of days together and dumping Faye in the process.  I initially had a visceral negative reaction to that development, not because it has anything to do with Don’s actual choice (which I’ll go into great detail in a moment), but it just didn’t seem to flow in a series that’s been built upon long character arcs before having dramatic payoffs.  (See the interaction between Peggy and Joan after Don announces his engagement as the ultimate example of a scene that was years in the making.)

After thinking about it for awhile, though, the episode has grown on me and, ultimately, the sudden engagement really does fit into Don Draper’s (or Dick Whitman’s) character.  There was a scene earlier this season where Don described his process to creating great ad campaigns – he bangs his head against the wall again and again until something suddenly clicks.  His entire life has been based on decisions where he acts upon the proverbial light bulb going off in his head, whether it’s generating a slogan, buying the New York Times ad in last week’s episode or choosing to marry someone that seems to be perfect on the surface.  In that sense, spending a few nights with his Maria Von Trapp clone secretary and then proposing is right in line with Don’s normal thought process.

One school of thought on Don’s choice of Megan over Faye that seems to be popular with Mad Men fans is that Don is both running from his past (yet again) and he can’t handle someone that’s his equal.  The argument there is that Faye wasn’t going to let Don get away from confronting his Dick Whitman life head-on and her professional stature, if not intimidating, certainly would mean that she wouldn’t be a Stepford wife in the suburbs.

I actually have a very different view on this – it felt to me like Don is actually at peace with his Don/Dick identity issues for the first time (which in part made Faye’s role as quasi-therapist not as relevant anymore).  Don hasn’t told Megan about his Dick Whitman past like he did with Faye, but at least in how everything was presented, I don’t think that (a) Don will necessarily hide that information from Megan and (b) Megan would care about it if/when she finds that out.  Frankly, Don has spent this entire season confronting his past – what he needed to do was to move on. 

Anna posthumously giving Don her engagement ring was effectively blessing him to move forward.  Of course, I didn’t think he’d use that ring that quickly.  Faye’s prediction from the second episode of the season that Don would be married within a year ended up being extremely dead-on, only the problem for her is that she won’t be the recipient.  Now, it appears that the majority of Mad Men fans believed that Faye was the “right” woman for Don as a highly educated and professional woman that could dig deep into his tricked-out psyche.  However, Faye was looking to tackle and fix Don’s Dick Whitman issues (with her comment at the beginning of the episode that he needed to get his head out of the sand with the past), where what Don was looking for was a way to move on as described above.

This gets us to Megan.  Maybe it’s because I’ve turned into a sappy bowl of Jell-O after my first year of fatherhood, but I knew that Megan would end up with Don the moment that she picked up Sally off the office floor several episodes ago.  It turned out that Faye was absolutely having an “audition” when she spent time with Sally and proved to be not only merely uncomfortable around kids, but so painfully and comically awful with them that she openly admitted it to him.  Let’s face it – when your ex-wife is a prime candidate to go after your family with a Sharon Stone ice pick and your 10-year old daughter is seeing a childhood shrink largely because of it, not being good with kids is ultimately going to be a relationship deal-breaker no matter how much outsiders might think you need to be with a strongly independent and challenging partner.  To me, that was a pretty simple choice and very understandable for Don – as a father of 15-month old twins, I honestly wouldn’t be able to go on with a Faye-type if I were in his shoes.

Faye’s shortcomings in that area were exacerbated by Megan’s easy-going French-speaking natural manner with children.  The milkshake spilling scene was an instantly iconic moment of the series, where Don and the kids were shell shocked that Megan didn’t have a Betty-type explosion and calmly wiped everything up.  It was as if though the Draper family was so conditioned to instant shrieking in response to any small mistake or indiscretion that they didn’t realize that you could actually approach a problem in a civilized manner.  Don isn’t ever going to be a Father of the Year, but he ultimately cares about his kids greatly (and said so at several points this season, including to Faye in the workplace kitchen scene in the second episode), and I think the milkshake spilling moment was what sealed the deal with him and Megan.

Let’s also not forget that Don himself has never had a mother figure and his relationship with his father was short, abusive and tragic, so he has his own parental needs.  Faye was fantastic at assessing Don’s issues – pegging his need to get married from the get-go and telling him that he “only likes the beginnings of things” in their break-up phone call – but there wasn’t ever any empathy from her, which is what he has never received in his entire his life (as shown in his broken childhood and marriage with Betty) with the exception of Anna.

Ken mentioned in this episode that he keeps his personal life separate from his professional life, alluding to what we call a “balanced” lifestyle today.  Well, Megan is the personification of “balance” to Don – spectacular with children (unlike Betty), young and beautiful but with a self-recognized physical flaw with her teeth that humanizes her (also unlike Betty, whose standard, as noted at the end of this episode, will always be “perfection”), and educated enough to understand Don’s work even better than some of his peers (as only she and Peggy understood the New York Times ad was about “I dumped her/she didn’t dump me”) yet being deferential in a way that she wouldn’t upstage Don (unlike Faye).  In Don’s mind, Megan = Anna + romance.  At least that’s how Megan has been portrayed up to this point, which is part of the mystery.  Based on what we know, Megan was the right choice for Don compared to Faye, but the catch is that there’s probably a whole lot we don’t know about Megan.  As Roger hilariously asked after Don’s announcement, “Who the hell is that?!”  The audience is asking the same thing and I’m sure that’s a topic that’s going to be explored deeply next season.

There were three positive signs about Don that left me feeling hopeful that this would all work out (even though happiness is a feeling that doesn’t last very long on this show).  First, he answered Sally’s question about who was Dick in California about as honestly he could to two young kids on vacation to Disneyland.  There are other times and places where Don could fully explain his Dick Whitman background without having his kids emotionally crushed every time that they saw Mickey Mouse for the rest of their lives.  Second, Don immediately recanted his story to Megan that Anna’s ring was a family heirloom and explained that it was from a person very close to him.  Third, it was very clear that Don was upfront with Megan about his relationship with Faye, as Megan was the one that prodded him to tell Faye about the engagement news and that it wouldn’t get any easier by waiting.  Those were three instances where Don would’ve flat-out lied not too long ago, so this indicated that he has indeed grown as an adult over this past season.  Can he keep it up or is he going to end up reverting back to the serial philanderer next year?

My gut feeling is that the show is probably going to move away from Don’s personal issues next season and focus much more on the women: Megan’s background and flaws (if there are any), Joan dealing with motherhood (with or without her doltish husband that’s in Vietnam), Peggy continuing to deal with a world that still rewards women getting the MRS degree more than concrete professional accomplishments, Sally adjusting to a new home and stepmother, and, probably most importantly, Betty confronting the prospect of another marriage going down in shambles and witnessing her kids grow way more attached to Megan than her.

Mad Men has such compelling character development that I could write a whole lot more words on just the Don/Megan/Faye dynamic (much less the others on the show), but let’s move onto this week’s picks before this turns into a 10,000 word book (with home teams in CAPS and odds from Bodog via Yahoo!):


  • UCLA Bruins (+26) over OREGON – Oregon has to slow down, right?  This could set up as a dangerous “look-ahead” game, as well, with the Ducks playing USC next week.
  • ILLINOIS (-13.5) over Indiana – I’ll be taking the twins to their first football game on Homecoming Weekend in Champaign.  The Illini really aren’t half bad.  I can’t say the same about the Hoosiers.
  • LOUISVILLE (-1) over Connecticut – Louisville should’ve covered last week at home against a better Cincinnati team.  I think they’re winning outright on Saturday. 

