[Logos in white boxes represent potential additions. The red areas are the current South Division, and the blue areas are the current North Division.]
With BYU's success as an independent team (despite losses to Virginia and Utah, the latter a recent Pac-12 addition), I still think the Cougars would be a good fit for the Pac-12. That's the real rival for Utah--not Colorado, who doesn't have a real rival in the Pac-12.
I know the conference is expressing reluctance to expand, but it wasn’t too long ago that it was talking about 16 teams. Also, it doesn't seem like that long ago that the Pac-10 and Big Ten didn't want to expand, didn't want a championship game, and didn't even want to be involved in the BCS. Both wanted their champion to play in the Rose Bowl and for that to be the end of it. A few conferences seemed happy at 12 but have expanded/are expanding anyway.
I still don’t understand why public “research universities” is such a priority for Pac-12 admission, but people always bring it up. I had never heard much about Utah or Arizona St. (or a couple of the more long-standing Pac-8/10/12 schools) being academic powerhouses. Anyway, I do know BYU is a good school (without so much research maybe), and since they’re unaffiliated and there are two schools in the Rockies unconnected with the rest of the conference, it seems it would fit.
Although I don’t know anything about its standing among other schools academically (promotional materials seem to make their research sound impressive: http://www.depts.ttu.edu/vpr/), Texas Tech would be a good way to expand into the pool of Texas talent since it is in Western Texas, actually not very far to the East (although significantly to the South) of Boulder, Colorado. It was one of those potential additions to the Pac-12 when the Big XII nearly fell into pieces.
How to align the divisions would be a challenge, although I do have an idea of how that could be done. Basically, take the 7 rivalry pairs and put all the more sophisticated schools in one division and the other schools in another. Washington St. and Oregon St. seem a little grittier than Washington and Oregon, the latter two being rivals of one other anyway. Stanford/Cal, USC/UCLA, and BYU/Utah are fairly obvious since the first one of each pair is private and the second public. I don’t think I have to elaborate on why Texas Tech is more rough-around-the-edges than Colorado. Just imagine Boulder, then imagine Lubbock. By reputation, Arizona seems a little more buttoned-down than Arizona St., but I’m not sure that matters either way.
Colorado could have an even better rival in Air Force, although that doesn’t really expand the recruiting base. It may add to fan interest though. The service academies have fans scattered all over. Of course, Air Force also regularly played BYU and Utah when all three were in the Mountain West and WAC. The team right now is pretty bad though. You don't always want to focus on the short term, but I think that would be a meaningful concern. The Pac-12 doesn't want another doormat.
Boise St. doesn’t have much of an academic profile, but that would seem to make for an easy transition. The Broncos already have the talent and interest to compete, and it would be natural to add them to the Pac-12 North and BYU to the Pac-12 South. I still think teams in Colorado and Utah being in the South seems a little off, but my understanding is everyone not in California wants to play in California at least once a year.
Fresno St., UNLV, San Diego St., and San Jose St. could be other possibilities if academics aren’t a priority. UNLV and San Diego are big unexploited media markets for major college football (and in the case of UNLV, there are no major professional sports in the area either). I'm not sure how much San Jose St. and Fresno St. would add, so they're probably least likely, but they make obvious geographical sense. There are half a million people in Fresno and no major sports in the surrounding area, where arguably another half a million people or more live. San Jose St. isn't very far from Stanford, but not everyone is a Stanford person.
Another possibility I thought of was Hawaii, which apparently does have some research credentials, but that program has crashed and burned since June Jones and Colt Brennan left the islands, so it has some of the same problems as Air Force, except I think Air Force has better road fans. Logistics aren’t very favorable for Hawaii either, of course.
Nebraska is a long-shot, but I thought it worth mentioning. I don't think the Big Ten is quite what the Huskers signed up for. If they have to play a 9-game conference schedule and travel to one of the coasts, why not the Pacific Coast instead? With Colorado, at least they would get one of their traditional rivals back. Maybe if they joined along with Texas Tech, that would be the best way of including new teams in a more logical way.
