Category Archives: Big 12 Football

Bob Bowlsby, thinking inside the box

Nothing about this surprises me.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby entered the College Football Playoff meetings this week seeking definitive answers on how much a 13th game helped Ohio State get picked over Baylor and TCU. Bowlsby ended Wednesday with as close of a statement as he has ever made that the Big 12 will add a conference championship game.

Bowlsby wouldn’t definitively say the Big 12 will add a championship game in 2016 if a new NCAA rule allows 10-team members to do so. But given the knowledge he has now, Bowlsby said, “I surmise we would probably move in that direction.”

Bowlsby said he was told this week by CFP selection committee chairman Jeff Long that 13 data points are better than 12. Ohio State blew out Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game on the final week last season while Baylor and TCU won their final regular-season games in round-robin play.

“What we heard is if we don’t go to a championship game we’re at a disadvantage,” Bowlsby said. “All things being equal, 13 games are better than 12 games. That’s what we heard. So that gives us clear enough direction that we’re coming in at least at a modest disadvantage. We need to do whatever we can to mitigate that.”

This is a dumbass move on a number of levels.  First, and most significantly, the Big 12 plays a round robin conference schedule.  It doesn’t need a playoff to determine a true champion; the regular season takes care of that.

Second, it’s like these guys have the shortest memories on the planet.

The Big 12 played a conference championship game from 1996 to 2010 and was hurt in the BCS era more than any conference by having a national contender lose that game.

And if there’s any cosmic justice, or if the football gods have a perverse sense of humor, that’s exactly what’ll happen in the first Big 12 championship game.

Along those lines, it ought to be a concern when Jim Delany gives you advice that makes sense.

However, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany cautioned that conference championship games “cut both ways” – sometimes helping a league’s best team and sometimes costing it with an upset loss.

One of the lessons learned from the Bowl Championship Series Era was that the constant alterations to that ill-fated system eroded public confidence.

“We probably made some mistakes by tweaking, to be honest,” Delany said.

Of course, it’s only fair to note that Bowlsby is probably working from a lower bar in terms of public confidence than the BCS was at the start.

Now, this isn’t totally the fault of the Big 12.  Jeff Long’s hands have some dirt on them, too.

Bowlsby said he was convinced after the commissioners met with selection committee chairman Jeff Long, the Arkansas athletic director, that the Big 12’s champion might need to play a 13th game — a conference championship game — in order to be seen on equal footing with other playoff contenders. (Reached by phone later, Long declined an interview request.)

Again, never mind that the Big 12’s selection of its conference champion doesn’t require a championship game.  It’s all about the data points for the selection committee.

But Bowlsby still is playing the hand he’s dealt here.  His coaches like soft non-conference schedules.  His presidents like cutting the revenue pie into just ten pieces.  And a championship game will enlarge that pie a little more.  It’s a win-win.  Until the league’s best team loses.

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UPDATE:  Bill Connelly elaborates on the history repeating aspect of what’s coming.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football

Wednesday morning buffet

Have some.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, Georgia Football, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major, Recruiting, SEC Football, Strategery And Mechanics

Wednesday morning buffet

Another day full of buffet goodness:

  • Art Briles says Baylor’s non-conference schedule had “zero impact” on his team not making the CFP last season.  He’s right, in that had Baylor not lost to West Virginia, it would have been in.  He’s wrong in that the non-conference schedule left Baylor with zero margin for error.
  • What do you get when some economics professors rank the intensity of college football rivalries?  This“Within a conference, the most intense two-way rivalry was between Central Michigan and Western Michigan…”  You might want to think about tweaking your measurements, fellas.
  • If Natrez Patrick stays at inside linebacker, at ten or so pounds heavier than Alec Ogletree, he’d be the biggest player ever to suit up at the position under Richt.
  • Nick Saban wants to be clear about satellite camps.  He’s agin’ ’em.  And you don’t want to offend Alabama on the recruiting front, people.
  • So, there was an inside guy on the Winston crab legs heist?  Steve Spurrier’s gonna have to come up with a new nickname for FSU, methinks.
  • It’s only April and the 2015 watch lists for awards march has started.  Wake me when it’s over.
  • It looks like Georgia Tech has landed its B-back for this season.
  • Year2 discusses the case for Nick Chubb’s Heisman possibilities.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, College Football, Crime and Punishment, Georgia Football, Georgia Tech Football, Nick Saban Rules, Recruiting

“I’m a decision-maker. I make calls. I call plays.”

After reading some of the testimony from the depositions taken in the breach-of-contract lawsuit filed against Texas assistant Joe Wickline by Texas’ Big 12 rival Oklahoma State, it’s easy to see why the Longhorns finished 113th in the country in total offense last season.