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

Illini Games for the Season: 3-2
Overall Season: 7-13-1


  • BEARS (-2.5) over Redskins – Ugh.  This is going to be a fugly game.  I do think the Bears are going to be able to move the ball against this Washington defense, so they should benefit from that in combination with the home field.
  • FALCONS (-3) over Bengals – If I were assigning confidence points to these picks, this is the one I feel most strongly about.  So, expect the Bengals to run away with a 30-point upset win.
  • Giants (+3.5) over COWBOYS – I haven’t been very consistently right on many things this season, but one thing that I do feel comfortable about is always taking the points against Dallas.  That team is truly terrible.

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

Bears Games for the Season: 3-3
Overall Season: 9-9

Once again, 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 the Through the Wire post.  Have a great weekend!

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


112 thoughts on “Mad About Mad Men, Frank the Tank’s BlogPoll Week 8 Ballot, Football Parlay and Open Thread – 10/21/2010

  1. Megan had Don locked in at “I don’t care about your past, I care about you NOW” or whatever it was that she said exactly.

    Like you stated, Faye was much too equal to ever last. She was done once the sneaking around.

    I think next season has to be a major turning point (or major fall) for Betty’s character. They’ve built up the fact that her family and new husband hate her, she’s still a little brat inside (hello, child psychologist), and she’s going to be gunning to get back with Don based on their last, brief meeting.

    oh yeah…and that football stuff…


    1. Alan from Baton Rouge

      It looks like the 12-Pac did the right thing on divisional alignment, as well as setting the location of the championship game. I think they will regret a 9 game conference schedule though.

      The only question left regarding the CCG, is allotment of tickets. How many tickets does the 12-Pac office pull away from season ticket holders/students of the host team? How many tickets are allotted to the visiting team, again at the expense of season ticket holders/students of the host team?

      LSU (and most other SEC schools) has a priority point ranking for season ticket holders that determines who gets away game and bowl tickets. Do the Big Ten schools have something similar?


      1. @Alan from Baton Rouge – Yes, I think the Pac-10 did the right thing, too. The 9-game schedule situation is a little bit different for the Pac-10 compared to the Big Ten in that (1) the Pac-10 already plays 9 conference games so they’re already accustomed to the revenue and scheduling parameters in that format and (2) they don’t have the same capacity to pay for one-and-done non-conference home games in the same manner as Big Ten and SEC schools. Most of the schools in the Big Ten and SEC will draw in full or close to full stadiums against any random opponent, whereas Pac-10 schools are much more dependent upon quality opponents to boost attendance. Thus, the extra home isn’t nearly as much of an advantage for Pac-10 schools compared to Big Ten and SEC schools.


        1. Alan from Baton Rouge

          Frank – I agree with you on the economic aspects of the 9 game schedule for the 12-Pac, but from a competitive standpoint, I just think 9 conference games plus a CCG is just too much to ask, if your team has expectations of an undefeated season and a spot in the BCS NCG.


          1. @Alan from Baton Rouge – We’ve already seen that with the Pac-10 in just its round-robin format. There have been several USC teams that were thrown out of national championship races because of tripping up against 1 mediocre Pac-10 team.


      1. Gopher86

        Scott says they’ve made serious talks internally on a potential network. Says they will speak with current tv partners before deciding on whether to launch a network.


      2. bullet

        No surprises. Split as Frank posted above. 9 game schedule. Cal schools get to play each other every year (5-2-2 schedule). Championship game at home field (at least at first). Equal revenue split starting 2012-13 with a $2 million bonus for UCLA and USC should revenue be below $170 million (expected to be comfortably over).


      3. Michael in Indy

        I wonder if Utah and Colorado will play each other on the last game of the season every year. I would argue that they should not.

        The last game of the regular season ought to be the culminating, most delicious game of the season for each team’s fans. The existing pairs (UW-WSU, Or-Or St, Stan-Cal, UCLA-USC, and Az-Az St) absolutely should finish their seasons against each other. Those are bragging rights games, which is why they belong on the last Saturday of the season. But there is only one team that Utah fans could feel is the ultimate opponent on its schedule: BYU.

        There is no rule etched in stone requiring teams to end their seasons against conference opponents. FSU always finishes the regular season against Florida despite being from different leagues. Same goes for Georgia-Georgia Tech and South Carolina-Clemson.

        Of course, Colorado and Utah could, over time, develop a solid rivalry, but it should be early in the season. (Think Florida-Tennessee during the 90’s when the tone of the SEC East race was determined immediately.)

        Colorado-Utah won’t work the way that Nebraska-Iowa will. Unlike Utah, Iowa has been in need of a permanent, season-ending opponent; the Wisconsin and Minnesota games have had changing dates every few years. In the Big Ten case, both schools are welcoming each other as end-of-year opponents. In the Pac-12, playing Colorado at the end of the year, instead of BYU, would be anti-climactic for Utah fans, and given the fact that Colorado has chosen not to play Utah for over 40 years, the game probably won’t be considered can’t-miss for Buffs fans, either.


        1. @Michael in Indy – Another thing to think about is how the Pac-12 schedule will affect Notre Dame. Remember that ND has alternated playing at USC and Stanford every Thanksgiving weekend. That worked before since the Pac-10 could schedule the USC-UCLA or Cal-Stanford game on the first weekend in December. However, that option won’t exist anymore since the Pac-12 will have the championship game on that weekend now. How does that get resolved?


          1. cutter

            That could be a real problem for Notre Dame. ND did release their 2011 and 2012 schedules and they include Stanford (11/26/11 and 10/13/12) and USC (10/22/11 and 11/24/12). Arizona State is scheduled to play Notre Dame in Dallas on 10/5/13–two weeks after that ND hosts USC.

            The interesting scheduling questions are the ones that take place after 2013 between Notre Dame and the Pac 12 schools. Will those programs (outside USC) be willing to play ND in the latter two months of the season? Would they be willing to shoe horn in a game with ND in the midst of conference play now that the divisional format has been set up and there’s a potential conference championship game the first Saturday of December? Would Stanford, for example, have opted to play ND at the tail end of 2011 if a conference championship game was already in place?

            It will be interesing to see how the conference sets up the schedules and what the individual programs do with their open weeks in terms of scheduling.

            What will also be intersting to see is what happens to Notre Dame’s scheduling as more conferences adopt a nine-game confernce schedule. The Pac 12 and Big Ten could have both nine-game confernce schedules and a confernce championship game. The Big XII will have the nine conference games (and the recent UT-ND deal has all those games in August or September) and I assume the Mountain West will do the same. SEC teams rarely play major non-conference games late in the season outside of traditional rivals/relationships (Georgia-Georgia Tech, Florida-Florida State), so that shuts out ND. The ACC might be willing as attested to the recent Miami-FL/ND series deal (which is high profile) and Notre Dame’s home and home with Wake Forest (something of a yawner) and the one time game with Maryand in Fedex Field in late November 2011 (also something of a yawner–will this be like the ND-Washington State game in San Antonio?).

            Notre Dame may be stuck trying to find major opponents to play them late in the season. I’m sure the folks in South Bend were happy that BYU went independent. Of course, there’s also the relationship with the Big East as it now stands. But I can see the potential where ND is going to have some problems cobbling together schedules in the future.


          2. Cliff's Notes


            It might limit ND, but I don’t really think they will have a problem filling their schedule.

            ND won’t have a problem with their first 6 weeks of the season, and Navy is still locked in.

            I’d be surprised if USC and Stanford make a change. But for the sake of argument, let’s assume they do decide that they won’t play ND past week six.

            So that leaves roughly 5 dates to fill.

            IF ND is really backed into a corner, then BYU and Army probably become no-brainers for an extended annual series.

            That leaves three games left to fill in the last half of the season.

