Posted on: December 2, 2008 10:55 pm
Edited on: December 3, 2008 10:30 am

Bowl Bids coming...

WSPA Channel 7 in Greenville, SC and the Florida Times Union are reporting Clemson has accepted a bid to play in the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville.

Clemson just became bowl-eligible this past weekend with a victory over South Carolina, but the Gator Bowl used its third pick out of the ACC to take the Tigers.

The ACC Champion goes to the Orange Bowl, which will be the winner of the Boston College/Virginia Tech game this Saturday. The Chick-fil-A Bowl gets the No. 2 pick and took Georgia Tech.

The Champs Sports Bowl picks after the Gator Bowl and it appears they will take Florida State. The Orlando Sentinel is reporting the Seminoles appear to be headed for Orlando for a matchup against Minnesota or Wisconsin.

With the No. 5 pick the Music City Bowl is preparing for the loser of the ACC title game. The Meineke Car Care Bowl picks next and the Durham Herald Sun is reporting that North Carolina will be invited.

That would leave Miami (Fla.), Maryland, Wake Forest and N.C. State out of the ACC to fill spots in the Emerald Bowl, Humanitarian Bowl, EagleBank Bowl and an at-large bid, possibly the Motor City Bowl.

Since the Emerald Bowl picks next and had Maryland last year, its likely that the Hurricanes will play out west.

Stay tuned ...




Category: NCAAF
Posted on: December 2, 2008 3:08 pm
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Posted on: December 1, 2008 1:22 pm
Edited on: December 1, 2008 7:12 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- SEC Heavyweight Fight

Alabama and Florida are about to make history.

The top two teams in this week CBSSports.com 120 are also ranked No. 1 and No. 4 in the BCS, marking the first time in BCS history that two teams ranked in the Top 5 will meet in a Conference Championship Game.

Before the emails coming flying in about Ohio State vs. Michigan, stress the words -- "Conference Championship Game."

Yes, No. 1 Ohio State took on No. 2 Michigan in the final game of their regular season in 2006, but it wasn't a conference title game because the Big Ten doesn't have one.

Even last year's crazy season had an SEC title game between No. 7 LSU and No. 14 Tennessee, while the Big 12 game featured No. 1 Missouri and No. 9 Oklahoma.

Another game between top five teams in the last week of the regular season was between No. 3 Nebraska and No. 4 Colorado. The Buffaloes smashed the Huskers 62-36 and advanced to the Big 12 title game against Texas, which was ranked No. 7 in the BCS. No worries for Nebraska, though, because it still found itself in the national title game that year.

But back to this season ... Alabama is one of only four undefeated teams remaining and if it takes care of business against the Gators on Saturday in the SEC Championship (CBS, 4 p.m. ET), the Crimson Tide will be playing for the national title for the first time since winning it all in 1992. Meanwhile Florida, which is a 10-point favorite against the No. 1 ranked team in the country, will find itself in the title game if it beats the Crimson Tide.

This is about as big as it gets for two teams from the same conference.

Florida's No. 3 ranked scoring offense with 46.3 points per game vs. Alabama's No. 3 ranked scoring defense, allowing 11.5 points per game. The big difference might be that Florida's defense is ranked No. 4 (12.3 ppg), while Alabama's offense ranks 28th in the nation (32.1 ppg).

"The challenge of playing an opponent like the Florida Gators is, you know, something special for our players," said Alabama coach Nick Saban. "They certainly have an outstanding team, and Coach Meyer has done a fantastic job of putting together a bunch of outstanding athletes who play well together, and are very well coached, and execute as well as anybody in the country. Relative to their scoring offense, balance on offense, Tim Tebow's ability to execute in the way they have. They all contribute in a positive way to playing the roles, to make it difficult to defend them. Their defense is one of the top defensive teams in the nation. They've got some outstanding players, good athletes in all positions. "

The will also mark the fifth time a team from the SEC is playing in the BCS national title game since 1999, where the conference owns an undefeated record (Tennessee in 1999, LSU in 2003, Florida in 2007 and LSU in 2008).

