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Tuesday, December 27, 2005

BCS head Big-12's Weiberg: Football playoffs could be done, but we've chosen not to

BCS Coordinator Kevin Weiberg. Click on link for SBS' BCS solution.
By Howard Fendrich

2:27 p.m. December 7, 2005

WASHINGTON -- A playoff system could be used in major college football and the so-called "plus-one" model for determining a national champion should be reconsidered, the head of the Bowl Championship Series told Congress on Wednesday.

When House Subcommittee on Commerce Trade and Consumer Protection Chairman Cliff Stearns, R-Fla., pointed out that lower divisions have playoffs for football, BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg said: "It certainly, congressman, is possible to have a playoff at the Division I-A level, as well. We have chosen not to go down that path."

Between jokes about needing tickets for bowl games and remarks about more important matters they could be addressing, lawmakers on the subcommittee – which examined steroids in professional sports earlier this year – made clear they are not interested in pursuing legislation.

But they did want to know why Division I-A football is the only college sport without a playoff system.

"Why can't it do it? Why can't it do it?" asked Rep. Joe Barton, R-Texas. "We're not going to introduce a playoff bill after this hearing. But I hope this hearing causes discussion. I would like to see the NCAA and the major conferences and the BCS come together on their own to develop a playoff system."

There are 28 bowls, and four are in the BCS: the Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar. Those take turns hosting a championship game between the Nos. 1 and 2 teams in the BCS standings, based on two human polls and computer ratings.

The "plus-one" concept, where the fifth game of the BCS format would be a championship game with two teams advancing from the first four bowl games, was considered in 2004.

Weiberg, the commissioner of the Big 12 and one of six witnesses Wednesday, testified that the "'plus-one' model is one that deserves review. It is not one, as of yet, that has had full opportunity for review."

He said he's open to changing the current setup but noted that school presidents would have to approve playing extra postseason games – something they have shown no inclination to do.

Weiberg is in his final season as BCS coordinator. Southeastern Conference commissioner Mike Slive starts a two-year tenure in 2006.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, Rose Bowl management committee chairman William Johnstone and other witnesses offered several arguments against playoffs: They would abandon tradition, diminish the importance of the regular season, lower the economic impact of some bowls, and create academic conflicts.

"The bowls are not perfect, and the Bowl Championship Series is not perfect," Football Bowl Association chairman and Alamo Bowl CEO Derrick Fox said. "But a playoff system is dangerous."

Barton questioned the concern about academics, citing a recent report that said 41 percent of this year's bowl-bound college football teams fall below the NCAA's new academic benchmark.

"Let's don't use (academics) as an excuse not to have a playoff system – and then ignore it," Barton said.

He also wondered aloud whether money is the biggest reason there isn't a playoff.

"Doesn't it really boil down to that the major bowls ... don't want a playoff system because you think it's going to impinge on the money that the big bowls make?" Barton said.

Delany responded that "an NFL-style football playoff would provide three to four times as many dollars to the Big Ten as the current system does. There is no doubt in my mind that we are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table."

The BCS was created in 1998 by the six most powerful conferences. Since then, the system has been tweaked to make it easier for teams from smaller conferences to qualify for the top games.

Monday, December 26, 2005

Rose Bowl: Heather Locklear says "Trojans suck - especially at football!" (no kidding!)

The link is in the title post above and the picture she autographed while an actress on Melrose Place is the one you see here.

Texas Longhorns staying at the Century Plaza Hotel in LA

that news according to Orangebloods.com ....

Rose Bowl: USC favored by 7 over Texas

The USC Trojans are favored to beat the Texas Longhorns by 7 points for the National Championship. (You can get tickets with a click on the title post.)

Friday, December 23, 2005

Cal clips BYU in Las Vegas Bowl

Following last year's suprise loss to Texas Tech in the Holiday Bowl, the Cal Bears bested BYU in this year's Las Vegas Bowl.

Here's the AP account of the game:

By GREG BEACHAM AP Sports Writer

LAS VEGAS Dec 23, 2005 — Marshawn Lynch had no time for a loose shoelace. He was too busy carrying California to a victory in the Las Vegas Bowl and during his second touchdown run, his untied shoe stayed on him better than any BYU tackler. "I almost, almost slipped," Lynch claimed of his 23-yard sprint in the second quarter.

Anybody who watched his performance in the Golden Bears' 35-28 over Brigham Young probably wouldn't believe him but everybody got a look at the wealth of offensive talent coming back to Cal in 2006.

Lynch rushed for career highs of 194 yards and three touchdowns to win the MVP award, and DeSean Jackson caught two scoring passes before Cal's defense held off Brigham Young on Thursday night in an entertaining meeting of two programs with big aspirations for next season.

Steve Levy passed for 228 yards in his second career start for the Golden Bears (8-4), who hung on against BYU's fourth-quarter comeback in a high-octane game featuring 915 total yards.

"We didn't want to go into this offseason with a negative, because we grew up so much this year," said Jackson, who capped his impressive freshman season with six catches for 130 yards. "They're an up-and-coming team, but so are we."

Cal took a 21-point lead into the final quarter after Lynch's 35-yard scoring run and Jackson's exceptional 22-yard diving TD catch in the third. But BYU quarterback John Beck responded with scoring passes to Jonny Harline and Todd Watkins, whose 9-yard grab with 5:35 left cut Cal's lead to seven points.

The Bears improbably tried a 50-yard field goal with 2:20 to play, and Tom Schneider's kick was well short. But the Cougars moved just 7 yards before Beck's arm was hit by Cal lineman Phillip Mbakogu, and Daymeion Hughes intercepted the wobbling pass to seal the Bears' second bowl victory in three postseason trips under coach Jeff Tedford.

"It was great to see a reflection of how much we've improved with this young team," Tedford said. "This effort was typical of our team. It doesn't surprise me."

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