            I don’t see a problem getting three games a year [in October/November] out of the Big East (Pitt, Syracuse, BC], the Big IIX [Texas], and Air Force. The MWC or MAC would jump if necessary. And don’t discount the ACC. Finally, I could see some of the private schools interested. Northwestern, Vandy, Rice, Wake Forest, Duke… these schools might be a logical opponent for ND late in the season, too.

            It will be interesting to see what ND chooses, but I don’t think it’s anything to worry about.


          3. m (Ag)

            Cutter, 1 note:

            Since 3 SEC schools have year-end rivalries with 3 ACC schools, that leaves 1 additional school in each conference with an open date at the end of the year. Looking at recent schedules, those schools are Vanderbilt and Wake Forest, and they often play each other to avoid a bye.

            If they had to, Notre Dame could schedule one of them as a year end rival, but they would likely take a bye rather than set up a home-away schedule with a traditionally low program.


          4. cutter

            In response to Cliff Notes and m(Ag), I want to clarify my thoughts a bit.

            I don’t think Notre Dame won’t be able to fill in a twelve-game schedule. As you point out, there are Big East teams readily available and as this year shows, Western Michigan was happy to play ND late in the season.

            I should have qualified my questions by asking how many major programs or quality opponents from the BCS conferences would be willing to play Notre Dame late in the season (outside of USC).

            I don’t believe the Stanford-ND series extends beyond 2012, so discussion about that series is a moot point. The same, I think, goes with the Boston College (ACC, not Big East).

            USC-ND are played in November (in LA) and October (in South Bend). Does USC tell ND, uh, sorry, but we have a potential conference championship game during the first week of December, so we’ll only play you in October going forward? Or does USC continue to play ND at year’s end like Florida does with Florida State? My guess is that relationship doesn’t change much because its been in place since the mid-1920s.

            Texas and Notre Dame have scheduled six games, but you’ll note that all of them are in August or September and that four of the six are season openers. UT isn’t going to do ND any favors by playing them late in the season.

            Oklahoma has a home-and-home with ND with the September game in South Bend and the October game in Norman. My guess is that OU was willing to play ND in the midst of the conference schedule only if it was a home game–the game in South Bend was put early in the season.

            Miami-FL seems to be the exception to this–they have dates with ND in different parts of the schedule and they’re willing to play in Chicago–a neutral site game. But is this the norm or the exception of the rule?

            On a side note, in 2015/6, Notre Dame would be scheduled to open with Texas and then play Michigan the following week. I have a strong feeling there will be a break in the UM-ND series in those two seasons.

            The way Notre Dame’s schedule is set right now is that the Irish play three Big Ten teams in September (usually Michigan, Michigan State and Purdue) and occasionally with a season opening warm up (last year against Nevada would be an example).

            Then the Irish have to fill in the seven other dates with USC and USNA as annual opponents. My question is who do the fill in the rest of the schedule. I do agree that the Big East and BYU will provide 3 or 4 games a year.

            But will other Pac 12 teams (outside USC) fill in the other dates? Will a program from the 10-team/9 conference game MWC or Big XII program play ND in October or November?

            My guess is yes, but would these be quality programs? And if they aren’t quality teams and ND is competing in the marketplace for television viewership, than what would be NBC’s reaction? I can imagine they’re real happy right now with programs WMU or Tulsa or Army on the schedule this year. One of the strengths of the conferences is that their games against major opponents are “built in” late in the season, get heavily promoted and are on ESPN or ABC. If ND isn’t playing exceptionally well, then they’re at a real competitive disadvantage in that set up.

            ND AD Jack Swarbrick does have his work cut out for him and I have to give him some credit to date–that would include the deal with Miami-FL. If he continues to work late season deal with major programs, then the problem is solved.

            But with the nature of the conferences changing in their numbers, their willingness to play nine conference games and the increase in conference with conference championship games, that might prove to be difficult going forward.


          5. m (Ag)


            If the Pac 12 wanted to, it would be easy for them to set aside a weekend late in the season for USC to play Notre Dame and Utah to play BYU. Since both teams are in the same division, it wouldn’t provide any scheduling difficulties. Of course, the Pac 12 might not want to.

            Right now the Big 12 doesn’t have any games scheduled for the last week of the year in future seasons. It’s possible that a school will play ND the last week of the season. It’s also possible that they’d move a Big 12 game to the last week of the season, leaving a weekend open late in the year to play ND. Of course, the Big 12 could collapse at any time.


          6. Richard

            I’m not sure too many people care if ND has to play all their BCS conference opponents early in the season and have to fill up the last 5-6 games with BYU, Navy, ACC teams (though I’m quite certain USC & Stanford would still play ND late, even if not on the final week), and whatever MWC, WAC, MAC, and CUSA teams are willing to come to South Bend in November. NBC is probably more worried about ND looking like it will permanently become a 6-6 team than about the ordering of it’s main attractions. In fact, the way ND is performing now, it probably is better for ND to face schools like Texas and Michigan early in the season, when Domers still have hope and the matchups can be hyped up than late in the season after they’ve lost to Navy and are 4-4.


        2. Richard

          Who does Colorado get stuck playing if Utah ends their season with BYU? I don’t think they particularly relish elevating little brother Colorado State to the level of a season-ending rivalry game.


          1. @Richard – I doubt they’ll screw Colorado like that. At the end of the day, they’ll give Utah its schedule and say “tough” if they complain. The Pac-12’s interest will be solidifying itself as the conference for the Rocky Mountain region, which means it really doesn’t want to help BYU that much.

            The Utah-BYU game can still be a late season game – I just think that the Pac-12 is going to want the Utah-Colorado game to be the season-ender for both teams. Note that USC plays ND and USC back-to-back every other year, so it’s not unprecedented to have consecutive rivalry games at the end of the season.


          2. Jacob

            Frank – a minor point, but Stanford has on occasion played Notre Dame as their final game during Thanksgiving weekend (for example, in 2009 and 2005), with Cal the week prior. It’s also been scheduled the way you described (2007), so I don’t know that it’s a big scheduling impediment.

            To me, the biggest issue in Stanford’s scheduling has always been home games played before students are in session, as Stanford is on the quarter (well, trimester) system and classes don’t typically begin until late September.


          3. Michael in Indy

            @Richard: Colorado has had a season-ending rivalry game only since 1996, against Nebraska. Prior to then, Nebraska always played OU while CU bounced around with games against K-State, Okie State, and Iowa State for its season finale. So it’s not as though Colorado has a long history of dramatic, season-ending rivalry games in the first place.

            @Frank: The Pac-12’s status as the premier conference of the Rockies is secure whether Colorado and Utah play September 1 or November 30, especially with BYU now gone from the Mountain West.

            My answer to the Notre Dame-Pac-12 scheduling issues:

            According to Notre Dame’s recently-released schedules for 2011 and 2012, they’ll continue to close at Stanford in odd years and at USC in even years. Those games will be Thanksgiving weekend.

            That means Cal-Stanford will be before Thanksgiving in odd years, and USC-UCLA will be before Thanksgiving in even years. In turn, Cal will need an opponent after Thanksgiving in odd years, as will UCLA in even years.

            If Utah plays BYU Thanksgiving weekend every year, Colorado will be in need an opponent that weekend every year. So the Buffs could close with UCLA in even years (anticlimactic, but someone will have to play UCLA those years since USC is playing ND). Cal will be scheduled against Colorado two years on, two years off, so every other odd year, Cal could play Colorado to close the season. For odd years when Colorado’s not on the schedule, Cal and Colorado would have to have non-conference games, but the good news is that the teams left behind in the WAC desperately need games at any time of the season.