As for the other conference title games (ranking is according to the CBSSports.com 120):

ACC: Boston College (No. 16) vs. Virginia Tech (No. 26), Saturday, 1 p.m. ET, ABC -- Pretty simple the winner goes to the Orange Bowl to likely play Big East champion Cincinnati, while the loser will probably be headed to the Champs Sports Bowl to play Wisconsin/Northwestern/Minnesota. Boston College won earlier in the year 28-23.

Big 12: Oklahoma (No. 3) vs. Missouri (No. 21), Saturday, 8 p.m. ET, ABC -- Now that Oklahoma is ahead of Texas in the BCS all it has to do is beat Missouri to play for the BCS national title. If the Sooners lose, Missouri goes to the Fiesta Bowl, Texas gets into the national title game and Oklahoma falls to the Cotton or Holiday Bowl. If Missouri loses, they will most likely be headed to the Alamo Bowl vs. a Big Ten team.

C-USA: Tulsa (No. 27) vs. East Carolina (No. 56), Saturday, Noon ET, ESPN2 -- Winner gets to play in the Liberty Bowl vs. an SEC squad, which will likely be Vanderbilt. If Tulsa loses it will probably end up in the Texas or Houston Bowl. Meanwhile if East Carolina loses, it will likely be headed to the GMAC Bowl against a MAC team. The two teams did not play this year.

MAC: Ball State (No. 12) vs. Buffalo (No. 52), Friday, 8 p.m. ET, ESPN -- Both teams are headed to the a bowl, but the winner gets to play in the Motor City Bowl. There is talk of Ball State going to the Humanitarian Bowl to play Boise State, but there is also talk of Boise State going to play in the Poinsettia Bowl vs. BYU or TCU. If Buffalo wins, throw all that other talk out the window. The two teams did not play this year.

Also of note, even though its not a conference title game -- Arkansas State (No. 80) meets Troy (No. 70). If Troy wins, it will win the conference. If Arkansas State wins and Louisiana-Lafayette beats Middle Tennessee, it would create a three-way tie at 5-2 in Sun Belt play. Only Arkansas State and Troy would be considered because NCAA rules state a 7-5 team, must be picked over a 6-6 teams (La.-Lafayette). So based on head-to-head, the winner of the game would go to the New Orleans Bowl.

Posted on: November 25, 2008 8:19 pm
Edited on: November 25, 2008 8:35 pm

Notre Dame and the bowl picture

If Rutgers beats Louisville on Dec. 4 and Notre Dame loses to USC, the Irish are going to be the most sought after 6-6 team in history.

First, let's assume in all scenarios that Notre Dame loses to USC. And remember Notre Dame falls in the pecking order for Big East bowl placement.

Now if Rutgers beats Louisville that would give the Big East six teams with at least 7 wins and six Big East bowl slots. Which means a 6-win Notre Dame team can not take the place of a 7-win team. So the Big East picture would look like this -- Cincinnati to BCS, West Virginia/Pitt winner to Sun Bowl, West Virginia/Pitt loser to Meineke Car Care Bowl, Connecticut to International,  Rutgers to Papajohns.com and South Florida to St. Pete Bowl.

So what happens to the Fighting Irish? 

Well, they would have to find a home in a bowl that has an open slot due to conferences not being able to fill.

-- Texas Bowl could have a Big 12 slot. So this might be a home for the Irish. Notre Dame vs. a C-USA team (Rice/Houston/Tulsa) on the NFL Network. Half the country wouldn't even be able to watch Notre Dame. So much for TV ratings.

-- Poinsettia Bowl will have an open slot because it won't be able to fill its Pac-10 slot, but it has a backup deal with the WAC. So scratch that one.

