Tag Archives: BCS

D-Day looms for BCS

If you’re like me, you can’t wait for that Sunday in March, ‘Selection Sunday,’ where the NCAA Tournament brackets are revealed.

We now have a new selection Sunday, this coming one, where the Bowl Championship Series will make it’s selections for the four games, plus the given national title game (unless Texas somehow screws up the Big 12 title game)…

The looming issue for the BCS, what to do with a second Big Ten team. Many are lobbying for Iowa to be that team because afterall they played in the de facto conference title game against Ohio State and they beat PSU head-to-head.

Iowa deserves the nod, there’s no question. If the BCS wants to have any shred of credibility, they won’t stoop to the level of picking the marketable PSU over Iowa.

But they don’t and they won’t.

So Penn State, I feel, is headed to a BCS bowl, the Fiesta, where they will get Boise State or TCU in what should be three things. First, the highest rated of the non-title games, second, wildly entertaining and third, a huge cash cow for the BCS.

Every year we can point out problems with the bowl system. In fact all this talk that FSU might play West Virginia in a Bowden-farewell bowl is disgusting.

The BCS is nothing more than a business and Penn State is good for bowl business. All this nonsense about economy and people not traveling is just that, nonsense. People who say they have sources that tell them this or that about bowls, don’t.

Don’t buy it.

Do buy that when push comes to shove, Penn State is good for business, they draw, they always will, they have Joe Paterno, they have stars in Daryll Clark and Navorro Bowman, and if the Big Ten wants to shed it’s terrible image with the big games, PSU is the safest of the two picks.

Whether or not they deserve it, you can keep debating that until you’re blue in the face. But they’re going to be there.


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Countdown: No. 10

So I figured this would be something you out there in Nittany Land would eat up and discuss amongst yourselves.

I’ve decided to give you, the valued reader, the top ten guys I think will make the biggest impact this season. Other news and notes of the day follows below this.


Now, before you laugh and ask why a punter makes the top ten, here’s how this whole thing broke down when I really thought about it. Five offensive players, four defensive and one special teams (Boone.)

So why Boone? Why not. It’s a Big Ten football team, that will play meaningful games in cold weather where a defensive effort will have to win it (See, State, Ohio, 2008) and Boone’s foot will be needed to set up that defensive effort.

Boone’s value became apparent two years ago when he took over for Jeremy Kapinos and averaged 39.4 yards per punt and we all remember what Kapinos did in the Orange Bowl to essentially bail PSU out.

Last season Boone really wasn’t needed as much because the offense was more prolific. He got out of the ’07 flow a little bit, but averaged 43-yards per punt and dropped 15 inside the opposing 20-yard line.

A lot won’t realize his importance until after the season, but trust me, Boone will have an impact.


There’s been a lot said (via Twitter) about Evan Royster’s “snub” on the Doak Walker list. A couple of blogs (among them First and Big Ten) picked up on the fact that Penn State missed an apparent earlier-than-usual deadline to nominate running backs for the preseason watch list put out by the award committee.

Look, there’s no doubt Royster is the best back in the Big Ten. He might have been last year had it not been for Daryll Clark’s outstanding performance and the fact that the offense had to share the total wealth.

Royster was a semifinalist for the award last year, so there’s no question he hasn’t regressed or anything like that. He will be on that list at the end of the year, barring injury.

Which leads me to a soapbox rant.

These “watch lists” and preseason teams, and preseason polls for that matter, amount to squat. I go back to my rant last week about Daryll Clark. You’re telling me the best quarterback in the Big Ten at the END of 2008, returns yet he isn’t the best in the conference to open 2009?

Makes no sense.

I get that you can go 50-50 on Clark or Terrelle Pryor, and Pryor probably has more upside because he will start at QB longer in college than Clark did. Fine. But it still makes no sense.

So essentially what I am saying is this. Pick a favorite and an order in each conference, but lets ditch these watch lists and preseason teams when in the end, they could amount to, well nothing.