        3. Gumbynuts

          Utah has already announced that the BYU game for 2011 & 2012 will be played in September. I believe the Utah AD mentioned that the Pac-10 is implementing a policy where OOC games will be played in September, likely with an exception for USC/Stanford and Notre Dame.


  2. The funny thing about the PAC 10 schools is just how stable they seem now that they’ve gone through this process. With the SEC, Big Ten, and now PAC 12 schools coming to agreement and sharing revenues equally (at some point) it just shows how far behind Texas and the Nine Dwarves are falling from an organization level.


    1. Gopher86

      We’ll see. I’m not saying the Big 12 will be around long, but the fact that it has unequal revenue might be an attraction for certain teams.


    2. Richard

      I think the only thing keeping the Pac12 stable is their vast distance to any other major conference. They split 7-5 on the divisional alignment, so not everyone’s happy, and the losers in the recent negotiations are also the most powerful members (the Cali schools; specifically, the SoCal schools).

      I think the BigTen, SEC, and ACC are extremely stable because there are multiple centers of power with many different schools adding value in football, basketball, or academics, making equal revenue sharing work, but you can’t say the same about the rest.


      1. Well, the reality is that if USC wanted to play things in the PAC 12 Texas-style, they could.

        USC, despite the recent banter from the AD, probably sees more value in maintaining some balance in their conference, rather than acting like their location-based advantage trumps all.

        Speaking from a revenue and fan-base point of view, Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, and maybe FSU could probably start the same crap in their respective conferences…but they choose not to.

        Why? Because there is a significant risk with the way Notre Dame and Texas are handling their independence/conference affiliations. There aren’t many NBC/ND single-school contracts to go around.


        1. Richard

          It doesn’t make sense for any SEC or BigTen school to act like Texas because being part of a collective is as or more lucrative than acting selfishly. For Michigan & OSU, PSU & Nebraska add value in football, Indiana adds value in basketball, Northwestern adds value in academics, and Wisconsin & MSU are solidly upper-middle or even upper class in brand name/athletic revenue as well. For the SEC, football trumps all, but LSU, Georgia, & Tennessee clearly add value there (while Mississippi adds recruiting grounds). In such a setup, why would you piss off your partners? Same goes for the ACC. Sure, FSU (and Miami) are the dominant brands in football in that conference, but they’re not among the biggest revenue generators in the conference, because basketball brings in almost as much money to the ACC, and the top basketball brands are in the core of the old ACC (as is the sheen of academic prestige). Plus, for all 3 of these conferences, the viewers are distributed somewhat evenly (no state can claim to have the majority of the TV viewers in that conference). For all these schools, it’s profitable to have balance (though note that the SEC isn’t completely balanced; each school can still sell it’s non-ESPN games locally)

          Now how does the situation of USC in the Pac12 compare? They’d definitely want to have the other 3 Cali schools with them, but outside of Cali, what do the other 8 schools contribute? Washington contributes an academic brand. Oregon has big donor money. What else do they have? The top academic brands are the 4 Cali schools + Washington. The only good recruiting grounds are in Cali. The only national football brand is in Cali (USC), and the only national basketball brand is in Cali (UCLA). To top it off, the majority of the population in the Pac12 footprint are in Cali. To me, the Pac12 is just as unstable as the Big12, where, other than KU in basketball, all the value in football, money, population, and academics resides in Texas or Texas-satellite OU. The only thing making it more stable than the Big12 is the vast distance the Cali schools would have to ship their non-revenue teams if they joined any other conference.


          1. Michael in Indy

            It’s hard to say the Pac12 is as unstable as the Big 12 when it was the conference expanding and the Big 12 almost collapsed.

            You do make some good points, though, about the imbalance in academics, brand names, athletics, and population towards California. Still, the Pac-12 has different dynamics. Seattle, Portland, Phoenix, Denver, and Salt Lake City add up to a much bigger counter-punch to the California market than St. Louis, Kansas City, Oklahoma City, and Des Moines do to Texas.

            More significantly, the Pac-12 schools, especially the ones in the Pacific states, have a long history of working together cooperatively in spite of the California schools’ advantages. Big 12 schools do not have any track record of mutual interests, other than merely ensuring each other a conference home. Plus, Texas really just feels like a different part of America than Iowa, Missouri, or Kansas. That’s probably why the Big 8 was separate from the Southwest Conference in the first place. Contrast that with the individualism you find in Colorado fits right in with the other Pac-12 states.


          2. @Michael in Indy – I think you’re right about that. The more appropriate way of looking at it is that the Pac-12 is in a bind. Its location in the Pacific and Mountain time zones is what limits the conference’s ability to maximize its national TV exposure. On the flip side, that geographic location insulates the conference from other invaders. The Big 12 and Big East could conceivably be poached by any or all of the Big Ten, SEC or ACC, but even the most market-aggressive people don’t think any of them would try to go all the way to the West Coast. Unless the Pac-12 can resurrect the Pac-16 plan with Texas down the road, it’s locked in since there aren’t any other schools that meet their requirements in their region.


          3. bullet

            I don’t know that they have a long history of working together. Depends on your definition of long. The 4 CA schools and UW left the others behind in the late 50s and only gradually added WSU and the Oregon schools back. They never let Idaho back in.


      2. Jay

        How do you figure the SoCal schools were losers here? If anything, they’re the only schools that gave up nothing to make this deal come together.

        The conference revenue is likely to be shared equally between the 12 programs, yes, but if it falls below a certain threshold UCLA and USC are guaranteed a bigger cut.

        The Bruins and Trojans were granted a special provision that allows them to play against Cal and Stanford every season, which in turn means the four schools in the Northwest will only get a trip to Southern California once every two season.

        USC and UCLA were placed in the less competitive division, with a bad Colorado program, historically inconsistent Arizona schools and former non-AQ Utah – which may need to adjust to playing in a power conference.

        Those two SoCal schools basically got everything they wanted while every other program had to give at least something up.


        1. m (Ag)

          Money is the biggest thing, and the SoCal schools lost the most in that regard.

          If the Pac12 network comes through, the Pac 12 schools will be on TV every week in California. Being on TV every week is far more exciting for a high school kid than getting an extra road trip to LA every other year.


  3. Jay

    That’s a whole lot of writing about what I found to be an incredibly boring show….

    Anyway, how about those Pac-12 divisions? The Northwest schools got absolutely SCrewed in my opinion. Not only did they get placed in what will surely be the most difficult division over the first several seasons of the new alignment (and possibly for good), they lost their annual trip to Southern California and should take a recruiting hit and they won’t even get paid off financially to take such a raw deal!

    I can’t believe the league deemed it necessary to protect ALL of the intra-California games. Does anyone really care so much about Stanford-UCLA or Cal-SC that they couldn’t go a season without it?

    If I were in charge at UO, OSU, UW and WSU, I’d petitition to have the title game played in Southern California every season, at least. That way they’d at least have a chance to play their way into a bit more SoCal exposure every season. Really, going to Berkeley or Stanford every year isn’t much of a compromise when your recruiting has been built on LA-area high school players for decades.


    1. bullet

      The NW schools were the ones who wanted that alignment. They also wanted equal revenue sharing. They couldn’t get absolutely everything they wanted.

      I thought they would prefer N/S with CU/UT in the north so they could get a guaranteed game vs. one of the LA schools or at least 4 years out of 6 with both LA schools. Now they get only 3 out of 6 vs. each LA school. Apparently simply being in CA was more important than being in LA.