-- Papajohns.com and Independence Bowls will have slots to fill from the SEC, but they have a backup contracts with the Sun Belt. According the Palm Beach Post, both the PapaJohns and Independence must fill it with a 6-6 Sun Belt team unless there is another 7-5 team out there without a bid. So scratch those two. The Independence is going to have a slot on the Big 12 side too, but it looks like they will land Louisiana Tech.

-- Hawaii and Emerald Bowls will have an open slots because it won't be able to fill its Pac-10 slot. So maybe Notre Dame could meet Hawaii in lovely Honolulu. Hey, there are worse places you could be on Dec. 24. Or maybe even San Francisco on Dec. 27 against a team from the ACC -- Clemson? Boston College? Maybe even .... Notre Dame vs. Miami (Fla.).

The biggest problem with the Hawaii, Emerald and Texas Bowls is that a MAC team is going to grab one of these slots. The MAC has three slots and assuming Ball State is in the Motor City and Buffalo is in the International -- either Western Michigan or Central Michigan will be in one of these games with the other in the GMAC Bowl. Both teams have more than 7 wins, so they have to be in a bowl over Notre Dame.

Now all this above becomes moot if Louisville beats Rutgers, because then Notre Dame can take a Big East slot and will most definitely be in El Paso, Tex in the Sun Bowl to play Arizona/Oregon/California or Oregon State.

But if Louisville wins, the Irish will have to scramble, but it looks like the Hawaii, Texas or Emerald Bowls are going to be their best chance to land. Hawaii Bowl pays the least, Emerald Bowl pays the most.

Your guess is as good as mine.


... It doesn't look like Boise State is going to land in the BCS, so that means either stay home at the Humanitarian Bowl or opt out and find another place to play. If it decides to stay home, the Broncos would be matched up against ACC No. 8, which could be Wake Forest or Maryland. If it decides to find a new home, the Poinsettia Bowl would be the best place for them. The Poinsettia Bowl would need a replacement for a Pac-10 team and would match up the undefeated Broncos vs. either BYU or TCU, whichever team the the Las Vegas doesn't take. This could end up being one of the best non-BCS bowl games of the year with the WAC Champions vs. the second-best Mountain West team. Call in the Non-BCS Bowl.

...  Speaking of Clemson. If the Tigers win their last game they will be bowl-eligible at 6-6 and become very attractive in the bowl world. According to The State, Meineke bowl director Will Webb said he can foresee Clemson chosen as early as the Champs Sports Bowl, which gets the third at-large ACC pick. “There are just an awfully lot of people who are going to be interested in Clemson, us included,” Webb said. Remember, ACC No. 3 doesn't mean third-place team out of the ACC, it means that bowl gets the third pick.

Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 27, 2008 12:58 pm
Edited on: October 29, 2008 9:54 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- Big Least?

Trivia time: Name the only two conferences in the nation without a zero- or one-loss team?

Answer: Sun Belt and Big East.

That's right. I know the ACC takes most of the abuse when talking about the weakest conference in the BCS, but make no mistake about it ... it's the Big East.

And it was proven this week in the CBSSports.com 120 as South Florida is now the only team in the Big East ranked in the Top 25, falling from No. 14 to No. 25.

The Mountain West has three teams ranked. The ACC also has three. Hell, all three of the ACC teams are ranked higher than the best Big East team!

And even that can be questioned. South Florida has lost two of its last three games, falling to Pittsburgh 26-21 and Louisville 24-20. The shocking victory over Kansas doesn't even look like an impressive win anymore, so I'm not so sure the Bulls are the best team in the conference.

So who is?

Pittsburgh? It gives up way too many points and it just lost to Rutgers 54-34.

Cincinnati? Not after getting blown out by Connecticut 40-16.

How about Louisville? Things were written off for the Cardinals after opening the season with a 27-2 loss to Kentucky, but they now find themselves in the thick of things.

But I'm looking at the teams ranked No. 27 and No. 28, who just so happen to play each other this week. West Virginia and Connecticut.