On the flip side of that argument, if you are a school and you have a worthy candidate for an award and going under the current way, we keep picking these damn things, please, promote your player properly.

As a member of the FWAA, I get stuff in my mailbox almost on a weekly basis pimping a player from said team. So far this year it was an Ole Miss media guide, stuff from Oklahoma already, a CD from Illinois telling me that Juice Williams and Regis Benn are the best QB-WR duo in the Big Ten, that’s all fine, but I have to raise the point…we don’t see much of that from PSU.

Every once in a while we get a notepad with a three or four players on it of note, but instead of leaving the promotion up to us writers on the beat, Penn State should kick in and do it’s players worthy a service and use its own hype machine to get the message out.

Give Director of Football Branding, Guido D’Elia a week to put something together on Daryll Clark, Evan Royster, Sean Lee, whomever, and let him run with it. Make these guys available every week to TV or have them do chats with Adam Rittenberg, whatever the case, get the message out.

We writers can only write so much in so little space these days.

-end soap box-


Kudos to BCS Watch for adding some detail to this tidbit.

Beginning next season (not the one starting in a few weeks, but the ’10 season), we could be void of subpar USC beatdowns in Rose Bowls to come.

The rule stipulates that the first time over the next four years that either the PAC-10 champion or the Big 10 champion gets in the National Championship game, the Rose Bowl will be obligated to select an eligible team from a non BCS conference, if one exist, as a replacement. This is something Rose Bowl would rather not do, but without this stipulation, the burden of accepting a non BCS conference team would more often fall on the other three BCS bowls – which they rightfully believe to be a little unfair.

So there you go. If a Big Ten or Pac-10 team makes it to the national title game, the Rose Bowl is obligated to look at the Utah’s and Boise State’s of the world. It’s a good move. And it’s one that didn’t involve some government debate on Capitol Hill.

Results probably won’t be any different if say BYU gets in there against a USC, but at least for one day it’d save the Big Ten from being the national whipping boy (that is assuming a Big Ten team makes the title game and, you know, actually wins it.)

Back tomorrow with No. 9 on the countdown.

e-mail: ethomas626@yahoo.com | Twitter: Betweenthelions

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Green injury update and other notes

Fight On State is reporting tonight that Penn State backup tailback Stephfon Green required surgery to repair broken bones in his leg and ankle after suffering the injury during the 38-24 loss in the Rose Bowl on Jan. 1.

The surgery means Green is likely to miss the entire spring practice session, a huge blow to the Penn State offense.


This tidbit from our journalistic brothers down in Alabama….

The Rose Bowl ratings increased by 5-percent this season. On paper anyway, the Penn State-USC matchup was a helluva lot more intriguing than the Illinois-USC matchup a year prior. People, at the time of the selection, actually thought the game would be the best of the “BCS” bowls, even though technically the Rose Bowl doesn’t consider itself a BCS, or “VSC, or BGC game.”

Turns out bowls as a whole were up this season. And the BCS bowls generated some high marks. Those who argue that there are too many and that a lot may not care about the amount of bowl games just had a nightmare that more were added….and you know what, it wouldn’t be a total shock if that ever happened given these ratings from this past bowl season.


Penn State’s career leader in receptions, Deon Butler, will participate in the upcoming East-West Shrine game on Saturday. Center A.Q. Shipley was invited to play but has opted to attend the Rimington Award dinner instead. The dinner is on the same day as the game.

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Big Ten Monday: Salt in the wound edition

The Big Ten announced its conference Players of the Week….turn away if you are a PSU supporter.

Iowa’s Tyler Sash, for his game changing interception of Daryll Clark was tabbed the conference defensive player of the week. As if that weren’t enough pain for PSU fans to deal with, Iowa was also named the FWAA Fiesta Bowl Team of the Week.