As to how the divisional alignment would work, Utah could just be switched to the North and keep playing Colorado as a permanent opponent (or "protected series", as the Big Ten calls it). Berkeley is about the same distance away as Tempe (Arizona St. is the second-closest Pac-12 South opponent for the Utes) is anyway. Nebraska would also help out the competitive balance in the long-run. I'm sure that would be a really expensive proposition though.
rank/team(first place votes)/total points[last week's rank]
1 Alabama (4) 146 [ 1 ]
2 Florida St. (2) 140 [ 2 ]
3 Oregon 139 [ 3 ]
4 Ohio St. 134 [ 5 ]
5 Stanford 120 [ 7 ]
6 Miami 115 [ 9 ]
7 Baylor 111 [ 6 ]
8 Missouri 106 [ 4 ]
t9 Oklahoma 95 [ 15 ]
t9 Auburn 95 [ 8 ]
11 LSU 84 [ 12 ]
12 Clemson 82 [ 11 ]
13 S Carolina 74 [ 19 ]
14 Texas Tech 62 [ 10 ]
15 N. Illinois 58 [ 20 ]
16 Fresno St. 52 [ 17 ]
17 TX A&M 46 [ 16 ]
t18 UCF 45 [ 18 ]
t18 Michigan 45 [ 24 ]
20 Okie St. 43 [ 21 ]
21 Mich. St. 36 [ ]
22 Louisville 21 [ ]
t23 Texas 18 [ 25 ]
t23 Va. Tech 18 [ 13 ]
t25 UCLA 14 [ 14 ]
t25 Wisconsin 14 [ ]
Others receiving votes: BYU 10 [ ], Houston 10 [ ], Notre Dame 10 [ ]. Arizona St. 3 [ ], Duke 2 [ ], Texas St. 1 [ ], Oregon St. 1 [ 23 ]
No longer receiving votes: Georgia, Nebraska , Florida
Many of you probably know where to find my other blogs (such as more detailed rankings discussion) by now, but if you need specific directions, let me know.
Now if you saw this at the Browns game, then you actually would have had a decent reason for all that wasted time and money...To steal from Ben Folds, Sunday the Browns opened their season at home against the Dolphins in "The Battle of who could care less." Although the Jets and Bucs seemed to have one of those going on too...
Living in Cleveland and being a sports fan sucks...You won't get the normal Cleveland whining from me though..."We're cursed"..."I'll never see a championship"..."Just one before I die"..."Art Modell and LeBron did this to us"..."Why did we trade ROCKY_COLAVITO?"...Fuck that...Grow up!
The Browns suck because of years of bad management...The Expansion Browns were a rush job and everytime a new coach and/or GM come in, let alone owner, the process is started over again, because they all want to do it their way...Sundays in Cleveland were happier days when the Browns were gone...Clevelanders spent a lot less money on Sundays...Fans loyalty shifted solely to their fantasy players...Now you always have that one dope who;s gotta draft Browns...You go right ahead and draft Weeden and his 3 picks! Nothing like a second year QB who is a project, and he's about to turn 30...Just one of many problems that the Browns put on display Sunday...I will say the defense wasn't half bad...They shutdown the Dolphins ground game...Although that could be because the Dolphins don't have a ground game...
The Browns lost Sunday, and they looked bad doing it...I know Clevelanders hate this local boy for his negative views, but since I gave up on being a loyal Cleveland sports fan, I've been a lot happier...Sunday I watched the whole Browns game...It was the first time I've watched a Browns game from start to finish in 2 years...I just wanted to see the direction this new coaching staff/GM/owner were going in...I wanted to see if there may be any progress...Looks like the same old shit...Maybe I'll see ya in another 2 years....Go Seahawks!