The Mountaineers fell off the map after losing on the road to East Carolina and Colorado, but have won four in a row and earned a big win over Auburn last Thursday night. The offense is really getting going, led by Noel Devine. The sophomore is finally showing everybody how good he is, rushing for 188 against Syracuse and 207 against Auburn.

Meanwhile, Connecticut has its own star running back in Donald Brown, who is second in the nation with 1,324 yards and has scored 14 touchdowns. The Huskies spent some time in the Top 25 earlier in the year before losing on the road to North Carolina and Rutgers.

Last season, West Virginia blasted Connecticut 66-21.

"You don’t think (coach) Randy Edsall will remind them of that score a few times this week?" West Virginia coach Bill Stewart said.

The last team West Virginia played after blasting last year was East Carolina and we saw how that turned out. The Pirates smothered the Mountaineers offense, beating them 24-3.

"Our people better get that in their heads. They celebrated Thursday night, Friday and they enjoyed it a little bit yesterday but our Mountaineers better crank our engine. If you saw the fourth quarter of UConn, wow, I saw a defense get after people and that was impressive."

The winner can stake its claim as the best in the conference -- at least in my eyes.


... Notre Dame is the closest to the Top 25 it has been all season, moving up to No. 26 after pounding Washington 33-7. Remember, Notre Dame counts as a "Big East" school when it comes to bowl selection. So with the Big East champion going to the BCS, Notre Dame most likely going to the Gator (Big East No. 2 slot), that leaves the No. 3 Big East team to the Meineke Car Care Bowl on Dec. 27 vs. an ACC team.

... Syracuse remains the lowest-ranked BCS team, coming in at No. 116. The 'Cuse are 1-6 with its only win coming against a FCS team (Northeastern)

... Oregon jumped into the Top 25, leaping 11 spots from No. 34 to No. 23. The Ducks give the Pac-10 their second team in the Top 25.

... Louisiana Tech fell 25 spots from No. 68 to No. 93 after losing 14-7 to Army.

... Utah jumped into the Top 10, moving up from No. 12 to No. 9. It is the highest-ranked non-BCS team.

Posted on: October 20, 2008 12:25 pm
Edited on: October 21, 2008 12:32 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- Best in ACC?

Will the best team in the ACC please step up?

Florida State? Maryland? Georgia Tech?

What about a team nobody thought would be fighting for the conference title this year -- Boston College.

After losing quarterback Matt Ryan to the NFL, along with the departures of running back Andre Callender and L.V. Whitworth, cornerback DeJuan Tribble, safety Jamie Silva and offensive lineman Gosder Cherilus, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Eagles.

But the Eagles are sitting at 5-1, ranked No. 23 in this week's CBSSports.com 120, and now have their sights set on the ACC Championship.

"They believe now," said Boston College Jeff Jagodzinski after the victory over Virginia Tech. "They believe they can do it. As a team, we can -- if we play that way. It's going to take all 11 guys in the unit to do it. I'm real proud, very proud, of this football team. That was a big win for us and for our program."

Chris Crane has done a nice job stepping in for Ryan to guide the offense, but the real leaders are on defense.

The Eagles are ranked fourth in the nation, allowing only 251 yards per game. They are also ranked fifth against the pass and are giving up just 13 points per game.

Junior linebacker Mark Herzlich leads the team with 54 tackles, including two interceptions. Defensive tackle B.J. Raji leads with four sacks, while safety Paul Anderson has three interceptions. Brian Toal, who has been an important part of the defense with 42 tackles and two sacks, is now out for the season with a broken leg.

Toal's injury definitely will be hard to replace, but the Eagles will move forward.

"Just like when Alex Albright went down and we had to have Austin Giles go in, Tex (Francois) is going to have to go in and take Toal's spot," said Jagodzinski. "That's part of the game. It's unfortunate because he was playing really good football for us."

If it weren't for a breakdown in the fourth quarter against Georgia Tech, the Eagles could be undefeated.  Despite keeping the Yellow Jackets contained for most of the game, RB Jonathan Dwyer broke a 43-yard run in the fourth for a 19-16 victory.

