BcS to senators: Mind your own business

8 Comments

Roughly two and a half months ago, Sen. Orrin Hatch, R-Utah, and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Montana, sent a letter to BcS executive director Bill Hancock seeking clarification as to, among other things, how the cartel organization distributes revenue derived from their non-playoff system of determining a national champion.

Thursday, Hancock and the BcS responded to the March letter, and let’s just say that their response likely won’t have Hatch/Baucus calling for the Justice Department dogs to be called off anytime in the near future.

In the first paragraph of Hancock’s letter, the director, basically, tells the senators that they should mind their own business when it comes to college football.  And, if they really wanted the information sought in the initial letter, all they had to do was Google “Bowl” “Championship” “Series” “official” “website”.

I am writing in response to your March 9 letter about the Bowl Championship Series (“BCS”) arrangement. While I appreciate your interest, I believe that decisions about college football should be made by university presidents, athletics directors, coaches and conference commissioners rather than by members of Congress. Of course, as you can imagine, we are always happy to talk about the benefits that the BCS has brought to this vibrant game, and we welcome this opportunity to provide additional information to you. Please note that much of the information that you have requested is available at http://www.BCSfootball.org and was provided to members of Congress during hearings last spring and summer.

(You can almost smell the smarm seeping through your screen at this very moment, can’t you?)

Hancock then went on to address the senators’ main point of contention, the distribution of revenues derived from the BcS.

On more than one occasion, Hancock noted that the non-automatic qualifying conferences — Mountain West, WAC, MAC, Sun Belt and Conference USA — had decided to pool all of the money so graciously given to them by the benevolent BcS and divide it amongst the five non-AQs.

The Sun Belt Conference, Conference USA, Mid-American Conference, Mountain WestConference and Western Athletic Conference (the “non-AQ conferences”) have elected to pool their revenue and distribute it under a formula that they have developed. That is solely their decision. The non-AQ conferences have the details of this arrangement. …

Your made reference to discrepancies in news accounts; those probably are related to the revenue-distribution plan that the five non-automatic qualifying conferences have adopted. …

If it qualifies automatically for a BCS game, a team from a conference without annual automatic-qualifying status will bring approximately $24.7 million (18% of net revenue) to its conference next season. A team from an automatic-qualifying conference will bring approximately $21.2 million net to its conference. The funds are distributed to the conferences, which then allocate their shares of the revenue according to their own revenue-sharing agreements.

Of course, that $24.7 million is divided amongst five leagues and nearly sixty schools, while each automatic qualifying conference receives $17.7 million — $22.2 million if two schools receive BcS bids — to split up amongst anywhere from eight to 12 schools, which I believe is the point of contention for Hatch and his supporters.  And I don’t believe the Utah senator will care that it was the five non-AQ conferences that decided to divvy up the BcS money this way; his point is the inequity in how the funds are initially disbursed.

Hancock also decided to use Hatch’s own Utes as a way to drive home the BcS’ message, that it’s the five non-AQs that are screwing themselves, not the BcS.  And that, without the the utter grace the BcS bestowed upon their lowly institution, Utah would’ve been playing in a lower tier — re: lower-paying — bowl game during their undefeated run in 2008.

For example, if the University of Utah qualifies for a BCS game in the 2010-11 season, it will earn for its conference approximately $24.7 million which, under the agreement among the Mountain West and the other four non-AQ conferences, would then be divided among the five conferences. The Mountain West certainly could keep all $24.7 million within the conference, or Utah could keep it all. The decision to share the revenue–and how to allocate it–was made, not by the full group of 11 BCS conferences, or by the six conferences that have earned annual automatic qualification, but by the five non-AQ conferences.

An example worth noting is that, if the BCS had not existed, Utah probably would have played in the Las Vegas Bowl in the 2008-09 season. Because of the BCS, the Utes played in the Allstate Sugar Bowl instead. The payment from the Las Vegas Bowl was approximately $900,000; for participating in the Sugar Bowl, the Mountain West’s share–after the five conferences divided the revenue–was $9 million. Obviously, the difference is significant.

