Tagged with "Boise St"
Thoughts on Pac-12 expansion
Category: NCAA

]Logos in white boxes represent potential additions.  The red areas are the current South Division, and the blue areas are the current North Division.

[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.

Bring Back the Big West
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Air Force Boise St. BYU Hawaii Houston Memphis Nevada San Diego St. San Jose St. SMU Tulane UNLV Utah St.

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:

Air Force


Colorado St.

Fresno St.


New Mexico

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.

Pre-Bowl (Week 14) Top 25 and Comments
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA Football Alabama Arkansas St. Boise St. Florida St. Kansas St. N. Illinois Notre Dame Ohio St. Okla. San Jose St. Stanford Wisconsin

Top 25


rank / team / prior


1 Notre Dame 1

2 Ohio St. 2

3 Florida 3

4 Alabama 5

5 Stanford 6

6 Oregon 4

7 Kansas St. 8

8 S Carolina 9

9 LSU 10

10 Georgia 7

11 Oklahoma 13

12 TX A&M 12

13 Nebraska 11

14 SJSU 15

15 Clemson 14

16 Florida St. 17

17 N. Illinois 19

18 Oregon St. 16

19 Utah St. 18

20 Boise St. 24

21 Louisville –

22 N’western 20

23 Michigan 23

24 Ball St. –

25 Ark. St. –


Out of rankings: (21) Texas, (22) Rutgers, (25) Kent St.


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Conferences and LSU Update
Category: NCAA
Tags: Arkansas Boise St. BYU Central Florida East Carolina La. Tech LSU UMass Missouri San Diego St Temple Texas A&M Tulsa NCAA Football

I had a lot of thoughts about what the conferences should do moving forward, but there were a couple of LSU issues I wanted to cover first, this being the last non-game week.

Mettenberger seems to be dong extremely well. In the final scrimmage, he completed 26 passes on 36 attempts for 336 yards. There was an indeterminate number of TD passes, but I’m not sure how relevant that is anyway. According to the stats given, he didn’t fare nearly as well in the first two scrimmages, with only 15 completions each time.

Kenny Hilliard seems to be at or near the top of the RB depth chart, so I’m excited to see him this year.

There are a couple of linemen who are “a little nicked,” according to Les, but I’m still feeling fairly positive about the offense.

Defense is a little more up in the air. There is only one real returning starter in the secondary, and there has already been an injury. FS Eric Reid is the only returning starter from that unit. The defense as a whole returns 4, although Tharold Simon had a lot of impact in more limited playing time last year. There is a lot of talent, but talent alone doesn’t stop tackles from being broken/evaded and passes from being completed by the other team.

In recruiting news, LSU has two good incoming quarterbacks, Rivals’ #4 pro-style QB and another product of the state of Georgia (as was Mettenberger), Anthony Jennings, whom Rivals ranks as the #12 dual-threat QB. It will be interesting to see how much LSU goes for the dual-threat options in the future. LSU is now ranked #5 in overall recruiting class by Rivals.

Moving from the future to the distant past, I thought this was a nice tribute to a former LSU player turned NFL Hall of Famer: http://bleacherreport.com/tb/d8jlB?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=newsletter&utm_campaign=lsu-football

Onto the conferences, I know I like to talk about this topic a lot, but the regional rivalries and series histories are important to me.

First off, I’m hoping the ACC and SEC stay at 14. The only way I would support a 16-team conference would be if 7 or maybe 8 games counted toward the conference title. With 9 games, you could have one team with two extreme lightweights from the other division as well as an extra home game, and that team could end up ahead (either by a single game or due to a head-to-head tiebreaker) a team who had an extra road game and played two of the best teams in the other division. I can countenance 8 games because there may be a natural rival in the other division anyway, and it could be used to even out the home/away situation mentioned. One game is less likely to be determinative than two. Such an arrangement might work in the ACC if it continues to poach the Big East but I don’t think it would work well in the SEC.

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Final Top 25, 2011 Season
Category: NCAA
Tags: NCAA football Alabama Arkansas Boise St. Florida St. Georgia Houston ISU LSU Michigan Oklahoma St. South Carolina Stanford West Virginia

I guess I’ll just give people a minute to get outraged and then explain.  Also, feel free to let me know what's going on with college basketball.

Top 25:
rank / team / prior

1 LSU 1
2 Oklahoma St. 2
3 Alabama 3
4 Boise St. 5
5 Houston 4
6 Michigan 8
7 South Carolina 10
8 Oregon 12
9 Arkansas 13
10 Stanford 6
11 Oklahoma 11
12 TCU 19
13 USC 9
14 Baylor 22
15 Kansas St. 15
16 Virginia Tech 7
17 Michigan St. 16
18 Wisconsin 18
19 Southern Mississippi –
20 Georgia 14
21 Clemson 20
22 West Virginia 25
23 Nebraska 17
24 Penn St. 21
25 Cincinnati –

Out of rankings: (23) Ark. St., (24) Notre Dame

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