Sadly, Saturday evening sucked for us Notre Dame fans...The (#14) Irish fell to (#17) Michigan 41-30...So much for the Irish Defense being the unit to rely on...Not that the offense was stellar...One Irish TD came on a Stephon Tuitt interception in the end zone...
One point that needs to be made to coach Kelly and his offensive staff...Golson isn't there...Tommy Rees is your guy, but he can't throw on the run...So taking those fucking plays out of the game plan....Or play Hendrix who has a better arm, and can run, and can run and throw at the same time...Rees threw a INT late in the first half that was very costly...He was rolling left and attempted a throw he can't make...This is the shit that gets Rees in trouble...Coach, you want to stop screaming at the kid...Stop trying to get him to do shit he can't do...
I didn't expect the Irish to win this one...After week one, it seemed clear to me that Michigan was a better team...Then Kelly said stupid ass shit about how he didn't think Notre Dame vs. Michigan was that big of a rivalry...WTF! Where the fuck have you been...I've been to 4 ND/Michigan games...Shit is intense...By halftime I'm looking for a Michigan fan to skull fuck! When he said that shit, I just knew it...Brady Hoke was gonna have his guys geared up...And look out Buckeyes...Hoke has got that program turned around...That Big-10 title isn't locked up yet...
There were other fans feeling low Saturday...(#15) Texas got fucking steam rolled by BYU, giving up 550 yards on the ground...The QB ran for 259...Hey Texas, the read option is here to stay...Time to get in some film study and tackling drills!
(#25) USC Trojans showed they don't deserve their ranking, losing at home to Washington State, 10-7...USC only scoring 7 points...Wow that is beautiful! The world's most overrated douchebag coach, Lane Kiffin looked clueless...As usual...He tried both his QB's because he just can't figure out which one sucks less...How many more chances is this dick-bag going to get...He fails and leaves programs in a mess, yet he keeps coming back...I hope USC keeps him for awhile so he can run that program into the ground for a long time...
(#12) Florida fell to Miami 21-16, turning the ball over 5 times...(#16) Oklahoma, like USC, grossly overrated, squeaked past West Virginia 16-7 in an ugly game...(#7) Texas A&M gave up 28 points and 240 rushing yards in their victory over Sam Houston State...Boy oh boy the rest of the SEC are going eat them up....
For the second game in a row, South Carolina star defensive end, Jadeveon Clowney didn't do much to live up to the Heisman hype that has been swirling around him...His (#6) Gamecocks fell to (#11) Georgia 41-30 in what was a must win for the Bulldogs after falling to Clemson last week...
In Beeze news, we're getting a puppy...The talk has gone on for awhile...I fought it for a few years...But the wife, and Molls broke me...We picked out a little fella when friend shad a litter recently...We've named him Finnegan...Finn for short...
His got a little cleft lip, but it gives him some character...He's been healthy, and goes to the Vet this week for another check...And if the Vet gives the okay, we'll get him by the weekend...He's been the most active of the three puppies, and the first to eat solid food...He's little but tough...We went to see him Saturday...
Molls loves the him...Or as she put it..."Him my puppy, Finnegan loves me!"
Mrs. Beeze is all excited to buy stuff for the puppy...I swear to God she's more excited then the kids...That is until the first time he shits in her shoes...
That's it for now...
Have a week...
Even though this could have been the promising first year of a reorganized respectable second-tier conference, the WAC as we used to know it seems pretty much dead. All the football members have left or are leaving apart from Idaho and New Mexico St.
As recently as 1995, the top three WAC teams of this year, Louisiana Tech, Utah St., and San Jose St., all competed in the Big West. Nevada, UNLV, and New Mexico St. were also in that conference, and Boise St. joined (along with Idaho) in 1996.
Which got me thinking… since there won’t be a WAC, why can’t there be a Big West in football again? I can’t think of a good reason. In football, the Big East is doing so much expanding from the area near the Mississippi River all the way to Boise and San Diego, so that can incorporate these teams while the rest of the conference can keep operating as it is already, with some possible quality expansion in other sports.