The letter went on to say blah blah blahblah blah blah…

If you so desire, you can read the letter in its entirety right HERE.  As for myself, I feel the need to kneel before some porcelain.  Pardon me…

No. 7 Washington wins Pac-12 title game rematch with Colorado thanks to stifling second half defense

Getty Images
Leave a comment

For a half, Colorado had No. 7 Washington just where they wanted in a Pac-12 Championship Game rematch from a year ago. Just like in that matchup in Santa Clara 10 months ago, the Buffs trailed by just a score going into halftime and looked surprisingly sharp against their highly ranked opponents from Seattle.

Just like it did last December though, the third quarter rolled around and Huskies reminded everybody why they reign supreme in the Pac-12 until further notice, capping off a dominant second half to capture a key road win in Boulder 37-10 over the Buffs.

While Jake Browning still didn’t seem to figure out Mike MacIntyre‘s defense the second time around (11/21, 160 yards, 1 TD, 1 INT), it’s not like the UW signal-caller needed to with the effort his run game and defense were able to provide on a rainy night under the Flatirons. Tailback Myles Gaskin had no problem shouldering more of the load with his backup out, rushing for 202 yards and two scores while breaking off big run after big run to slowly crush the home crowd’s spirits. If there was anything that did really go wrong for the offense in the second half, it was the fact that wide receiver Chico McClatcher was carted off after a gruesome ankle injury that figures to sideline him for some time to come.

Still, the impressive performance on the scoreboard was really the result of the Huskies’ stifling defense coming to play after some adjustments in the locker room. Linebacker Azeem Victor hit the double-digit mark for tackles and corner Myles Bryant pulled down a pick-six — one of three interceptions on the night. As a result, what was a close game for about two and a half quarters, ended up turning into a runaway win for the defending Pac-12 North champs.

While it was a tough night on the scoreboard with nothing going in the second half, there were some positives for the Buffs early on. Quarterback Steven Montez did look sharp working the middle of the field until the pressure was turned up and running back Phillip Lindsay managed 68 yards and a touchdown against one of the stiffer run defenses in the country. Given some of USC’s early struggles, it’s pretty clear that Colorado will remain a factor in the Pac-12 South battle if nothing else.

In the end though, it was the same ol’ same ol’ out West as Washington remained unbeaten and looking again like a College Football Playoff contender once again.

Jim Harbaugh advises President Trump to ‘check the Constitution’

Getty Images
6 Comments

The latest controversy surrounding President Donald Trump has reached college football.  And, of course, it’s Jim Harbaugh doing the reacting.

At a campaign rally in Alabama earlier this past week, the POTUS let loose on those NFL players who have decided to use the National Anthem as a vehicle for protesting social injustice.  In essence, Trump called for those who participate in the demonstrations to be summarily dismissed.

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he’s fired. He’s fired!'” Trump was quoted as saying. “You know, some owner is going to do that. He’s going to say, ‘That guy disrespects our flag, he’s fired.'”

Suffice to say, that hasn’t even remotely happened as condemnation of the fiery rhetoric has been far and wide from the NFL community and beyond.  It was also condemned by a former member of the NFL community as Harbaugh, whose former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, played a significant role in a story that’s enveloped professional football over the past year, had some choice words on this latest kerfuffle.

“No, I don’t agree with the president,” Harbaugh said following Michigan’s win over Purdue. “Listen, that’s ridiculous. Check the Constitution.”

Harbaugh, who was already at odds with Trump over the slashing of one particular program, also stated initially that he didn’t respect Kaepernick sitting out the anthem before apologizing for misspeaking shortly thereafter.  In the spring, Harbaugh referred to the still-unsigned quarterback as a hero.

Notre Dame has no trouble with mistake-prone Michigan State

Getty Images
Leave a comment

Notre Dame probably would’ve beaten Michigan State on Saturday night if the Spartans pitched a perfect game. But instead the Spartans hit three batters, tossed a handful of wild pitches, aiding the Irish in a 38-18 blowout in Spartan Stadium.