      1. StvInIL

        For the NW schools, travel considerations will be simplified anyway. I don’t think they stop getting California kids. The conference is the destination for the left coasters. If USC won’t take you, maybe Oregon State will. Besides, it may be a good thing that these nearby schools intensify their rivalries.
        And the year ending goal and destination remain the same, the Rose Bowl.
        I don’t know if they have any leverage over the divisions anyway.


      2. Michael in Indy

        Anyone else notice that Salt Lake City and Boulder are both NORTH of Berkeley and Palo Alto?

        Am I am complete dork for taking the time to point this out?


        1. bullet

          Vandy is west of Auburn.

          I saw a map on one of the articles. They could have just as easily called it east/west. Only WSU is east of the LA schools.

          Interesting that they are sharing ALL media revenues, even internet. Don’t know if the B10 goes that far.


          1. Michael in Indy


            Re: “Interesting that they are sharing ALL media revenues, even internet. Don’t know if the B10 goes that far.”

            You’re right about that.

            I do know this: Larry Scott must be one extremely persuasive dude. This was a league more resistant to change than any other for decades. Under Scott, in just one year, they’ve gone from very uneven distribution to completely even distribution for all media income. They’ve nearly grown by six members. They’ve chosen to embrace a program from the “outside” in Utah. They’ve done the previously unthinkable by splitting into divisions.

            That guy is something else!


          2. jj

            Bullet –

            They also developed a bitchin logo. I think they are in great shape going forward.

            I wish there could be one other quality west coast conference. There has to be a way to make it happen.


          3. Jay

            jj: I think there’d need to be different schools in existence to create another big-time Western conference. If the Mountain West hadn’t lost the BYU, Utah (and possibly even TCU) as soon as Boise, Nevada and Fresno moved in, maybe…. But that still would be quite a step down.


        2. Jay

          They had to give the Northwest schools at least some foothold in California. If Oregon, OSU, Washington, WSU, Utah and Colorado composed one division, those teams would be at a horrible competitive disadvantage a decade from now (possibly sooner).


    2. Richard

      Jay: The NW schools didn’t get screwed financially. Equal revenue sharing means they (except for Washington) got more than they contribute.


    1. Richard

      Evidently, the Cali schools managed to pull one of the ‘Zona schools over to their side. They lost the vote because they weren’t able to pull both ‘Zona schools to their side.


  4. Logan

    Jon Hamm is a Mizzou grad. We’re hoping ESPN can land him as the celebrity guest picker for Gameday on Saturday.

    I’m also on the pro-Megan side of the debate. And good point about the mystery surrounding her. I think it will allow the writing staff to go any direction next year. Is she the calculating secretary sleeping her way to success like some are saying? Or is she a genuinely good person who is the right partner for Don? Given how many fans think he should have chosen Faye, my guess is that the writers choose the later.


  5. Gopher86

    You have to wonder if the Pac 12 will serve as another example of division realignment killing programs. It happened in the Big 12 when it was formed.

    When the Big 12 was formed, Nebraska, Colorado and Kansas State were exceptional programs. Oklahoma and Texas were hurting, and Okie State, Baylor and Tech weren’t too hot either. Once the North/South divisions were created, it isolated the North from the rich recruiting territories in Texas. Over time, the Southern programs built (or rebuilt) themselves up, while the Northern programs declined and fought for recruiting scraps in Texas.

    It’ll be interesting to see if the same thing happens in the Pac 10. Oregon and Oregon State have decent programs now, but missing out on that LA market every other year is going to hurt their recruiting in time. Colorado, Arizona, and Arizona State are probably going to see their programs get better (see Texas Tech and Oklahoma State).


    1. bullet

      Interesting thought. However, on the B12, TT and Ok St don’t seem to have any advantage on the top players in Texas over the B12N schools. Missouri comes in and does as well. Don’t think I can find it, but there was an article (during the time UNL was talking about leaving) showing how all the B12 schools except CU increased recruiting in Texas after the formation of the conference. The B12 schools (having left SWC and B8) have gotten stronger relative to the P10,B10 and SEC. UNL and KSU dropped after losing legends. CU also lost a long-time coach.

      The B12 definitely helped UT and OU. 6 championship games in 10 years strengthened the perception of south being stronger than the north even more than the reality. That dynamic might impact the P12 by strenghtening Utah and CU. Utah is already good and CU has been good. 2002 when they just missed getting the privilege of getting stomped by Miami in the title game wasn’t that long ago.


      1. Logan

        Prior to the formation of the Big 12, the North schools did not rely on Texas for recruits. If anything, the Big 12 caused the North schools to recruit Texas more than ever. I think Gary Pinkel may have been the first to realize this, he made Texas recruiting a priority from the day he was hired in 2000. Mark Mangino copied this when he was hired a year later and that led to KU’s brief run of success. K-State has always relied on the Kansas JUCO’s, Colorado recruits California more than Texas, and Nebraska has more of a nationwide approach. Iowa State recruits Texas, they just don’t have a ton to offer.

        These numbers are from a year or two ago, but 45% of the Big 12 players are from Texas (including walk-ons). Take out Nebraska and Colorado, and that number rises to 55%. 75% of the players in the South are from Texas, 16% in the North. Here is the breakdown for each North school:

        KU 28/96 – 29%
        MU 28/106 – 26%
        ISU 21/109 – 19%
        UNL 19/152 – 13%
        KSU 13/126 – 10%
        CU 7/119 – 6%


    2. Gopher86

      Sure there are other factors, but being able to tell a recruit ‘your family can see all of your games’ vs. ‘your family can see three of your games’ is a huge advantage. It’s one of the reasons an Oklahoma State has done so well over the past few years.

      Missouri has managed to stay stable over the past few years, so it’s becoming a recognized brand in Texas. They still don’t get the pick of the litter despite being consistently in the top 25.

      All I’m saying is keep an eye on Oregon and Oregon State over the next five years. This shift is going to hurt them.


      1. jj

        I’ll take that wager as to the Ducks. I think the reruiting angle is way overplayed. If you want to get kids, you need good coaches and wins. A warm climate generally helps as well and so does playing big-time OOC games. I really think it’s just that simple, in a way.


        1. jj

          he’re an example, Michigan tries harder to recruit all over the place in both BB and FB. it’s an easy sell, great school, etc. but if they can’t put it together, what is the point of all this effort?

          compare to izzo. he built a national power from kids in his own own backyard. they play a no bs schedule that gets kids all over playing in high stakes games. at this point, the recruits practically just flow in.

          I realize bb is different due to the post season structure, but 118 or so teams are not going to the championship. if a team mans up and plays a big game early, it is basically a “bowl”, particualry those played at neutral sites like jerry world. i’d want to play for a team doing that kind of stuff. that’s how, among other ways, ND keeps rolling along. Mich was smart to schedule Bama at jerry world and vice versa. it will help recruiting.


          1. Jay

            Basketball recruiting is an entirely different story. You only play five guys at a time and get, what, a dozen scholarships or so? That’s how tiny schools and strong academic schools can be so competitive in NCAA hoops. In football, you can’t do it with local high school talent alone unless you’ve got a recruit-rich state like Texas, Florida or California. There aren’t a whole lot of top-tier athletes coming out of Oregon, but the Ducks and Beavers have had at least one high-profile trip to Southern California every season for years. Now they won’t get one at all one out of two seasons.

            At least the Big XII North teams get a game or two in Texas every year. It may not be against the Longhorns or the Aggies, but at least they’re in the state for a cross-divisional matchup with Tech or Baylor.

            Football programs in the Northwest are heavily reliant on Southern California kids, and this will definitely have an effect.


    3. StvInIL

      It will be interesting but unlike other recruiting hubs, there has never been any doubt that California in specific SoCal is the Conference recruiting hub.

