Thursday, January 20, 2011

5 Yard Out: Mountain West Conference (MWC)

The Mountain West Conference (MWC) landed a team in the BCS for the third straight year, but in a few short years, the MWC will be a shell of what it was this year. Conference expansion and losing Brady Hoke to Michigan make it impossible for the MWC to ever reach BCS AQ status. Those are off the field issues, let’s get to what happened on the field this year.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

5 Yard Out: Pac-10

College Football Haven continues its year end review by looking at the Pac-10.

Early in the year, the Pac-10 commanded a lot of respect as a league full of high powered offenses. By season’s end, only Oregon and Stanford were ranked in the top 25. Here is how the season turned out in comparison to the preseason predictions in the 5 Step Drop: Pac 10.

Weekly Trivia: Most Former Players On NFL Conference Championship Rosters

The answer to last week's trivia question, "How many schools won a national championship since 1957?" is 27. Rather than list them all, you can find the list at ShrpSports.

On to this week's question.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

5 Yard Out: Southeastern Conference (SEC)

Now that the 2010 season is officially over, it is time to wrap it up. At the start of the year COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAVEN previewed each conference with a “5 Step Drop.” We will look back at those predictions to see how this year shaped up with what was expected in a series of “5 Yard Out” columns over the next few weeks. First up, the Southeastern Conference (SEC).

Poll Results: Auburn vs. TCU: Who would Win?

Not surprisingly, Auburn won by a landslide with 80% of the vote.

Monday, January 17, 2011

College Football Will Have A Playoff Soon

BCS haters and playoff proponents, your time has almost come. College football will have a playoff soon. That is right. The days of the BCS are, in fact, numbered. No more settling things by trying to impress voters by running up the score and scheduling weak FCS schools to earn style points. College football's champion will be settled on the field after more than two of the top teams face off in a multiple game, winner advances championship format.

No, this is not a dream. Two factors are pushing college football, fast, towards a playoff system.

1. The SEC monopoly on national championships.

As we just witnessed last week, Auburn made this the fifth consecutive year that a team from the SEC has won the national championship. Whether the SEC champion is undefeated, has one-loss or two-losses, they have always found their way into the BCS national championship game and won it the last five years. Don't expect this pattern to change next year.

ESPN's Way-too-early 2011 Top 25 already has Alabama number 2, and LSU number 4. It doesn't take a genius to see that the game between Alabama and LSU will be the de facto SEC championship game, and the winner will play in the BCS national championship game. Arkansas is losing Ryan Mallett and Auburn will be without Cam Newton. Ole Miss and Mississippi State are not ready to challenge these giants for the SEC West. The SEC East will not put up a fight. Florida will still be rebuilding. The best South Carolina team in a long time proved to be no match for an SEC West power. We all saw how bad Georgia was without A.J. Green during the first four games. Green will be gone all of 2011. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Vanderbilt? No commentary necessary.

The Pac-10 became the third power conference to fail to unseat the SEC. The Big XII and Big Ten have both been unsuccessful in four total attempts (two each). These three conferences along with the Big East and the ACC, which are fighting just to stay relevant, aren't going to sit around and do nothing. Tradition has been a stumbling block in the past, but now it is a stepping stone.

We all balked a month ago about the Big Ten naming their divisions “Legends” and “Leaders.” Well, there is nothing legendary about not being able to win a national championship, and there is no leadership in finishing second. Out on the west coast, the Pac-10 is proud of its moniker the “Conference of Champions.” Calling yourself the “Conference of Champions” looks silly when you can't get a championship in THE marquee college sport. It will be these traditions that prevail in the end, not the Big Ten vs. Pac-10 playing in the Rose Bowl.

The only option to break up the SEC monopoly is a playoff system. With everyone else united on some sort of playoff model, the SEC will be forced to follow along.

2. ESPN wants a playoff.

And ESPN usually gets what it wants.

Dan Wetzel with Yahoo! Sports reported last year that Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany testified to Congress that a 16-team playoff would gross approximately $900 million a year (four times that of the current BCS format). ESPN is well aware of this, and it wants its share.