The 20-point margin represents Notre Dame’s largest victory over Michigan State since a 36-14 whipping on Sept. 18, 1993 and the largest win by either team since a 45-23 Spartans win on Sept. 12, 1998. The Irish have now won four of the last five in a series that dates back to 1897.

The Irish (3-1) opened the game with a 7-play, 78-yard touchdown drive punctuated by a 16-yard Brandon Wimbush run, then immediately capitalized on a Michigan State (2-1) mistake as Julian Love returned a Brian Lewerke interception 59 yards for a touchdown.

Michigan State rebounded with its best drive of the night, knifing 75 yards in seven snaps for a touchdown. But another Lewerke turnover, this time a fumble in his own territory, set up Notre Dame with a short field, which Wimbush turned into an 8-yard touchdown pass to Dexter Williams. The Spartans threatened to pull within 21-14 until their third and costliest turnover of the first half, an L.J. Scott fumble at the goal line that took six points off the board and handed Notre Dame the ball at the 20-yard line. Notre Dame needed only five plays to push its lead to 28-7, where it would remain until halftime.

In addition to the three turnovers, Michigan State also committed nine penalties, dropped a handful of passes and lost a possession to a turnover on downs.

Michigan State opened the second half with a Matt Coghlin field goal, but Notre Dame answered that field goal and then some with a 9-yard Deon McIntosh touchdown run. Justin Yoon pushed the lead to 28 with a 46-yard field goal with 4:51 to play.

Michigan State completed the scoring with a cosmetic touchdown — a 25-yard toss from Lewerke to Gerald Holmes — and 2-point conversion with 3:09 remaining.

Wimbush was the star for Notre Dame, hitting 14-of-20 passes for 173 yards and a touchdown with eight carries for 52 yards and a touchdown. Lewerke carried the load for Michigan State, connecting on 31-of-51 passes for 340 yards — many of them junk — with a touchdown and an interception with nine carries for 56 yards and a fumble.

Michigan State will remain in East Lansing next week to host hard luck loser Iowa, while Notre Dame returns home to face Miami (Ohio).

Disaster averted as walk-off TD pushes No. 4 Penn State past Iowa

Associated Press
2 Comments

Entering Week 4, the last three teams ranked in the Top Five entering Kinnick Stadium had exited with a loss.  In dramatic fashion, No. 4 Penn State flipped that script.

Trailing 15-13, Iowa scored on a 35-yard touchdown run by Akrum Wadley that put Iowa up, after a failed two-point conversion, 19-15 with 1:42 left in the game.  Penn State then proceeded to go 65 yards in 12 plays and 1:42 of game time, with Trace McSorley connecting with Juwan Johnson on a seven-yard touchdown pass with zero ticks left on the clock to secure a wild 21-19 win.

That fourth quarter also featured Penn State blocking a field goal… only to see Iowa return the favor 10 minutes later to set up what would’ve been the game-winning touchdown by Wadley.

If you simply looked at the box score, however, you would’ve thought this was a blowout that swung heavily toward the visitor.

The Nittany Lions outgained the Hawkeyes 579-273.  In fact, Penn State had more yards rushing (295) than Iowa had total offense. First downs?  PSU 29, Iowa 11.  The Nittany Lions held the ball for nearly two-thirds of the game for good measure.

In the end, however, it was Penn State that came out on top on both the scoreboard as well as the stat sheet as the Nittany Lions kept their perfect season afloat as, after games against Indiana and Northwestern the next two weeks, they get set for season-defining games against No. 8 Michigan (Oct. 21) and No. 10 Ohio State (Oct. 28).  And Saquon Barkley, who set a single-game school record for all-purpose yards — 211 rushing, 94 receiving, 53 returns — will get to continue to state his case as the best football player in the country and one of a handful of Heisman Trophy front-runners.