The Michigan-Ohio State dilemma, overrating Stanford; more mail
You might think nothing in college football can surprise me anymore. In the past week alone, we saw two schools make a $5 million pledge to keep a conference together, then bolt five days later; we heard Florida State icon
None of those things surprise me. But the latest buzz regarding Big Ten realignment absolutely, positively flabbergasts me.
Change was inevitable when the Big Ten opted to expand, and I fully expected some rivalries to be altered or severed. But Ohio State-Michigan? Are you kidding me? It's been played the last week of the season all but once since 1935, and it's the league's single most important franchise. You would think conference leaders would go to any length to protect it. Unfortunately, based on Michigan AD
If we know anything, it's that
Fair enough, commish, but if you haven't noticed, Switzerland is closer to Pasadena right now than Michigan. Even when the Wolverines do get it going again, they're going to be in a division with at least two other regular contenders (perhaps Penn State and Wisconsin) that will likely prevent any one team from reaching the title game annually. In the years OSU and Michigan
Meanwhile, in the Big 12, the Oklahoma-Texas Red River rivalry has seen a huge national resurgence over the past decade, not just because the teams are strong, but because there are tangible stakes: pole position in the Big 12 South. If placed in opposite divisions, Ohio State and Michigan would be playing for much the same stakes -- only they'd be doing so against Penn State or Nebraska instead.
Sometimes leaders make decisions without properly thinking through the issues. This one sounds like a case of over-thinking. Do the right thing, Mr. Delany, Mr. Brandon and Mr. Smith, lest the ghosts of
I'm pretty puzzled myself that Tech has fallen off the radar. The ouster of
If there's some hesitation among voters, it's probably because Tuberville has no experience running the type of wide-open passing offense for which Leach's players were recruited. While Tuberville hired Troy offensive coordinator
Ultimately, Tech still lags behind division stalwarts Texas and Oklahoma, but I'm a bit puzzled as to all this buzz about Texas A&M being the new "hot" team in the South. Last I checked,
You hit the nail on the head, Tyler. The Cardinal have become semi-media darlings because A) We writers love whenever one of the academic-minded schools does well, B)
My concern isn't with Luck. He's the real deal, and we only began to see his full potential last season, when Gerhart was still the focal point of the offense. I've heard some speculation that defenses will be able to focus more on Luck with Gerhart out of the picture, but it's not like Stanford's fundamental scheme will change. Defenses will still have to account for the threat of play-action. And he's got the benefit of a very good offensive line, fullback (
It's that defense -- ranked 110th against the pass last year, with more experience than this year's unit -- that makes you cringe. Stanford got away with it a bit last year because most Pac-10 defenses stunk, but you're going to see a lot of improvement around the league on that side of the ball, from Washington to Oregon and Oregon State to USC. But like Tyler said, the offenses will only be getting more potent with all those returning QBs. Harbaugh has improved Stanford's talent level immensely, but not to the point where it can shut down dynamic offenses.
I sat here for a good half-hour contemplating this question. It seems so enticing, but I've got to tell you -- it's tough. Every time I thought I'd come up with a good comparison, I'd share it with a co-worker who would politely told me: Sorry, that's a grenade.
More the latter than the former, and even then it's more about exposure than it is revenue.
In terms of BCS status,
Longtime WAC commissioner
If I were Benson, here's what I'd do. Go ahead and concede that the WAC is going to have to drop football for a couple of seasons. Convince the current six schools to temporarily become FBS independents and continue scheduling each other. In the meantime, focus on adding three to four FCS schools that can compete immediately in other sports while transitioning in football. UC Davis, Cal Poly, Sacramento State, Texas State and Texas San Antonio have been mentioned as possibilities. By no means would one would view this reconstituted league as football juggernaut, but it may hold more long-term stability than adding two random filler teams in the short term.
It's not that we forgot, Jerry. It's that it happened before most of us were born (1953). Minnesota won one more recently -- in 1960.
In all seriousness, the Fridge does have a penchant for pulling a rabbit out of his hat when you least expect it. The general consensus is that Maryland, coming off a nightmarish 2-10 season, will be relegated to the ACC scrap heap again, but I wouldn't be so sure. Friedgen suffered consecutive losing seasons in 2004 and '05 and recovered to go to three straight bowls. This year's team faces a far longer road back to respectability, but there are reasons for hope, particularly on offense. Top rusher
Clearly, however, Friedgen's best days (three straight 10-win seasons from 2001 to '03) are a distant memory, and they're not likely coming back. Only a hefty buyout saved him from the firing squad last year, and with both a new president and athletic director coming in, things could get particularly ugly. Friedgen, believe it or not, actually has a designated coach in waiting (offensive coordinator
Yes. Apparently even Ohio State wants to buy out
Just a friendly reminder: Next week is GAME WEEK. Craft your questions accordingly.