In 2008, ESPN outbid the competition for “exclusive television, radio, digital, international and marketing rights” for the BCS bowl games from 2011-2014. While this year's BCS games were the first under this contract with ESPN, the next bidding war will take place in 2012. You better believe that ESPN will be doing everything in its power to ensure this package includes a plus-one game or some other form of a playoff. In fact, ESPN already is.

We have all heard the cliché “toe the company line.” During this past college football season, the ESPN television, radio, and Internet personalities were not toeing the company line. They were as far from it as possible. In the first year of its contract to broadcast BCS games, you would expect the ESPN corporate executives to send a memo to everyone telling them to fawn over the BCS and build it up as the best thing that happened to college football since the Heisman Trophy. It appears that a memo stating the opposite was sent. I have never heard the ESPN broadcasters lament so openly and frequently the controversy of the BCS while building up the virtues of a playoff.

ESPN knows the power that it has to shape college football. It has made a calculated decision to wield that power to bring about a playoff as soon as possible.

Money and prestige will bring what so many have been waiting decades to have: a playoff for the highest level of NCAA football. Love it or hate it, brace yourself, because it is coming sooner than you expect.

The Editor appreciates all feedback. He can be reached via email at

Other recent posts on COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAVEN:
Game Predictions: 2010 Bowl Results
Weekly Trivia: National Championship Winners Since 1957
Poll Results: Which New Year's Day Loss was the Worst for the Big Ten
College Football Haven Top 25, Final, 2010
Monday Musings: Any Changes to BCS Championship Game For Arizona Shootings?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Game Predictions: 2010 Bowl Results

After being correct 68.7% of the time during the season, I posted a wimpy 57.1% (20-15) correct prediction for the bowls. Picking against the Big 10 really helped me avoid finishing right at 50%. I was 3-2 in the BCS bowls, correctly picking TCU, Stanford, and Ohio State.

Stay tuned, I will be working on the end of the year reports for each conference in the next couple of weeks. Then it is on to Letter of Intent day, the NFL combine, spring practices, and the NFL draft.

I am working on some special research ideas that will help keep things rolling until the games are played again.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weekly Trivia: National Championship Winners Since 1957

The answer to last week's trivia question, "When was Oklahoma’s last BCS bowl win?" is the Rose Bowl following the 2002 season. They beat the Washington State Cougars 34-14. Oklahoma lost their next five BCS bowls (2003, 2004, 2006, 2007, 2008) before beating UConn 48-20 New Year’s Day in the Fiesta Bowl.

On to this week's question. Congratulations to Auburn on the 2010 National Championship. It has been well publicized that this is Auburn’s first national championship since 1957. That is a long time—53 years to be exact. That makes this week’s trivia question:
How many other schools won a national championship since 1957?
Leave your answer in the comments section. The answer will be revealed next Wednesday when a new question is asked.

For more trivia questions, visit the Trivia page.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Poll Results: Which New Year's Day Loss was the Worst for the Big Ten

The results are in and the run away winner was the Michigan State loss to Alabama, 49-7, with 68% of the vote. Michigan's 52-14 loss to Mississippi State and Wisconsin's 21-19 loss to TCU tied for second with 13% each. The final vote getter was Penn State to Florida, 37-24, with 6%.

I agree that the Michigan State loss was the worst. It completely blows up the credibility of the Big Ten. Michigan State was co-Big Ten champion. They beat Rose Bowl representative Wisconsin. Now the fourth best SEC team is steam rolling the Spartans. Not even Ohio State's win over Arkansas could make up for the negative image the Michigan State loss gave the Big Ten.

Thank you to everyone who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Auburn vs. TCU: Who would win?"

College Football Haven Top 25, Final, 2010

The Auburn Tigers are the College Football Haven 2010 National Champions! What about TCU? It is tempting to have a split national championship, especially since I think it is far from a foregone conclusion that Auburn would beat TCU. However, I have made a decision to never have a split national champion. Unlike other polls, College Football Haven will not hesitate to strip Auburn of the title, and award it to TCU, if sometime in the future it is concluded that either Auburn or Cam Newton did violate NCAA rules.