      I think if that starts to happen there will be ground for reorganization or conference realignment. There is no doubt at this point that the schools and the conference association is in their own best interest.


    4. Mike

      Colorado is a huge winner in this alignment. One game a year in Arizona and one in So. California. Find a decent coach, and Colorado will be a power again. If you’ve ever been to Boulder, it should not be hard to recruit there.


    5. Richard

      I think Oregon will be fine because that Phil Knight is one rich dude, which means Oregon’s coaches can (and do) fly all over the country to bring in recruits. You do have to worry about the other 3 schools, though. Especially the Washington schools. the Oregon schools are at least somewhat close to NoCal (where Oregon actually has gotten as many or more players than from SoCal the past 2 years).


  6. Cliff's Notes


    I know we’re a few weeks away from Utah-TCU, and Utah has plenty of landmines on their schedule, but I’m just curious about your voting thoughts. If Utah beats TCU, do you move Utah ahead of Boise State?

    Both would be unbeatens from non-AQ conferences, so I think it’s a pretty straightforward argument, as opposed to comparing either of these schools to a BCS team. I believe that Utah would have accomplished more than Boise St at that point, and Utah would absolutely deserve to be ahead of Boise. Your thoughts?


  7. ccrider55

    The AD’s were 7-5 (acording to Haden) in their recomendations regarding N/S makeup, the CEO’s were unanamous. The PAC is stable other than a brief mid 20th century hickup precipitated by a pay for play scandle (sound familiar…). Wiki has a nice timeline graphic down the page a bit.


  8. Jake

    This topic needs more discussion of Christina Hendricks.

    Also, it’s nice to see that at least one pollster thinks TCU deserves to move up after holding opponents to an average of a point a game to start conference play. Where do we go after manhandling Air Force? Nowhere, according to the AP and Coaches voters. Harris actually had the nerve to drop us a spot.

    Also, if ND is looking for a late-season opponent, they should make a call to Fort Worth. I’m sure we could work it out with the MWC or whatever conference TCU is in by then. But it’d have to be a home-and-home; the Frogs aren’t in the business of scheduling one-and-dones anymore.


      1. Jake

        That seems more likely. I’m not sure if the ponies’ pride would allow them to accept a guarantee game, although they might go for it if they think they can take the Irish. But if TCU joins the Big East, maybe we can work something out. Seems like a win-win; TCU gets the national exposure and (hopefully) quality opponent, Notre Dame gets a good game in a heavily hispanic state. TCU’s even broadcast en espanol these days.


  9. Michael in Indy

    I have something for everyone to think about.

    We already know who at least nine of the ten BCS bowl teams are going to be. Six will be champions of the six BCS conferences. A seventh, almost certainly, will be a 10- or 11-win Big Ten team that doesn’t win the league. An eighth will be an 11- or 12-win SEC team. A ninth will be either the TCU-Utah winner or Boise State, whoever finishes higher.

    It gets interesting when you think about who the tenth team would be. Quite possibly, the Pac-10 will have not just one but two or three teams to win 10 games. The Big 12 could have four teams win 10 games (OU, OSU, Neb, Mizzou). And the ACC’s champion could be someone other than an 11-2 Florida State, should the Noles win until the ACC title game. But only one of those teams would get chosen. (I’m assuming that only one non-AQ gets in this year.)

    The worst part about it all? Some barely top 25 Big East team is going to get in over many, many more deserving teams.

    When you also take into account that the bowl games themselves have passed on the Big East champion three times in the past two years, in favor of non-AQ teams, it doesn’t make a lot of sense why the other BCS leagues insist the Big East keep its automatic berth. Doing so, this year especially, is unnecessarily hurting their own leagues.


    1. Michael in Indy

      I find it even stranger that the other five AQ leagues extend AQ status to the Big East when I look at how different BE membership is from all the other leagues.

      The Big 12, Pac-10, ACC, Big Ten, and SEC are made up of old-school, well-established programs. They each have several traditional powers. They each have members who have won national championships in recent history as well as more distant history.

      By contrast, four of the Big East’s programs were total outsiders six years ago: Louisville, Cincy, USF, and UConn. The latter two didn’t even play at the FBS level less than ten years ago. A fifth program, Rutgers, wasn’t regarded any more favorably than Temple until the past few years.

      In other words, only three of the eight Big East programs (Pitt, Syracuse, and WVU) were even considered peers by the typical BCS program from the other five leagues.

      Yet, in spite of poor attendance at bowl games and often poor perfomrance on the field, the league isn’t forced to earn its AQ status in the same way the MWC is.

      I just don’t get it. What’s the motivation for giving unquestioned AQ privileges to this league?


      1. Richard

        Inertia & politics. The powers-that-be are inclined to be conservative. Also, they’d want to have a majority of FBS schools to be in favor of the BCS system (especially the BigTen and now the Pac12, since they have their own networks). So either the BE or MWC will have to get AQ status, and since the MWC isn’t exactly a better revenue generator than the BE, they’d rather not ruffle feathers by taking away the BE’s autobid (which doesn’t cost them a lot of money).


        1. @Richard – I think the political point is a good one. The Big East has the only BCS schools in the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut, which happen to be where the national media (who is already frothing for a playoff) is based. Rutgers got up to #2 in the BCS rankings back in 2006 – if you thought the cries for Boise State and TCU are strong now, just imagine the howling you would’ve heard from the media (and even worse, East Coast politicians) if the BE didn’t have an auto-bid then. Whether it’s fair or not, those population bases are more important to the powers-that-be than Idaho and Wyoming, even if actual support for BE football is fairly tepid in the region compared to other markets. At the same time, the BE has Notre Dame’s full support (which means something, whether we like it or not).


          1. Let’s not all forget that in 2009, Cincinnatti was a “second” away from playing for the National Title. Yes, they’re having a bad year, and I’m not a fan of the Weak BEast, but, they are AQ.

            That’s the way it is…


      2. M

        The Big East is a BCS conference because of one school: Miami. They were a member of the Big East and a college football superpower when the BCS was first drawn up (1998). Of course, right now they aren’t either of those things.


  10. bullet

    2 points.

    Most importantly, much to my surprise, the BE has earned it on the field. When you look at ooc record and computer rankings, the post Hurricane BE has done quite well (until this year).

    Secondly, if the BE was out, a vast highly populated section of the country would be out of the BCS. That isn’t good politically and it isn’t good financially for college football.


    1. Michael in Indy

      I think the first point was valid between ’05 and ’09, but in ’04 the league was really bad. Pitt was the league champ and had 3 losses. Now the league is just atrocious.

      As for the Big East covering a highly populated part of the country, that’s only partly accurate. Louisville, Cincinnati, and Pitt are second fiddle in their own states, with Cincy being a very distant second. USF is the #4 team of interest in Florida–arguably lower than that if you take into account the state’s level of interest in other SEC teams like UGA and Alabama. West Virginia is, by no means, heavily populated.

      Rutgers, Syracuse, and UConn are, indeed, near highly populated areas, but how much do they really carry their regions, anyway? Notre Dame, Penn State, and other Big Ten programs may get better ratings there than the Big East.


      1. Richard

        The BCS conferences need a majority. Denying those 8 schools an autobid would turn those 8 schools strongly towards being pro-playoffs. If anything, I think the smart move by the power conferences would be co-opting more schools by making the JerryWorld Cotton Bowl a BCS bowl and giving it to the winner of a faceoff between the MWC and CUSA champs. Those 2 leagues could split the 18M in half.


