BCS Conference Expansion and the Consequences

Recently, it has come to light that many of the BCS conference are looking to expand and realign.

The consequences of this move could have ripple effects around the college football landscape and have immediate and large effects on the Bowl Championship Series.

During the past few seasons, the Atlantic Coast Conference, Southeastern Conference and Big 12 Conference have all been able to hold conference championship game because they all have 12 member schools. By the rules set out by the BCS, only conferences with 12 teams are allowed to hold conference championship games.

Teams from conferences that don’t have 12 teams have cried foul about the rule, saying that the ability of schools of these three conferences to hold a championship game and give one team another quality win gave those three conferences a better shot at securing a BCS National Title game bid, because of the effect of a final-week game on the human and computer elements of the BCS rankings.

And sure enough, this season saw the winner of the SEC Championship Game and the Big 12 Championship Game get bids to the national title game, a circumstance that was almost preordained before the season even started.

Now it has been revealed that the Big 10 and Pac 10 are both looking into securing enough teams to hold their own conference championship game. The reasons behind the expansion reach further than simply a boost in the BCS, as both are looking at gaining an upper hand in television rights negotiations, but the fact remains the same. Five conferences with 12 teams, and therefore five conference championship games would have a major impact on the BCS.

No longer would the Big 10 have the convience of waiting for good teams to loose and submit Ohio State to the BCS National Title game for all those years in the mid 2000’s. No longer would the Pac-10 be robbed of the chance to submit USC to the National Title game because they played a 6-6 UCLA on their final weekend, and not a 9-3 California or 8-4 Oregon State.

The Big 12 and SEC would no longer hold an upper hand on the final weekend, and the computers and even the human elements would have to notice. And this would change things drastically.

And with the current revolt in Congress and the Senate against the BCS, this move towards change could only further confuse what could be a huge opportunity for big change in the college football landscape and the way that the Football Bowl Subdivision crowns its champion.

Alabama and Texas Vie For A National Title

NATIONALTITLEPreviewTexas Longhorns (13-0) vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (13-0)

The storyline of this BCS National Title game has been building since the beginning of the season, when it seemed — even then — a foregone conclusion that the SEC champs would face off against Texas for the BCS title. And all these weeks later, after Alabama and Texas finished their regular season just the way they hoped to when the season began, the two will meet up in Pasadena for the BCS national title.

Mark Ingram and Colt McCoy, two Heisman finalists, will once again continue a long trend of Heisman finalists featuring prominently in the national championship game.

Most importantly, since these storylines have been building all season, lets get into the meat of the preview, because you’ve heard anything else that could be said already.

Offense: Colt McCoy has proven time and again that he is a winner during his career. However, this will be his first opportunity to win a national title. McCoy leads one of the nation’s most prolific offenses as one of the nation’s most prolific passers. McCoy’s senior season took a cue from the rest of his seasons, high completion percentage, tons of yards and he kept the turnovers down. McCoy didn’t even need to play entire games for most of this season, as the Longhorn offense was good enough to carry games without him.

Mark Ingram and Greg McElroy picked apart the Florida Gator defense in the SEC Championship Game, and come into the BCS National Title game as one of the most explosive offensive units in the country. Obviously Ingram’s statistical marvel of a season has helped to key the Tide’s success this year, but that is not to say that other pieces are equally important as the team scored a strong 31 points per game.

Defense: The Longhorn defense certainly looked strong in the Big 12 Championship Game against Nebraska, but the Cornhusker offense doesn’t really hold a candle to what the Tide bring to the table in terms of sheer offensive power. Ingram, McElroy, Julio Jones, and even return man Javier Arenas will be tough to stop like the Longhorns stopped the Huskers. The Longhorn defense did struggle to stop some mediocre opponents this season, giving up 39 to Texas A&M and 24 to Texas Tech. Performances like that will doom the Longhorns early.

Alabama, for all its strength on offense, may actually be strongest on the defensive side of the ball. The unit ranked first in the nation in scoring defense and second in total defense and rushing defense. However, the challenge will be stopping Colt McCoy, Jordan Shipley and the Longhorn passing offense. Not to worry, however, the Tide also led the nation in pass efficiency defense.