I am not going to belabor the point on the final rankings. They speak for themselves, except that I have included each team’s preseason ranking in parenthesis (OTW = Others to watch). At the end is a list of teams ranked in the preseason, but are not ranked in the final rankings.

1. Auburn, 14-0 (OTW)
LAST: Beat Oregon 22-19.
How will Gene Chizik follow this one up?

2. TCU, 13-0 (4)
LAST: Beat Wisconsin 21-19.
Would love to see TCU square off with Auburn.

3. Oregon, 12-1 (21)
LAST: Lost to Auburn 22-19.
Despite sour end, it was a great, great year for the Ducks.

4. Stanford, 12-1 (OTW)
LAST: Beat Virginia Tech 40-12.
Best season in 70 years. Soak it in this off season, Cardinal fans.

5. Ohio State, 12-1 (6)
LAST: Beat Arkansas 31-26.
Finally got that SEC monkey off their back.

6. Nevada, 13-1 (NR)
LAST: Beat Boston College 20-13.
What would Nevada give to redo that trip to Hawaii?

7. Boise State, 12-1 (1)
LAST: Beat Utah 26-3.
Could have been Boise’s best team ever. Fate played a cruel trick.

8. Wisconsin, 11-2 (11)
LAST: Lost to TCU 21-19.
Lots of great moments for the Badgers this year.

9. LSU, 11-2 (18)
LAST: Beat Texas A&M 41-24.
Very good rebound year for the Tigers. Is a national championship next?

10. Oklahoma, 12-2 (2)
LAST: Beat UConn 48-20.
The BCS monkey is off the Sooners’ back.

11. Oklahoma State, 11-2 (NR)
LAST: Beat Arizona 36-10.
Special season for the Cowboys. Good to see it end on a positive note.

12. Alabama, 10-3 (5)
LAST: Beat Michigan State 49-7.
We knew it would be very, very difficult to repeat, but it would be easier to accept the results if the Tide didn’t blow that 24-0 lead against bitter rival Auburn.

13. Arkansas, 10-3 (10)
LAST: Lost to Ohio State 31-26.
Can Bobby Petrino replace Ryan Mallet?

14. Michigan State, 11-2 (NR)
LAST: Lost to Alabama 49-7.
Two ugly losses marred an otherwise terrific season.

15. Missouri, 10-3 (NR)
LAST: Lost to Iowa 27-24.
Surprise team from the Big 12.

16. Virginia Tech, 11-3 (13)
LAST: Lost to Stanford 40-12.
The Hokies need to carry the ACC banner better.

17. UCF, 11-3 (NR)
LAST: Beat Georgia 10-6.
Best season in school history.

18. Texas A&M, 9-4 (NR)
LAST: Lost to LSU 41-24.
This season has some weird twists, but still had several marquee moments.

19. Nebraska, 10-4 (12)
LAST: Lost to Washington 19-7.
A season with a lot of promise ends with identical record as 2009.

20. Florida State, 10-4 (17)
LAST: Beat South Carolina 26-17.
Good start to the Jimbo Fisher era.

21. Utah, 10-3 (NR)
LAST: Lost to Boise State 26-3.
Very hard to figure out the Utes this year. Might be in for a rude awakening next year in the Pac-12.

22. Northern Illinois, 11-3 (NR)
LAST: Beat Fresno State 40-17.
Impressive year for the Huskies.

23. Mississippi State, 9-4 (NR)
LAST: Beat Michigan 52-14.
Break out year for the bulldogs.

24. Maryland, 9-4 (NR)
LAST: Beat East Carolina 51-20.
Terp fans need to focus on the good from this year. Worry about the weird coaching events later.

25. Tulsa, 10-3 (NR)
LAST: Beat Hawaii 62-35.
Would have liked to see Tulsa face UCF in CUSA championship game.

Preseason Drop Outs:
15-Oregon State
19-Penn State
20-Georgia Tech
22-North Carolina

Previous Top 25:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week 5
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14