        1. Mountain West, I can see in a BCS Cotton Bowl in Cowboys Stadium; Conference USA, no. If I’m the BCS, I make the MWC a full-fledged conference, leaving an additional at-large slot (which might be a good idea, what with the Big Ten and Pac-12 instituting conference championship games, even as the Big 12 ends its CCG). I don’t believe C-USA has enough talent at the top to warrant an automatic BCS bid.


          1. Michael in Indy


            If the MWC and Cotton Bowl are brought into the fold, wouldn’t the Cotton make more sense tied into the Big 12 and the Fiesta tied into the MWC?

            Geographically, it would work better for everyone in both leagues, besides TCU. More importantly, the Texas schools are much more accustomed to having their season goal as the Cotton Bowl than the Fiesta, and they’ve collectively made that game just once since the beginning of the BCS, anyway.

            The Big 12’s other six schools would probably be on board with a Cotton tie-in, too. Their only appearances in the BCS era of the Fiesta Bowl have resulted in an 0-2 record for OU and an 0-1 record for K-State. Their official connection to the Fiesta Bowl dates only to 1996; historically, they were focused on getting to the Orange Bowl. More importantly, getting a high-profile trip into the recruit-rich Dallas area would benefit the non-Texas schools more than the Fiesta would.

            All this is speculation, though. The odds are heavily stacked against the MWC getting an autobid with its best program historically and its best program since 2004 both leaving. But if the Cotton Bowl isn’t brought in, with a stadium like that in a huge metropolitan area like Dallas, then the BCS leagues completely lack common business sense.


          2. @Michael in Indy – I think the Cotton Bowl’s only chance to rise up to BCS status is if a plus-one system is implemented, where there would be 5 BCS bowls (or 10 BCS participants, just as there are now) and then the national championship matchup would be determined after those games are played. It will be difficult to justify slapping a BCS label on another bowl under the current system – we’ve already seen a lot of weaker/less-sexy BCS matchups get killed in the TV ratings and adding yet another one would dilute it even further. Case in point: the Capital One Bowl (which usually features the 3rd place teams from the Big Ten and SEC) has beaten at least one BCS bowl in the TV ratings in each of the last 3 years.


        2. Ohio1317

          I think a majority is slightly overrated as the smaller conferences aren’t going to form a playoff without the power teams. It does help perception wise though so the big east still does have the advantage I guess.

          I doubt the cotton bowl becomes a bcd bowl unless there is a plus one. Games are already too diluted with 10 compared to 8.


  11. Alan from Baton Rouge

    The BCS ranking according to conference affiliation:

    SEC (6): #1 Auburn, #7 Alabama, #12 LSU, #19 Arkansas, #20 South Carolina, and #21 Mississippi State.

    Big XII (5): #6 Mizzou, #9 Oklahoma, #14 Nebraska, #17 Oklahoma State, and #25 Baylor.

    Big Ten (4): #5 Michigan State, #10 Wisconsin, #11 Ohio State, and #18 Iowa.

    Pac-10 (4*): #2 Oregon, #13 Stanford, #15 Arizona, and #24 in the AP – USC.

    ACC (3): #16 Florida State, #22 Miami, and #23 Virginia Tech.

    WAC (2): #3 Boise State and #24 Nevada.

    MWC (2): #4 TCU and #8 Utah.

    Big East, C-USA, MAC, and Sunbelt are not represented in the BCS Standings.

    Looking ahead to week #9, there are only three games with ranked opponents:

    #2 Oregon at #24 (in the AP) USC.

    #5 Michigan State at #18 Iowa.

    #6 Missouri at #14 Nebraska.

    Other games of interest include:

    #1 Auburn at Ole Miss (3-4)

    #8 Utah at Air Force (5-3)

    #13 Stanford at Washington (3-4)

    #15 Arizona at UCLA (3-4)

    #16 Florida State at NC State (5-2) on Thursday 10/28

    #17 Oklahoma State at Kansas State (5-2)

    #21 Mississippi State v. Kentucky (4-4)

    #22 Miami at Virginia (3-4)

    #25 Baylor at Texas (4-3).

    My LSU Tigers, along with Alabama, Wisconsin, and Virginia Tech have open dates. Alabama at LSU on November 6.

    I attended the LSU game at Auburn this weekend. Cam Newton is the best college football player I have personally seen. That includes Heisman winners Bo Jackson, Tim Brown, Charlie Ward, Danny Wuerffel, Jason White, Tim Tebow, and Mark Ingram, as well as Emmitt Smith and Dion Sanders.


    1. @Alan from Baton Rouge – Wow! Cam Newton looks incredible, but even better than Bo? I spent my entire childhood (1st grade through college) watching and idolizing Michael Jordan firsthand, and I’d put Bo right next to MJ as the best athlete I’ve seen in any sport (much less than just football).


  12. Alan from Baton Rouge

    Bo was awesome in college, but I think his legend grew as a professional two-sport player. The All-Star game HR and steam-rolling Brian Bosworth out of the NFL, along with those great NIKE ads certainly contributed. Bo Jackson was probably the greatest football or baseball athlete I’ve ever personally seen. I’ve seen LeBron a few times and did catch MJ at the end (as a Wizard though).

    But Cam Newton is a workhorse. As a QB, he doesn’t get to sit out plays after a long run like so many RBs. He got stronger as the game went on. He’s also the leading rusher in the SEC. His passing/rushing stats are unbelievable.

    Passing: 90 of 138, 13 TDs, 5 INTs, 172.08 efficiency, 65.2 percent completions, 1,364 yards (170.5 ypg)

    Rushing: 157 attempts, 1,077 yards, 6.9 yards per carry, 134.6 yards per game, 14 TDs

    Physically, he’s a monster freak at 6-6 and 250, and runs a 4.5 40. LSU only had 3 defensive starters that weighed more than Cam – the DTs (280 & 285) and one DE (255).

    Newton also appears to be a team-inspiring leader that wills otherwise above-average-but-not-great players to play above their heads.

    I’m a believer. If you can believe it, the TV highlights do not do Newton justice.


    1. Michael in Indy

      Two other great two sport athletes: Deion Sanders and Charlie Ward.

      Deion was outstanding at stealing bases in MLB. He hit .533 one year in the World Series. Of course, in the NFL, he was “Mr. Offense-Defense” and he’ll be called up to Canton, in all likelihood, next year.

      Charlie Ward won the Heisman Trophy and the national title in college football, led FSU to the Elite Eight in college basketball, and started for several years for the New York Knicks.

      (Admittedly, I’m an FSU homer, but I’ve always been impressed that one school produced two very good two-sport athletes, especially within four years of each other.)


      1. @Michael in Indy – Dave Winfield was certainly a physical beast back in college to be drafted by the NFL, MLB AND NBA. That’s just unreal.

        Also a guy that could very well have been a top tier dual-athlete if he wanted to be: Allen Iverson. If he had chosen to play football in college, he would’ve been the top QB recruit in the country out of his high school class as he was, by several accounts that I’ve seen, the best HS football player in Virginia history.

        Watching Julius Peppers is one of the few bright spots of watching the Bears this year – you can see where the basketball background has really made him virtually unstoppable in football for a guy his size.


      2. Richard

        However, Bo was actually good in his 2 sports at the highest level (before being cut down by injury). Deion was a great cornerback but mediocre in baseball for all but one year while Ward never competed in the NFL and was mostly a backup during his NBA career.


        1. @Richard – Yes, Bo was unbelievable with his level of play in both football and baseball. Being an All-Star/All-Pro in 2 different sports is probably something we’ll never see again, especially with kids becoming more specialized in sports than ever. It’s really a shame how his career was derailed when he was still young, although he did have a few great moments with the White Sox after coming back from his hip surgery.