Prediction: Alabama 32 vs. Texas 21. This is being cast as a David vs. Goliath-type matchup between the favorite Tide and “underdog” Longhorns. It’s certainly not that. However, Alabama is just better enough than the Longhorns on both sides of the ball and even on special teams to warrant the favorite status, one which they’ll live up to. McCoy, for all his winning in college, will leave without a national title.

Florida and Cincinnati Set to Entertain at the Sugar Bowl

SUGARBOWLPreview

Cincinnati Bearcats (12-0) vs. Florida Gators (12-1)

A couple of votes here or there earlier in the season, or more help from the computers, and we could have easily been talking about Cincinnati playing in the National Championship Game. But the BCS conspired against those hopes for the undefeated Bearcats and the Big East champs were instead rewarded with a Sugar Bowl bid against an equally disappointed Florida Gators squad.

On a 22-game winning streak, the Gators faltered in the most important game of their season — the SEC Championship Game — and were unable to continue their run at back-to-back championships. However, Tim Tebow and the senior class will want to end their season on a high note in New Orleans.

The Big East isn’t supposed to be a power conference, but the Bearcats were about as powerful as they came this season in terms of offensive output, and a victory here might do wonders for the Big East moving forward. Lets get into the meat of the preview:

Offense: The quarterback duo of Zach Collaros and Tony Pike together headed the Big East’s most productive offense — their output was so prolific that many suggested the two be entered for Heisman contention as on entity, saying that Collaros and Pike together were more productive than any other quarterback in the nation, which isn’t far from the truth. Cincinnati can strike at any time, at any place on the field, and that quick-strike ability helped them avoid an upset on the final day of the season when they had to come back from a six-point deficit with time running out. Wide receiver/kick returner Mardy Gilyard contributes to firepower of the offense, in the mold of former Gator Percy Harvin.

Without Harvin, the Gator offense struggled a bit this season, but once again senior quarterback Tim Tebow led one of the SEC’s most prolific offensive teams. scoring less than 20 only twice. Tebow broke a bevy of SEC records in his final season including the career rushing touchdown mark. Tebow’s favorite mark, tight-end Aaron Hernandez, also helped lead the team’s offense, which averaged 442 yards per game.

Defense: Florida prides itself on its defense, led by coordinator Charlie Strong. Strong’s apparent ascension to the head coaching spot at Louisville may be a distraction for a squad that let up more than 20 points just once — in that SEC Championship Game to Alabama’s offense. Defensive end Carlos Dunlap, who was last season’s BCS National Title Game defensive MVP was suspended for that game, and his status for the Sugar Bowl remains to be seen. The Gators certainly missed his presence against Mark Ingram, Greg McElroy and the Tide offense last weekend.

Defensive was certainly a weak spot for the Bearcats in their final regular season game, where they let freshman Pitt running back Dion Lewis run all over them as they were seemingly unable to stop the Panthers at any point during the game. In their last four games, the Bearcats have given up 44, 36, 41 and 45 points to their opponents, something they cannot do against Florida and still hope to win.

Prediction: Florida 42 vs. Cincinnati 21. Despite the fact that the Gators will be disappointed to be at the Sugar Bowl and not in the National Championship Game, coach Urban Meyer will have them fired up to face his alma mater. Tim Tebow and the Gator offense will tear up the Bearcat D, and Tony Pike’s offensive efficiency will not be enough to match the Gators score for score.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Capsules Week 13

accsecpac10Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Clemson (Atlantic Division; 8-4, 6-2) and Georgia Tech (Coastal Division; 10-2, 7-1) have both clinched their respective divisions and will meet for the ACC Championship Game and the ACC’s BCS bowl bid.

Game of Last Week: NC State 28 vs. UNC 27. A blocked field goal secured victory for the Wolfpack and let NC State fans rejoice even though their team will not be making a bowl this season

Game of Next Week: Georgia Tech vs. Clemson. The ACC Championship Game will be between two teams coming off tough losses to rivals, and will be looking to cap off good seasons with a BCS bowl bid.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Boston College Golden Eagles, Miami Hurricanes, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Virginia Tech Hokies, North Carolina Tar Heels, Florida State Seminoles, Clemson Tigers.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (9-2, 7-1)

Lurking: Oregon State (8-3, 6-2)

Game of Last Week: Arizona 20 vs. Arizona State 17. After painting the huge “A” on the hillside at Arizona State in Wildcat red, the Wildcats took a victory in this western rivalry game on a last second field goal.

