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

Monday, January 10, 2011

Monday Musings: Any Changes to BCS Championship Game For Arizona Shootings?

If you want my Keys to the Game for the Auburn Tigers and the Oregon Ducks in the BCS Championship game tonight, they can be found here, on the Business Insider.

This week in college football was a mixed bag of sorts. The headlines were split between coaching changes and the final bowl games. It is the weekend's national headline, however, that hits home, and leads off this week's Monday Musings.

1. The Arizona Shootings. While there is never a good time for what happened in Arizona over the weekend with U.S. Representative Gabrielle Giffords, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time for college football. The BCS National Championship game will be played in Glendale, AZ tonight. How will this event impact the BCS national championship game? As of 10:53 A.M. Eastern time, the BCS has not made any announcement on its official website regarding the shootings and what might be done for security or otherwise. While the shootings were in Tucson (2 hours south of Glendale), it is 100% appropriate and in order for the pre-game program to be adjusted one or two minutes to offer condolences and hold a moment of silence for everyone who was affected.

2. 4-2. Teams from the BCS non-AQ conferences were 4-2 against teams from AQ conferences. Air Force beat Georgia Tech in the Independence Bowl, Central Florida beat Georgia in the Liberty Bowl, Nevada beat Boston College in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, and TCU highlighted the non-AQ victories by beating Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. Only Southern Mississippi (lost to Louisville in the St. Petersburg Bowl) and East Carolina (lost to Maryland in the Military Bowl) failed to beat their AQ conference opponents.

3. Who needs a coach? Michigan fired Rich Rodriguez last week, but they can’t seem to find anyone to replace him. Who would have thought the Michigan job would ever be so undesirable? Jim Harbaugh is not interested. Brady Hoke doesn’t seem to meet their standards. Les Miles? He is going to need some pretty big reasons to leave Louisiana State after he was …

4. Validated. Even with the national championship in 2007, Les Miles struggled to win over the LSU faithful. He struggled with an 8-5 and a 9-4 season the next two years. With the big win over Texas A&M in the Cotton Bowl, Miles has an 11 win season with HIS players, and likely a top 10 finish. He also led LSU to its best start (7-0) since 1973 (9-0).

5. Hoping to get lucky. Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck, in a bold move, decided to return for his senior season. Recent history shows that he will be lucky to maintain his projected number one pick status. Jake Locker has seen his draft stock drop significantly this year. Colt McCoy had the same thing happen to him. Sam Bradford suffered an injury and was extremely lucky to recover in time for the draft. Tim Tebow also had a scare with a concussion. Matt Leinart dropped from the number one pick to the 10th overall pick. Now with Jim Harbaugh leaving for the NFL, another set of risks and unknowns is thrown into the mix. Luck will be very lucky to keep his lofty draft position after playing one more year.

6. Suicide coaching hire. Incoming Florida Gators coach Will Muschamp proved one thing this week: he is a defensive genius. That is the only reason I can think of that would make him want to hire beleaguered former Notre Dame head coach Charlie Weis as his offensive coordinator. Why anyone in the college ranks would trust their offense to Weis is a mystery to me. Weis belongs in the NFL. Hiring Weis could be suicide to Muschamps’ tenure at Florida, and it hasn’t even started.

7. Wake me up from this nightmare. Coaching the Maryland Terrapins might be some aspiring college coach’s dream job. That aspiring coach better be one who plays with a round, orange ball. For new Maryland coach Randy Edsall to call coaching the football team his dream job makes me think he is having a nightmare. What makes Maryland any different from UConn? He is going from one basketball school in a basketball conference to another. Hurry, somebody pinch that guy.

8. Exposed. Most of us learned our lesson back in September when Virginia Tech lost back-to-back games to Boise State and James Madison. The BCS had to learn the hard way. Stanford exposed Virginia Tech, the ACC automatic qualifying champion, with their 40-12 shellacking in the Orange Bowl last Monday night. Should have pitted the Hokies against UConn. Both the Orange and Fiesta bowls would have been better attended and more competitive.

9. Make the most of it. Knowing they would not get to play again until October next season, the infamous “tattoo 5” for Ohio State made the most of it. They were all key players in the Buckeye’s first bowl win ever against an SEC team--Arkansas, 31-26. Fortunately, those first five games next year will be played against much inferior competition.

10. Who needs a coach? Part 2. The Pittsburgh Panthers lost incumbent coach Dave Wannstedt when he was fired at the end of the season. They lost newly hired head coach Make Heywood literally days later when he was arrested. Going into the BBVA Compass Bowl they still didn’t have a coach. That didn’t seem to matter as the Panthers sent the Kentucky Wildcats back to the blue grass state with their tails between their legs, 27-10.

BCS National Championship: Keys To The Game

With the Auburn Tigers and Oregon Ducks facing off in the BCS National Championship game tonight, I was recently approached by about writing a guest post for them about the "keys to the game" for both Auburn and Oregon. The fine folks at SeatGeek liked my work enough, they took it to the next level, and had one of their partners' sites--Business Insider--publish this piece. Please take a minute and visit this link to read it. 