And the paltry 43 plays against Arkansas? Who called most of those? For the record, Texas ran 18 times against Arkansas for 2 yards.

“I don’t want to remember that game, we were so bad,” Strong said.

Now that I think about it, it’s kind of surprising any of them want to take credit for the playcalling.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, See You In Court

Back to the “One True Champion” board

After being humiliated last season, Bob Bowlsby’s group decides to go with the common sense route.

It is too late to help Baylor, but the Big 12 athletic directors want one true champion to be more than just a slogan next season.

The conference ADs said Thursday they are in favor of using a head-to-head tiebreaker to determine their College Football Playoff participant after co-champions TCU and Baylor were skipped over by the selection committee last season.

When that approach flops, maybe they can just outsource the naming of a conference champ directly to the CFP selection committee.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football

Give the committee what it wants.

Bob Bowlsby said something to Heather Dinich about nonconference scheduling that bears repeating.

“I really do believe that nonconference scheduling should reside with the institution,” Bowlsby said. “They know best what they think it takes to get their team ready for the regular season. Having said that, we have talked about the very real circumstance of a situation where you have a weak schedule and you’ve got two teams that are about the same, and one played a good nonconference schedule and one played a poor nonconference schedule. I don’t think there’s any question the one with the good nonconference schedule is going to get in.”

Talk is cheap.  Control is real money.

Compare Bowlsby’s laissez faire attitude with Mike Slive’s on SEC nonconference basketball scheduling.

For as much as the SEC is seen as a football-driven conference, the people who run the conference have long felt strongly about their basketball reputation. So when things hit rock bottom two years ago, being called a glorified mid-major, they sprung to action.

The commissioner hired a basketball czar and also retained an outside expert. They sat down with their coaches and hammered away at the same message: Improve your scheduling to get those RPI numbers up.

It didn’t end there, though.

But lack of knowledge with what the NCAA tournament selection committee wants figured into it, too. Slive couldn’t quite get it through to his coaches, so he called on Whitworth and Shaheen to re-emphasize it.

One of the first things Shaheen did in 2013 was produce a 20-page document analyzing each team’s non-conference schedules during the 2012-13 season. The SEC also instituted a rule saying that every school had to send its non-conference schedule to Birmingham for approval.

That’s paid off, as this season the conference is widely expected to reverse an alarming trend.

Between 1999 and 2008, the SEC never had fewer than five teams receive NCAA bids. Then the drop-off began: Only three made it in 2009, followed by four apiece in 2010 and 2012, and three apiece the past two years.

As Shaheen puts it,

“These are institutions that are used to playing at a high level,” Shaheen said. “Sure, there’s an extraordinary amount to be proud of here. But the issue in response has to be: ‘What do we need to do to make sure the rest of America knows that?’ ”

Shaheen emphasized the need to “play anyone, anywhere, anytime.” And that led to what he called a “healthy dialogue,” with the coaches, and they proceeded to improve their schedules the last two years.

“The schools have done all the heavy lifting here,” Shaheen said.

Now SEC football has the luxury of banking on a reputation that SEC basketball doesn’t have.  That’s why it’s been able to get away with avoiding the hard choices of going to a nine-game conference schedule in football and doing away with games against FCS cupcakes without doing any damage to its reputation.  But nothing lasts forever.  A few more seasons of the SEC West falling flat on its face and other conferences whining about the SEC’s strength of schedule, and who knows what the selection committee will think of SEC schools’ nonconference scheduling?

If that day should come, I doubt we’ll see whoever’s running the SEC share Bowlsby’s attitude.  The question will be how stubborn the member schools will be in response.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football, SEC Football

Mommy, make the bad schools share!

Boy, this is subtle.

In a meeting with the editorial board of the Houston Chronicle, Tilman Fertitta, chairman of UH’s Board of Regents, suggested that the Texas state legislature should pressure and/or threaten the Big 12 into giving UH a spot in the conference.  And by suggested I mean he just flat-out said it.

“Put pressure on the presidents; say, ‘If you don’t do this, we’re not going to fund you for this,’” Fertitta said of the state legislature’s role in meeting his goal. “It’s just the way it is. That’s the way to do it. …

“Be a big boy, step up and put this school that has almost 50,000 students and is so high-profile, has so many of the top schools in the United States, it’s a tier one university — we belong in the Big 12. We’re a big, major school with an unbelievable history in athletics and academia.”

The Texas legislature can’t even get Texas and Texas A&M on the same field anymore, but it’s gonna wade into this?  Sure it will.

Perhaps if ol’ Tilman availed himself of his school’s resources and learned that more Big 12 schools are located outside the state of Texas than inside he wouldn’t sound like such a dope.

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Filed under Big 12 Football, General Idiocy, Political Wankery, Texas Is Just Better Than You Are.