"The problem with this team is, if you miss your assignment on one play, it could go to the house," Herzlich said. "That's what happened."  

Boston College's quest for the ACC title won't be an easy one as the Eagles play at North Carolina this week, followed by road trips to Florida State and Wake Forest later in the year. And if they do make it that far, the Eagles might have to face Georgia Tech or Virginia Tech in the title game again.

The Eagles weren't the only ones to jump into the Top 25 of the CBSSports.com 120 poll this week as TCU flew all the way from No. 33 to No. 15 after beating BYU. Minnesota and Northwestern also made the poll, coming in at No. 24 and No. 25.


... Cincinnati, which sits at 5-1 and still is in prime position to win the Big East Conference, is just outside the Top 25 at No. 28.

... Maryland, the Jekyll and Hyde of college football, moved up from No. 46 to No. 30 after beating Wake Forest.

... Arizona had another impressive victory, beating California 42-27 to move up from No. 52 to No. 35.

... The highest-ranked team with a losing record is Wisconsin at 3-4. The Badgers fell to No. 54 after losing to Iowa.


Category: NCAAF
Posted on: October 6, 2008 11:50 am
Edited on: October 6, 2008 2:01 pm

CBSSports.com 120 -- UNC making its move

For a school known for Dean Smith, Michael Jordan and four national championships in men's basketball, football is now getting the attention in Chapel Hill.

With its 38-12 victory over previously unbeaten Connecticut, North Carolina has jumped into the CBSSports.com 120, moving up 15 spots to No. 21.

They also cracked the AP Top 25 for the first time since 2001, sliding into the No. 22 ranking. The Tar Heels won eight games that year and beat Auburn in the Peach Bowl.

Being ranked is quite an accomplishment for a team that usually finds itself at the bottom of the ACC, winning a few games a season.

But thanks to second-year coach Butch Davis, two very good offensive weapons in Hakeem Nicks and Brandon Tate, and a defense allowing 19 points a game, the Tar Heels find themselves in position to win double-digit wins for the first time since Mack Brown's team in 1997.

UNC's only loss is a three-point defeat to Virginia Tech. Since the Hokies are in their division, it will be hard for the Tar Heels to get to the ACC title game, but moving up the rankings and improving their bowl standing are definitely possible.

They don't have Wake Forest, Florida State or Clemson on the schedule and it gets Georgia Tech (Nov. 8) and Boston College (Oct. 25) at home.

"This team is headed in the right direction," said quarterback Cam Sexton. "All the pieces are in place. Last year we were just feeling each other out. But we did not come here to win four games. We're not where we want to be. The only thing we have to do as a team is to remain focused. I think this team has a lot of potential, and the leadership needs to keep us focused."

It has one more non-conference game this weekend ... vs. Notre Dame. The Irish moved up to No. 38 this week in the CBSSports.com 120 poll.

The only other ACC team ranked higher than the Tar Heels right now is Virginia Tech, checking in at No. 17. Wake Forest is ranked No. 23.

Oklahoma State (No. 18), Pittsburgh (No. 22) and Northwestern (No. 25) also joined the Tar Heels in the rankings this week.

Other notes

-- Two undefeated schools are just outside the Top 25. Tulsa (5-0) is No. 26 and Ball State (6-0) is No. 27. Strength of schedule is definitely hurting these two schools as Tulsa's is 104th, while Ball State's is 88th.

-- The strange case of Maryland. What can you say about this team? The are up and down every week. After losing to Middle Tennessee State, the Terps fell, but then jumped back up with victories over California and Clemson. Things should have been easy against the worst team in the ACC, but Maryland got shut out 31-0 to Virginia! Maryland fell back to No. 52.

-- Fresno State fell out of the Top 25 and all the way down to No. 43 after losing 32-29 to Hawaii. Every time I pick Fresno to win the WAC, I curse them. Me and every other media member that falls into the preseason hype.