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Best Move For Jim Harbaugh Is The NFL

Sorry, Stanford Cardinal. Sorry, Michigan Wolverines. The best career move for Jim Harbaugh is to go to the NFL. I have long been a traditionalist and favored successful coaches staying at one school, however, in this case, I have to admit Harbaugh should bolt Stanford and take the best offer he gets in the professional ranks.

Maybe it is because I have no emotional attachment to Stanford. Maybe it is me maturing now that I am five years into my professional career, and I better understand what moving up the ladder is all about. Maybe it is the prolonged recession and the potential for inflation that makes you realize that there is a real difference between making $2 million and $4 million and $6 million a year. Whatever it is, the bottom line is, it just makes sense.

The jump from the NCAA to the NFL can be very difficult. Others have tried and failed. Why, then, is this the best and most logical career move for Harbaugh?

First, the increased earnings. No one in college, regardless of the size of their endowment, their BCS pay out, or their television revenues, will pay Harbaugh what an NFL franchise will pay. It would be irresponsible. Sure, Michigan could match a $6 million offer from the Miami Dolphins, but the Wolverines won’t. The minute the ink would dry on that contract a precedent would be set. Every time a big time program made a hire, the negotiations would start at $6 million. After winning the national championship next week, either Chip Kelly or Gene Chizik will want to renegotiate his contract to make him the highest paid coach in college football. Weren’t we all outraged just a few years ago about coaches with $4 million salaries?

Second, there is no risk. While the jump from college to pros is difficult, there is no risk. If Harbaugh is successful, then he will earn a bigger paycheck every year for the rest of his career than he would if he was coaching college ball. If Harbaugh fails, he can always come back to college. You can call it the Nick Saban/Bobby Petrino/Steve Spurrier model. They all had incredible success in the college ranks, so much so that they could go to the NFL and flop, but still land a head coaching job at big name schools. Harbaugh’s success at Stanford has given him elite status among college coaches. Nothing that happens in the NFL can take that away from him. Worst case scenario is that Harbaugh pockets millions of extra dollars while he learns a few lessons the hard way. He will find several open arms ready to receive him in college football. He can then build a dynasty somewhere, or after another successful run do like Pete Carroll and take another stab at the NFL.

Congratulations Stanford on your best season in 70 years, but get ready to say good-bye to the man who made it possible. Go ahead, Michigan, and focus your search on some else. Jim Harbaugh is NFL bound.

Other recent posts on COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAVEN:
Weekly Trivia: Oklahoma BCS Bowl Wins
Monday Musings: The Big Ten Didn’t Look Like “Murderer’s Row”
Poll Results: How should the NCAA punish the Ohio State players involved in the tattoo scandal?
Game Predictions: BCS Bowls 

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Weekly Trivia: Oklahoma BCS Bowl Wins

The answer to last week's trivia question, " Which FBS conference won the Bowl Challenge Cup in 2009-10?" is the Mountain West Conference with a 4-1 record.

On to this week's question. Oklahoma beat UConn in the Fiesta Bowl to reverse their recent trend in BCS bowls—lose when favored. This week’s trivia question is:
When was Oklahoma’s last BCS bowl win?
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.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Monday Musings: The Big Ten Didn’t Look Like “Murderer’s Row”

The second week of bowls has given us a lot to talk/think about this week.

1. Murderer’s Row got murdered. We all know that Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee stuck his foot in his mouth back in November with his comments that playing the Big Ten conference schedule was “like murderer’s row every week.” We just didn’t realize how far his foot went in his mouth. Murderer’s row got murdered New Year’s Day. The Big Ten was 0-5 in bowl games, and many of them were not pretty. Michigan was destroyed 52-14 by Mississippi State. Michigan State was obliterated by Alabama 49-7. Penn State played horrible against a bad Florida team and lost 37-24. Northwestern couldn’t hang with Texas Tech long enough and lost 45-38. Last, but not least, Big Ten Champion Wisconsin lost to none other than … TCU. Five teams—that’s half the conference. So, if the Big Ten is murderer’s row, then what does that make the SEC (three of the five Big Ten opponents were SEC teams)? A mine field? A rainstorm of nuclear bombs?

2. Where’s the backup quarterback? Penn State quarterback Matthew McGloin had a terrible game in the Outback Bowl against Florida. He was just 17 of 41 for 211 yards, with one touchdown and 5 interceptions. At what point do you bring in the back up quarterback? No surprise that it was an 80-yard interception return for a touchdown that put the nail in the coffin.

3. Nothing says New Year’s Day like infomercials. I turned the television to ABC to watch the Rose Bowl and found an infomercial. Later that night, I turned back to ABC to see what was in place of the Fiesta Bowl. More infomercials. What kind of a decision was that to move the biggest bowl games of the day to cable? How do you cost justify running infomercials on a Saturday during prime time? I don’t think they paid anywhere close to the amount advertisers would have paid for commercials during the Rose and Fiesta Bowls. ESPN has commitments to air plenty of snoozer “sporting” events during the year, so why not schedule the World Series of Poker or some fascinating X games while you broadcast the bowls on your sister station ABC.