In other news, Penn State’s game with Michigan State that is shaping up to be the conference title game, is now set for a 3:30 p.m. kickoff on ABC on November 22nd. Gameday was rumored to be making an apperance, however since PSU is no longer undefeated, nor will be fighting for a BCS title game berth as well as the Big Ten title, it remains to be seen if Fowler and gang show up. I’d doubt it.

For the record, there is still NO Saturday Night Football game set for the 22nd, so who knows. Michigan-Ohio State is the noon kick on ABC that weekend. Texas Tech-Oklahoma is likely going to be the SNF game, it’s the biggest of the weekend, but that hasn’t been announced yet. Oklahoma-Oklahoma State has been set for ABC coverage the following week, but it could be moved to a 3:30 regional kickoff.

Speaking off Tech….

A few readers have e-mailed asking what has to happen in order for PSU to make it back into the BCS title game picture, ala Ohio State last year.

It’s very, very complicated, but not impossible.

PSU would need Oklahoma to beat Texas Tech, then Oklahoma State to beat Oklahoma. Also it needs Texas to make the Big 12 title game and lose to Missouri, leaving Texas to the Cotton Bowl and Mizzou the automatic bid, with the at-large to be sorted out between the Sooners, Cowboys and Red Raiders. Remember, the last team to lose is essentially out of the running. It happened to Mizzou last year when they beat Kansas then lost the Big 12 title game….I think we all can agree that the Tigers should have been there over Kansas as an at-large. But the last team that loses in the running is the one that is punished.

Then PSU needs either Florida or Alabama to lose its rivalry game against Florida State or Auburn respectively, then whichever does lose, they need that team to win the SEC title game, especially if its Florida since they would have two losses going into that game. That would be a bigger help to PSU because a two-loss team may make the title game, but it wouldn’t jump a one-loss team to get there, at least it shouldn’t.

That would set up PSU-USC if both win out. And it seems the only logical solution to the question, and while it’s not impossible, it’s damn sure a long shot. A very loooooooooooooooong shot.

But let’s play the what-if game here for a second. Is the Fiesta Bowl a possibility? Mad scientist and fellow beat writer Mark Wogenrich of the Allentown Morning Call propses this theory.

Oregon State wins out and claims the Pac-10 automatic berth, meaning they land in the Rose Bowl, Boise State and Utah both lose for good measure removing them from the BCS consideration and Penn State is swapped out of the Rose to prevent a rematch with the Beavers and they land in the Fiesta opposite Texas.

Can we just go to a playoff already?

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Big Ten, ACC have a lot to prove

It’s not too often I like to get into the debates about which conference is the better of all.

Clearly this season, the SEC holds that distinction, I’d put the Big 12, Pac 10 and Big Ten all behind it in no particular order.

But it’s another bowl season and this is usually the way by which we (the vast array of media out there) determine which conference is better.

So with that in mind, I tell you the Big Ten has it’s work cut out for itself.

Since the inception of what we know as the Bowl Championship Series, which started in the late 1990s, the Big Ten is 8-7 overall in BCS play.

Of the 11 schools that represent the conference, and counting this season, Ohio State (6) and Michigan (4) have appeared more times than any other schools.  If it weren’t for the Buckeyes 4-1 record and three national title appearances (again, counting this season), the conferences’ stature nationally in terms of the BCS would be a downright joke.

Wisconsin has two appearances, winning two Rose Bowls, Penn State has one (Orange) which they won, while Purdue and Illinois are each 0-1.

While 8-7 isn’t great, it’s among the highest winning percentages of any the major conferences that play in the BCS. The worst? The ACC, which is 1-8. The only win is a Florida State Sugar Bowl in 2000, meaning the ACC has lost seven consecutive BCS appearances.

The SEC has dominated the field with a 9-4 record, the Pac-10 isn’t far behind at 7-4, each has a chance to add to the lure this season with LSU, Georgia and USC playing in prime games.  US, like the Buckeyes, is 4-1 in BCS games.

But let’s take into consideration the standings of a team headed into the BCS.