-- The team with the best record ranked the lowest -- Western Michigan (5-1) at No. 58. Despite having five wins, they dont have won impressive victory. The Broncos beat Northern Illinois (No. 99), Idaho (No. 119), Tennessee Tech (FCS), Temple (No. 93) and Ohio (No. 118).

-- Only two winless teams remain -- Washington (No. 103) and North Texas (No. 120).  

Posted on: September 29, 2008 12:33 pm

Northwestern helps Big Ten in conference rankings

With one month of the season in the books, the usual debate of "Who has the best conference?" continues. Nobody can doubt the SEC is still king, but the conference that ranks No. 2 might surprise you.

Don't be so quick to say the Big 12, because after analyzing the rankings of this week's CBSSports.com 120, we see the Big Ten ranks slightly ahead of the Big 12 from top to bottom. Based on an average ranking of 36.63, the Big Ten edges out the Big 12, which has an overall average of 37.83. SEC is first at 31.83.

Before the e-mails of "How can that be? Oklahoma, Missouri, Texas and Texas Tech are all ranked in the Top 10!!!" -- we only have to look at the overall records in the Big Ten.

The Big Ten has two undefeated teams, three with a 4-1 record and zero teams in the conference have a losing record.

And one of those undefeated teams is Northwestern. The Wildcats sit tied with Penn State atop the Big Ten with a 5-0 record, including 1-0 in the conference.

Northwestern is off to their best start in 46 years and jumped all the way from No. 41 to No. 27 this week in the CBSSports.com 120. The Wildcats are on the verge of breaking into the Top 25 in the other polls too. They are ranked 30th in the AP poll, 26th in the Coaches poll and 27th in the Harris poll.

Northwestern takes on No. 24 ranked Michigan State on Oct. 11 in what could be a major breakthrough for a team that usually finds itself at the bottom of the conference.

"Our plan going into the bye week is, No. 1, get healthy," Northwestern coach Pat Fitzgerald said. "No. 2 is to stay sharp. I feel like we're getting better each week and growing each week. With that prudent mentality, we'll probably go quick in our practices and won't be out there real long."

Another factor that helps the Big Ten rank ahead of the Big 12 is the lowest-ranked team in the Big Ten is Indiana (No. 74), which stands at 2-2. Texas A&M (No. 84) and Iowa State (No. 90) pull down the average in the Big 12.

The Aggies lost to a Sun Belt school earlier this year (Arkansas State won 18-14) and barely beat Army 21-17. Iowa State is 2-2, but its only victories are against South Dakota State and Kent State.

Here are the overall average conference rankings:

1. SEC -- 31.83
2. Big Ten -- 36.63
3. Big 12 -- 37.83
4. ACC -- 45.67
5. Big East -- 52.5
6. Pac-10 -- 55.3
7. MWC -- 72.75
8. C-USA -- 78.25
9. WAC -- 82.75
10. MAC -- 89.46
11. Sun Belt -- 101

Quick Notes

... The ACC which gets criticized for being one of the weakest conference, is ranked fourth. Despite not having any undefeated teams, the conference has seven teams ranked between No. 31 and No. 49. Florida State (No. 35), North Carolina (No. 36) and Maryland (No. 40) all had big wins this past week, moving up numerous spots.

... The lowest-ranked undefeated school is Kentucky at No. 38. Kentucky defeated Louisville, Norfolk State, Middle Tennessee State and Western Kentucky. It will surely move way up the rankings if it beats Alabama this weekend.

... UCF dropped the farthest in the rankings this week, dropping from No. 76 to No. 100 after losing 58-13 to UTEP, which entered the game at 0-3.

... FIU got out of the 120th spot with a 35-16 victory over Toledo. The Golden Panthers are now ranked No. 114. North Texas fell from No. 118 to No. 120 after losing 77-20 to Rice. The Mean Green are one of only three teams without a win. Army (No. 119) and Washington (No. 101) are the others. The Huskies are ranked so high because it lost by only one point to BYU and by 7 to Stanford this past week.

The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com