          1. Richard

            True, and another reason (IMHO) is because pro football is more violent than even 20 years ago (and is more career-threatening than it’s ever been). Neither Winfield (who was a stud college pitcher) or Iverson probably would have been All-Stars over 10 times in the sports they are known for if they had also tried to play pro football as well.


          2. bullet

            I’m wondering if the players are getting too big, strong and fast. It impacts college as well. The human knee was not designed to be hit by a 350 man running a 4.5 40.

            There were some two-way football players who were outstanding on offense and defense. Not that I can see it happening in colleges without some dramatic financial situation or injury situation, but having to play two ways would cut down on the size of players. You can’t carry 350 lbs. for 60 minutes.


          3. Richard

            Not sure even that would do it. Maybe if you limit substitutions like they do in soccer?

            Rugby doesn’t have this problem because
            1. those guys have to run for 80 minutes with limited rest (only limited substitutions like in soccer).
            2. no protective gear means you can’t go at full speed in to a tackle (without risking serious injury to yourself).
            3. tackling above the head is no allowed (I believe only arm tackles are allowed, so you can’t trip up a ballcarrier like you can in football).
            4. blocking’s not allowed.

            Of course, the last 2 won’t fly in American football.


          4. bullet

            Theoretically, you could do it either way. Limit it like soccer where the player has to stay out, or limit substituion to 2 or 3 players per play.


          5. ccrider55

            Basically that was the way it was until the early sixties. Even earlier there was a no return if replaced. Guys that were nocked silly were drug off to the side til they recovered(originating the dead man rule where if you were lieing down at the snap you had to be on your back so the defense could judge your alertness and keep you from suddenly rising and sprinting in the open). That was replaced with first half subed outs could return for the second, evolving to limited number of subs per play, and since the sixties you can sub as many as you like on every play.

            Stanfords starting fullback is also their starting inside linebacker. A couple weeks ago I saw where he had been over 100 plays per game avg.


        2. Michael in Indy

          I’m just impressed by people who are talented at multiple sports, whether they’re nationally-known or not.

          A good friend of mine when I was in high school finished second in the state in cross country, earned a baseball scholarship at a D-1 school, graduated third in our class (out of 244), and was as down-to-earth of a guy as you’d ever meet. Sure, he wasn’t a Bo Jackson or Deion Sanders, but how many guys do you meet with that many abilities, especially without being cocky?


          1. Alan from Baton Rouge

            LSU’s only Heisman winner, HB & LB Billy Cannon, was the 1958 SEC champion in the 100 meters, also he also placed in the shot put.

            Cannon was also the first pick in the 1960 NFL & AFL drafts.


          2. bullet

            Bobby Layne ’44-’47, the only really outstanding QB Texas produced prior to Vince (15 years in NFL), was outstanding on defense as well as top 10 in the Heisman voting 2 separate years. He also threw 2 no-hitters in baseball.

            Peter Gardere was starting UT QB for 4 years in the late 80s and early 90s and an outstanding outfielder for the baseball team. He has the distinction of being the only QB to win 4 straight in the Texas/OU series. In a baseball game vs. OU his senior year, the OU fans were needling him. He just raised his hand and held up 4 fingers.


    2. PSUGuy

      I’ve actually caught a few of his games…he’s a great player no doubt, but I just can’t buy the hype.

      IMO, he’s another Tebow. A freak who is able to dominate his level of competition because of raw physical abilities and the limitations of the players on the other side of him.

      Then again, I said the first game I saw him he was a better passer than Tebow so maybe he actually has a shot to play on Sunday (they way I judge the talent of a player).

      PS – Just so I don’t seem like a hater, I actually like him as a player, I just see him as another prime example of the direction college football has gone in the past decade or so in that a team finds one or two players and exploits the way the game is played now-a-days to turn that player into an “unstoppable force” (see pretty much all of RichRod’s teams).

      I mean you’re looking at an Auburn team that’s given up 30+ points many times this season (and even when they didn’t they tended to give up 20+) and yet they are still high in the BCS hunt because this guy is such a beast. I don’t know, I guess I just wonder where the “team” is in that type of play.


      1. m (Ag)

        With the wildcat formation, we’ve seen the NFL experimenting with having a ‘QB’ who can run the ball. It’s mostly fallen out of favor now, as the defenses simply don’t have to respect the pass from the guys taking the snaps.

        I think we’ll see an NFL team in the next 5 years feature running QBs. The key, I think, will be getting 2 or 3 such QBs and rotating them like running backs. Otherwise, they’d get hurt too quickly over a long season.

        NFL teams today acknowledge they need to rotate RBs frequently to keep one from getting too many hits on running plays, and there are many QBs who get hurt passing. If a player tries to do both he’ll need to get frequent breaks to keep fresh.

        Imagine if a team like Tennessee drafted Newton. They can call on Vince Young to run more often, spelling him regularly with Newton, while still giving Chris Johnson his carries. And either QB would throw the ball more often than anyone does in the wildcat formation. It would put more stress on a defense than the wildcat does, and would wear the tacklers down over the course of a game.


        1. PSUGuy

          There is one very simple reason why I don’t think this will ever happen…Tebow’s first play in the NFL.

          Even as big, strong, and fast as Tebow is he got injured. Fact is even the defensive backs in the NFL know how to hit hard and if a team wants to send its QB into the jaws of the defense willingly the defense is going to injure the QB…and take pleasure in doing it.

          Once the “big, strong, fast” QB that can actually throw the ball gets knocked out (and even then I don’t agree that Tebow can throw the ball) you’re left with the same wildcat type offenses that have gotten completely shut down lately.

          Teams that are one dimensional, whether they be run or pass, lose in the NFL. Its just the name of the game.

          Besides with the amount of zone coverage that gets called in the NFL, I still don’t think a person like Tebow will garner respect as an actual passer (ie actually dropping back to pass). Though maybe I’ll be proven wrong.


        2. StvInIL

          Your NFL plan sound like fun. However I think the thing that keeps them from doing it now full time keeps this from becoming a league wide trend full time. They pay QBs a lot of money and good one is essential to winning a super bowl. You are going see a lot of injured QBs. Effectively ending a lot of seasons early.


      2. bullet

        The best player noone has ever heard of is Randall Cobb of Kentucky. He’s another big player. Originally was a QB. Now he’s a receiver, kick returner and QB in the wildcat. He’s in the top 15 in scoring w/o the support that a lot of the other players have.


  13. jj

    Man, bummer about Robbie Hummel. I’m not sure if there are any purdue fans on here, but here’s hoping they put something good together this year.


    1. Michael in Indy

      No kidding. I find myself rooting more and more for teams whose players stick around for their junior and senior years. It’s nice to see persistence rewarded, as opposed to instant-gratification, freshman-oriented teams who don’t even have to develop leadership skills. Plus, Hummel seemed like a good guy. Major bummer for sure.


      1. PSUGuy

        Interesting thought…

        how would the shape of college football change if 45 of the 85 scholarships a team is allowed HAD to go to juniors/seniors (assuming a 20/25 junior/senior split)?


    2. StvInIL

      Yeah, you have to feel for Hummel. I dont recall what their roster looks like, but I think Purdue will be fine. I think they are in good hands.


  14. Richard

    You know, I was thinking, Boise & Utah could meet in the 2011-12 championship game riding 39 game & 27 game winning streaks, respectively. For that to happen, they’ve both have to go unbeaten this year (obviously), while no AQ conference champion could go unbeaten (other than the SEC champ). One of them would have to meet the SEC champ in the championship game. They’d both have to win their bowl games, and then Boise would have to run the table as part of the MWC while Utah would have to run the table as part of the Pac12 (and win that championship).


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