The Buckeyes hold the only three title shots in the BCS era for the Big Ten. They have split their first two, needing a controversial call to beat Miami in overtime, then flatlined against Florida last season. They’ve been the figure head for Big Ten play in the BCS and a chance to add to their own history in a few days.

Michigan on the other hand? They’ve been a joke. They haven’t won a big game to save their life in recent years (See: Bowl, Rose; State, Ohio). In fact Michigan has been somewhat of a black sheep when it comes to representing the Big Ten in big spots.

They’ve lost three straight Rose Bowls, twice demolished by USC, the other a classic to Texas. They do have a 35-34 escape against Alabama in the Orange Bowl way back when.

But The Rose Bowl? That’s a Big  Ten staple, for decades upon decades. And they’ve fallen flat on their face. The last Big Ten Rose Bowl win came in 2000 when Wisconsin beat Stanford 17-9 in a game I probably fell over into a bowl of French Onion dip watching because it was so boring.

The point of the whole thing, the Big Ten and ACC need to prove they belong on a national stage, that they aren’t 1-A to the SEC’s 1. A lot is riding on Illinois and Ohio State to be the team when they play USC and LSU respectively.

A lot is riding on Virginia Tech to buck the trend of a sloppy BCS conference that is so parity and condensed with subpar teams that they can’t even muster an at-large bid (Thanks Miami or Florida State, and Boston College too).

Exception of Ohio State, it doesn’t look like much will change come Jan. 9.

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Capital One still a possibility?

As the bowl world continues to turn, it’s our understanding that the Capital One Bowl is still a major player to land PSU if the Big Ten gets both Ohio State and Illinois into the BCS.

Pretty shocking, I’ll let the fact that a four loss PSU team making a NYD bowl sink in for a few seconds…..

Per one of our sources we just spoke to, it appears that Wisconsin appears locked into the Outback Bowl, meaning if Illinois is BCS bound, the Capital One will choose between Penn State and Michigan, likely taking PSU per our source.

According to our source the Capital One does not want to take Wisconsin two years in a row, (bowls do indeed try to avoid that), and Michigan has not represented themselves well at the Cap One in past years, leaving PSU a very attractive fit for Orlando.

The Capital One has evidently talked to other bowls and informed them they could be taking a team that the other bowl desires (PSU), if it comes down to it.

It’s all rather amusing considering the circus that has been College Football this season. And for a four loss PSU team to make a New Years Day bowl??? That would be a little slice of redemption, although I am not sure playing Florida is really the way to go.

We’ll have more on this as the day progresses.

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Champs or Alamo?

Or Insight, or Motor City. Just kidding.

Where does Penn State end up? The answer probably will not come for another two weeks, unless a deal is struck before the final whistle blows on championship weekend.

I’m leaning towards Orlando and the Champs Sports Bowl, aka, the Jr. High bowl in Orlando, for what some are calling a Jr. High Big Ten program anyway.

Everything still pretty much hinges on Illinois and their BCS fate, given that a couple of teams ahead of the Illini could lose and they could sneak in as a second Big Ten team in the BCS, meaning everyone else in conference moves up a notch bowl wise.

The only two teams that are guaranteed to get anything if they win out in the BCS are LSU and Kansas. Both have nasty games left. And you figure, the leftovers can all benefit Illinois’ case.

Arizona State/USC play each other this week, so do Hawaii/Boise State. Georgia could lose a possible SEC title game, somebody could lose two games between the four-team combo of Kansas/Missouri given that they play each other this week and the winner goes to the Big 12 title game against Texas or Oklahoma, meaning someone has to lose there too.

All of those teams are ahead of Illinois. Not to mention that LSU has a tricky game against Arkansas, West Virginia still has to deal with UConn and Pitt, and Boston College has Miami.

All Big Ten

The All-Big Ten teams will be announced tonight, but not until 10 p.m. (officially) when they are released on the Big Ten Network’s “Big Ten Tonight.”

Honestly, that’s sort of cheap to “officially” wait until 10 p.m. when  a lot of us have deadlines, but oh well.

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