4. Not like it used to be. Notre Dame and Miami renewed their rivalry in the Sun Bowl. It was 30-3 in the fourth quarter. Not quite the drama that we were used to 20 years ago. At least no fights broke out this time.

5. A plus-one system for the FSC? A plus-one system can’t be agreed upon for the football bowl subdivision of college football, but what about one for the Florida State Championship? With UCF beating a SEC team in its bowl to finish 11-3 and Florida State beating another SEC team in its bowl to finish 10-4, who is the best team in the state of Florida? I would love to see UCF and Florida State play one last game to settle the state championship.

6. The Holiday Bowl really was a holiday. Nebraska took the name of its bowl game a little too literally. Losing 19-7 to the same Washington Huskies that they beat 56-21 earlier this year, in Seattle, the Cornhuskers shouldn’t have even bothered to show up for the game. It’s a good thing that the Holiday Bowl payout is one of the better non-BCS bowl game payouts; otherwise, that would have been a total waste for Nebraska.

7. Upset alert. Five ranked teams lost to unranked or lower ranked teams last week. Ironically, Oklahoma wasn’t one of them. Number 12 Missouri lost to unranked Iowa. North Carolina State took down number 22 West Virginia. Number 20 South Carolina fell to number 23 Florida State. Number 18 Nebraska mailed it in against Washington. The 9th ranked Michigan State Spartans were clobbered by number 16 Alabama. LSU and Nevada better be paying attention.

8. Model of consistency. Oklahoma State wide receiver Justin Blackmon had his 12th consecutive 100-yard receiving game when he logged 117 yards against Arizona in the Alamo Bowl. That is a new NCAA record for consecutive 100-yard receiving games and for the most receiving yards by a sophomore (sorry, Larry Fitzgerald). Blackmon reached the 100-yard milestone in every game played this year.

9. Time to relieve Rich Rod. I have argued for Michigan to retain Rich Rodriguez for 2011, but now I am switching sides. The 52-14 loss to Mississippi State shows that the players don’t want, and won’t, play for him. Michigan brass made it clear they were waiting for the bowl game to make a final decision. Okay men, time to rise up. One last chance to save your coach’s job. The players made it known how they feel. Don’t forget that Rodriguez doesn’t want to make the coaching changes necessary to improve the defense, either.

10. Loophole Lovers. The NCAA loves loopholes. It became known this week that the real reason that the five suspended Ohio State players were allowed to participate in the upcoming Sugar Bowl is because a loophole in the rules that allows suspended players to play in bowl games because of “the unique opportunity these events provide at the end of a season.” What about redshirted players? Why not let them play as well? This might be the only time in their careers that they make it to a bowl game. As if this loophole wasn’t enough, the NCAA needed to create another one with the Cam Newton situation earlier in the season.

Poll Results: How should the NCAA punish the Ohio State players involved in the tattoo scandal?

The poll has closed and tying with 35% of the vote each was to suspend the five players for the "bowl game and four games next year" and to suspend the players for the "bowl game and all of next year." Suspending for the "bowl game and three games next year" received 24% of the vote, and "play in bowl, but suspend for all of next year" received the remaining 6 percent.

I understand the loophole (bowl games are unique), and the delicate situation (multi-party agreements with major $$$ tied to them) the bowl presents. I also understand how sensitive some people can be with the items sold, which could make no punishment too severe. My vote would be for the same five games, but for it to kick in immediately, meaning suspended for the bowl game and the first four games next season.

The timing of all this really gave the NCAA a black eye. If they were going to wait until the 2011 season to start the suspension, then why not wait until after the bowl game and the deadline to declare for the NFL draft to announce the suspensions? The NCAA took years to rule in the Reggie Bush/USC case, they could easily come up with a way to prolong this investigation another three or four weeks. It sure would have helped diffuse all this controversy.

Thanks to all who voted. Don't forget to vote in this week's poll: "Which New Year's Day loss was the worst for the Big Ten?"

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Game Predictions: BCS Bowls

It is time to give my predictions for the BCS bowls. To view my non-BCS bowl predictions, click here.

January 1
Rose Bowl
TCU vs. Wisconsin, 28-21 TCU
Hawaii is the only non-AQ team to ever lose a BCS bowl game.

Fiesta Bowl
Oklahoma vs. UConn, 27-24 UConn
Until Oklahoma wins a BCS game that they should, I will keep picking the underdog.

January 3
Orange Bowl
Stanford vs. Virginia Tech, 35-21 Stanford
The Hokies have finally met their match.

January 4
Sugar Bowl
Arkansas vs. Ohio State, 28-24 Ohio State
The Buckeyes finally beat a SEC team, but was the controversy worth it?

January 10
BCS National Championship Game
Oregon vs. Auburn, 36-34 Oregon
A surprise 2 point conversion will be the difference.