These were the teams in the WAC in 1995:
San Diego St.
Boise St. and San Diego St. are actually going to be in the Big West in other sports, and Hawaii is already there. I imagine Utah St. and San Jose St. (which appear to be headed to the Mountain West) could be brought back with just the foundation I’ve mentioned so far. BYU left the Mountain West to become independent in football (WCC in other sports, which makes less sense than the Big West would), but no currently-AQ conference has offered them a spot, and they’re naturals to be playing the likes of Boise St. and Utah St., both of which they’ve played this season.
The East-West alliance along the lines of the previously-discussed MWC-CUSA idea didn’t work out because of all the existing obligations (essentially schools could then leave without buyout fees and without paying the conference shares of post-season revenue), but all those problems aren’t here since administratively, it would still really be the Big East.
Louisiana Tech is a definite for the Conference USA, but that’s fine because they were too far to the East for the WAC anyway. The Big West football conference did extend into Arkansas and Louisiana briefly (including Louisiana Tech and UL-Lafayette, then known as the University of Southwestern Louisiana). There is a bit of a central region in the Big East as well that could provide the anticipated mega-conference some flexibility, so they’re not completely out of the question later.
The Big East has already announced plans to include Memphis, Tulane, SMU, and Houston. With the quality Western teams available, I would think Memphis and Tulane would be playing in the true Big East (by which I mean teams that would be in the Big East in other sports and in the Eastern division in football), but SMU and Houston would be good opponents for them as well. If only one of the four goes out West (in the even both Cincinnati and Connecticut find other conferences), then SMU and Houston could still be permanent opponents.
The only teams left from a couple of years ago (to make up the core of the true Big East) will be Connecticut, Cincinnati, and South Florida.
So this is what I’m thinking as far as alignment...
Click here for chart and remainder of blog. I discuss possible bowl ties and talk more about the Mountain West.
Konichiwa fellow You Gabbers!...what the hell happened to the first half of college football season? Half-over already??? You gotta be shittin me! Irish Shu is a bit late with his mid-season review as he made a rare trip to Japan during the last 2 weekends and needed time to settle back in, but now that that’s done I will present my look back at how things have gone thus far for my beloved Fighting Irish of Notre Dame…and I’ll digress here and there as I share a couple pix I took in The land of The Rising Sun along the way, such as this one:
The short version?...Well, they’re undefeated at 7 games with 5 to go. How can I bitch? Well, I still can, but I am pleased with the record, at least. I had predicted they’d be at 2 losses by now but they just keep winning. Their defense is doing most of the work with as strong a front 7 as any team has and a young, but surprisingly-good secondary…but it is working so far. The question is: how much longer can they keep this up? The offense is great at the line, but struggling with consistency behind it. In 5 of the first 7 games the Irish have scored 20 points or less. A BCS-or-better win will only be possible if the O makes some bigger jumps in the last 5 games and starts putting-up more points. They’re working on it, I know.
Looking at it game by game:
NAVY: Considering that Notre Dame was breaking-in a new quarterback, missing 4 players (including 3 starters) due to suspensions, playing against a triple-option football team that has been tough for them to deal with in recent years, and enduring a long trip to Dublin, Ireland, to open against a pesky Navy team at Aviva Stadium where a different kind of football game is played, this opener could not have gone much better. The Fighting Irish eased in Everett Golson to his QB role as he went 12 of 18 for 144 yards and a touchdown. He got help from the big O-line as well as the running back tandem of Theo Riddick and George Atkinson III who combined for over 200 yards and 4 touchdowns as they whipped the undersized Midshipmen 50-10. The defense, of course, dominated. They even got a 77-yard fumble recovery for another score from 300-pound Defensive End Stephon Tuitt for good measure. Good start!
