Mountain West inclusion to BCS? Don’t hold your breath


For those who are of the mindset that the Mountain West conference is equally deserving of a spot at the grown-ups table in college football, prepare to — once again — be disappointed.

For those who relish in the status quo, feel free to keep your hand firmly placed on the head of your metaphorical kid brother as he continues to violently swing at air.

According to information obtained by the San Diego Union-Tribune, the BCS pundits are currently three-quarters of the way through a four-year evaluation period (2008-2011) to determine the continued membership of their exclusive, no-girls-allowed club.

The process, which uses a three-pronged statistical smorgasbord of numbers, evaluates the status of the six current “power conferences” and whether any additional conferences should be included.

And, as of today, it would appear the Mountain West will still be on the outside looking in come 2012.

The reason is because each conference, in order to maintain BCS membership, must achieve a minimum rank in each of the three performance-based criteria established by the BCS. The statistical criteria includes: average rank of highest-ranked team (must be in top six), average computer ranking of all teams in conference (must be in top six) and number and ranking of teams in Top 25, adjusted for league size (must be in top 50 percent).

Trust me, that was just as confusing to write as I’m sure it was to read.

So, to visualize how the Mountain West fared against other BCS conferences, click HERE. Go ahead, I’ll give you a minute to look it over.

The numbers show the Mountain West ranks among the top six conferences in college football in two of the three categories, but fails to rank in the top six in “average computer ranking measuring the overall strength of the league”.

In order to receive an automatic bid as a BCS conference, the Mountain West would have to meet all three statistical criteria. The MWC could also win an appeal with the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee “if it is in the top six in the first two criteria, or top five in one and top seven in the other, AND within 33.3 percent of top conference in the third.”


This is not about pushing for the MWC out of some unfounded need for equality. This is about what’s doing best for the sport. The numbers used to come up with this “criteria” are petty. They’re the bouncer at a night club who allows some people in while others wait, all in the hope of improving their own self image. They’re the opposite of the big picture. More than anything, they’re truly beyond explanation and logic. I imagine if someone were to try and pitch these numbers to a CEO of a major company, it would go something like this:

There are too many if’s, and’s or but’s — most of it determined by somebody not strapping on the shoulder pads each Saturday — in the current postseason format. If a team can play, they’ve earned the opportunity to compete for a greater goal.

And that’s what is best for the sport.

Alabama QB Tua Tagovailoa injures thumb on throwing hand in spring practice opener

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This is not exactly the most optimal way to open the spring for Nick Saban and Alabama.

Shortly before seven p.m. ET this evening, grad transfer quarterback Gardner Minshew, who originally committed to play his last season of college football at Alabama, announced on Twitter that he will instead move on to Washington State.  Not long after that, after the Crimson Tide had completed their first practice of the spring, Saban confirmed that Tua Tagovailoa sustained an injury to the thumb on his right (throwing) hand.  Specifically how he sustained the injury wasn’t clear.

The rising sophomore will be taken to Birmingham for further evaluation; just how long he’ll be sidelined remains to be seen.

Jalen Hurts started every game but one at quarterback the past two seasons, guiding the Crimson Tide to a 26-2 record in that span.  He was under center for the national championship game loss to Clemson, and was in the same spot for this year’s title game against Georgia until a 13-0 halftime deficit compelled Saban to pull the trigger on a change.

And the rest, as they say, is history, as Tagovailoa played a significant role in a second-half comeback that was capped by the true freshman’s game-winning touchdown pass in the first overtime.  Even as it seems obvious to those on the outside that this is Tagovailoa’s team moving forward, given how much more advanced the backup is in the passing game than the erstwhile starter, Saban is not quite ready to pull the trigger on a full-time change at the position.  In fact, the head coach even stated that he’s open to playing both quarterbacks.

Minshew, who started five games at East Carolina last season, was viewed as experienced insurance in case Hurts decided to transfer.  Or, if Tagovailoa suffered an injury.

After committing to Alabama, grad transfer QB Gardner Minshew tweets flip to Washington State

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So much for the implementation of the Jalen Hurts Transfer Protection Plan™.

In late February, Gardner Minshew, a graduate transfer quarterback from East Carolina, confirmed that he had committed to play for Alabama and would enroll at the university in May.  Nearly three weeks later, Minshew shifted his course significantly, announcing on Twitter that he is “[p]roud to say that I’ll be playing my last year of college ball at Washington State.”

At least when it comes to the opportunity for playing time, the Cougars, looking to replace Luke Falk, make much more sense than the Crimson Tide, who has, in addition to a two-year starter in Hurts, national championship game hero Tua Tagovailoa.

As a graduate transfer, Minshew will be eligible to play immediately for Wazzu in 2018 and could be in line to win a starting job at the Power Five school.

Minshew started five games for the Pirates last season, throwing for 2,140 yards, 16 touchdowns and seven interceptions in completing just over 57 percent of his 304 pass attempts. Prior to his departure from ECU, he was penciled in as the Pirates’ 2018 starting quarterback.

The news of Minshew’s initial commitment to UA came a little over a week after Minshew visited the Tuscaloosa campus.  Earlier in February, it was reported that Alabama had an interest in Minshew, the quarterback who announced late last month that he had withdrawn from East Carolina to tend to a personal matter in his home state of Mississippi.

WATCH: Amazon releases trailer for ‘All or Nothing’ season following Michigan

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“All or Nothing” has been Amazon’s answer to HBO’s “Hard Knocks” with one clear distinction — “All or Nothing” actually follows its subject throughout the season. The first two seasons followed the Arizona Cardinals and the Los Angeles Rams, and has now expanded into the college game. Amazon on Tuesday unveiled the trailer for its upcoming season with Michigan, in which its cameras followed Jim Harbaugh‘s Wolverines through an 8-5 campaign where the maize and blue won no games of consequence.

This is not the first such documentary series to follow a college team. Showtime’s “A Season With” has chronicled seasons of Florida State, Notre Dame and Navy.

The upcoming season will hit all Amazon Prime streaming devices on April 6.

Report: Auburn WR Eli Stove undergoes surgery for torn ACL

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A significant development has gone under the radar at Auburn, until now. Junior wide receiver Eli Stove tore his ACL during Auburn’s first spring practice and underwent surgery last Tuesday, according to Brandon Marcello of Auburn Undercover.

As a sophomore in 2017, Stove caught 29 passes for 265 yards and rushed 30 times for 315 yards and two touchdowns, which made him the Tigers’ third-leading rusher.

Stove was expected to increase his portfolio heading into 2018, but now he’ll spend the foreseeable future working simply to get back on the field. No timetable has been set for Stove’s return.

Though Stove is one of Auburn’s most talented pass-catchers, the Tigers aren’t hurting for depth even in his absence. Nine wideouts caught a pass for Auburn last season, and not one of them was a senior.