Here’s the Tokyo Dome where I saw my first and only Japanese baseball game:
PURDUE: A lot of buzz was made about the Boilermakers having the strongest D front 7 in the Big 10 going-in to this one. It proved true as the Irish struggled to score much, but still won 20-17 in a game that should not have been that close when one considers the statistical domination the Irish had over the Boilers. So why was it close? Because it was a sloppy game. Golson was sacked 5 times, both teams committed 8 penalties and the Irish D allowed Purdue to go 3-3 on 4th down conversions. The cool thing about this game – besides it being a win – was the Irish revelation of the “relief pitcher” approach. Subbing late for a banged-up Golson who was having trouble gripping the ball towards game’s end, Tommy Rees stepped-in and drove ND to the game winning field goal with 7 seconds left as the Irish survived Purdue’s own 2-headed QB tandem of Caleb Turbush and Robert Marve. Marve sustained yet another ACL injury of which he’s had many.
MICHIGAN STATE: This game was called Notre Dame’s first “real test” on the road against a top-10 opponent that had beaten Boise State in their opener (yes, the Broncos are over rated, but still). Final score was 20-3 Irish. I’d say they passed. The Irish D started to show just how dominating they are as they held Spartan running back Le’Veon Bell to 77 yards…by the way; Bell is one of the best in the Big 10 as he now has 8 touchdowns and nearly 1,000 yards for the season. Mich. State also had not been held to 3 points since facing Nebraska in the 2003 Alamo Bowl. Anyway, the story line to this game was that, just a couple days prior, All American Irish linebacker Manti Te’o lost his grandmother to natural causes and his girlfriend to leukemia. Rather than go home to Hawaii to mourn right away (and I would not have faulted him at all if he had), he stayed with his team, gathered comfort from his teammates, coaches and fans, and played a helluva game as he made 12 tackles (1 for a loss) and broke-up 2 passes in the win…
…More spectacular than the baseball game itself, which was pretty good, was the spectacle that was the Japanese beer girls. They were constantly running up and down the aisles all game long selling their wares while carrying 10-gallon kegs on their backs and smiling all the way through. WHAT STAMINA they have!!! And so pretty to boot! Here’s one of them:
MICHIGAN: Defense prevailed again and the Denard Robinson monkey was shaken from the Irish back as ND prevailed 13-6 in a somewhat bizarre game. Last year, the Irish dominated statistically, but lost. This year, it was the opposite. Michigan led in total yards, first downs, rushing yards and time of possession…and also in turnovers 6 to 2 which was the difference. The Irish D rose to the occasion with relentless pressure on Robinson which resulted in 4 interceptions and a fumble to key the win. The Irish O was not pretty as Golson was benched after 2 first half interceptions. The relief pitcher in Rees did just enough to win and protected the football. The defense did the rest featuring Te’o’s 8 tackles, 2 interceptions and 1 forced fumble. Since then, Michigan has not lost and has quietly crept back into the top 25….
…Here’s another beer girl…if this one were to have gotten on her knee like this in front of me I’d buy whatever she’s selling:
MIAMI: The Offense looked like it finally came alive and Golson looked like he finally started to realize his potential in a 41-3 win that might have been closer had the ‘Canes not choked on their first drive. On the game’s first play, Miami receiver Phillip Dorsett got behind ND’s secondary and was wide-open for a long bomb touchdown…but he dropped it. Then he dropped a second TD pass later in the same drive and it went downhill for the ‘Canes from there. Golson and company shredded a weak Miami D with a 17 for 22 passing effort and a dominating running game that saw Wood and Atkinson III have over 100 yards each and 3 touchdowns between them. Both time of possession and total yards went to Notre Dame by nearly 2 to 1…but those “Shamrock
Series” uniforms still sucked, okay? Overall, though, this was probably the best-played game the Irish have had thus far. Another interesting fact: neither team had any turnovers…strange that it
wasn’t a factor…
…This beer girl was actually selling whisky on the rocks…nonetheless a pretty lady:
STANFORD: It was the toughest opponent the Irish have faced thus far. It was expected to be a hard-hitting, smash-mouth, toe-to-toe battle to the end and this game, indeed, lived up to that. With both starting quarterbacks struggling to pass against tough defenses and turning to their running games, it was the Irish who had the better day and prevailed 20 to 13 in overtime. 2 weeks later we are still hearing some grumbles that “Stepfan Taylor was IN!!!” on that last 4th down run…no, he wasn’t. His forward progress had stopped and the whistle was blown before he stretched over the bodies on the second effort. The play was reviewed and even the national coordinator of NCAA football officials backed the call as correct after reviewing it himself. So to those Stanford/anti-Irish fans who are still grumbling about it: let it go and move-on. It’s over. It’s not as though N.D. always gets the breaks, either (the “Bush push comes to mind as an example). It may not have seemed so, but this game really was dominated by the Irish statistically. They led in total yards, first downs, passing, rushing and time of possession against a Stanford team that has beaten USC and is currently ranked #17. It was a signature win that made a statement about how good the Irish can be…too bad I didn’t get to see it live.
BYU (a.k.a. Boy You Ugly!): Many of the so-called experts had this down as a trap game. Understandable because N.D. was: coming-off a big win over Stanford, had another big game upcoming at Oklahoma they might get caught looking ahead to, and had just finished a break week from classes that might deter their focus. In addition, Golson was benched with a concussion from the previous week and the less-versatile Rees played at QB instead. Maybe all of this was true as they did struggle against a BYU team what was solid defensively, but The Irish overcame a deficit for the second week in a row, gutting one of the nations’ best rushing defenses with a 270-yard effort and won 17-14. Theo Riddick had a career day with his 143-yard effort in a game that was closer than it needed to be. Afterwards, it was reported that the Irish were rather quiet in the locker room and not in a mood to celebrate the win…I’d take that as a good sign that they know they could have played better in spite of the win. Let’s hope that today in Norman against the Sooners, they do.
So, now that the first 7 games are in the books we now look ahead to the remaining 5 games. I am certainly pleased that the Irish have surpassed my prediction that they would be 5-2 at this point (I had Michigan State and Stanford down as losses) and from here I do feel a 10-win season and BCS bowl is the worst case scenario. I am optimistic that an undefeated season is possible, but to do so the Irish have to win at Oklahoma today and at USC for the season finale…that’s a lot to ask of a team that struggles offensively with a rookie quarterback who has not attained his full potential. With that defense, though, they CAN do it…the question is: will they? We shall see. Strange and wonderful things happen in college football every weekend.
My big concern is with Everett Golson. He has so much potential he will only realize as he gains more experience. Right now, though, he tends to have problems with the following fundamentals: panicking too soon in the packet when the pressure starts to get to him and making poor throws; cradling the ball in the wrong arm when re rolls-out on a run – he’s been bitten a couple times carrying the ball in the INSIDE arm when he should switch to the OUTSIDE arm. Opposing defenses have forced fumbles when he has done that; and Everett, for God’s sake SLIDE DOWN OR GO OUT OF BOUNDS when the defense gets to you on a run!!! Don’t duck your head and take a hit! That is how the Stanford player gave you the concussion. Hopefully he improves with these fundamentals sooner rather than later, but I know we all need to be patient with him.
Manti Te’o – what more can one ask of this man? That guy is an incredible athlete, has played very inspired football following his personal losses and is a Heisman candidate because of it. He, Kapron Lewis-Moore , Zeke Motta and others have been the rocks in that incredible defense…but they have a job to finish.
Team health is not bad, either. The Irish did get snake-bitten early as a couple defensive secondary starters suffered ruptured Achilles tendons and a couple others had concussions they have recovered from, but other than that, overall team health seems good for the final stretch of the season…let’s hope it stays that way. We’ll see how the rest of the season plays-out. GO IRISH!!!