Game of Next Week: Oregon vs. Oregon State. Another de facto conference championship game – on a Thursday – the winner likely heading to the Rose Bowl as the Pac-10’s BCS bid receiving team.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, California Bears, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon State Beavers, UCLA Bruins.

SEC

Conference Leaders: Florida (East Division; 12-0, 8-0) and Alabama (12-0, 8-0) have both clinched their respective divisions and will face off in the SEC Championship Game for a bid in the National Title game and the SEC’s automatic BCS bowl bid.

Game of Last Week: Tennessee 30 vs. Kentucky 24. A game for possible bowl positioning, the Volunteers took a huge game from Montario Hardesty and beat Kentucky for the 25th straight time.

Game of Next Week: Alabama vs. Florida. The SEC Championship Game will be a national semifinal, and the loser will likely still get a bid to a BCS bowl game.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Running Rebels, Kentucky Wildcats, Georgia Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks, Tennessee Volunteers.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Capsules Week 12

accsecpac10Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Clemson (Atlantic Division; 8-3, 6-2) and Georgia Tech (Coastal Division; 10-1, 7-1) have both clinched their respective divisions and will meet for the ACC Championship Game December 5th

Game of Last Week: Clemson 34 vs. Virginia 21. With the Atlantic Division waiting to be claimed after Boston College lost, the Tigers took full advantage, aas a full team effort allowed Clemson to claim victory on Senior Day

Game of Next Week: Virginia vs. Virginia Tech. With few inter-conference battles scheduled for next Saturday, this rivalry game is sure to be a good one.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Boston College Golden Eagles, Miami Hurricanes, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Virginia Tech Hokies, North Carolina Tar Heels, Florida State Seminoles.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (9-2, 7-1)

Lurking: Oregon State (8-3, 6-2)

Game of Last Week: Oregon 44 vs. Arizona 41. With both teams looking for a bid to the Rose Bowl, this double overtime thriller in Arizona left just Oregon and Oregon State with a chance at making the Rose Bowl, and the two will face off on Thursday, Decemeber 3rd.

Game of Next Week: USC vs. UCLA. Both programs aren’t what they expected to be this year, so a victory here in their biggest rivalry game would be huge for either team

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, California Bears, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon State Beavers, UCLA Bruins.

SEC

Conference Leaders: Florida (11-0, 8-0) and Alabama (11-0, 7-0) have both clinched spots in the SEC Championship Game by winning their respective divisions in the SEC.

Game of Last Week: Ole Miss 25 vs. LSU 23. LSU, down all game, drove all the way down the field and had one second left to stop the clock and kick a field goal, but the clock ran out on the Tigers, and gave the Running Rebels a big upset victory at home.

Game of Next Week: Alabama vs. Auburn. There still remains the chance that a loss here could send the BCS into frenzy, and Auburn may just be the team to give the BCS a jolt by shocking the Crimson Tide.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Running Rebels, Kentucky Wildcats, Georgia Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks, Tennessee Volunteers.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Capsules Week 11

accsecpac10Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Clemson (Atlantic Division; 7-3, 5-2), Georgia Tech (Clinched Coastal Division; 10-1, 7-1)

Lurking: Boston College (Atlantic Division; 7-3, 4-2)

Game of Last Week: North Carolina 33 vs. Miami (FL) 24. Miami continues to slip with Jacory Harris at the helm, as the QB throws three picks and the Tar Heels pull the upset

Game of Next Week: North Carolina vs. Boston College. If BC wants to keep its BCS hopes alive, it must win this matchup against a revitalized UNC team.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Boston College Golden Eagles, Miami Hurricanes, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Virginia Tech Hokies, North Carolina Tar Heels.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (8-2, 6-1)

Lurking: Stanford (7-3, 6-2)

Game of Last Week: Stanford 55 vs. USC 21. The worst loss in Pete Carroll’s era comes at the hands of the suddenly very relevant Cardinal team.

Game of Next Week: Oregon vs. Arizona. This would have been integral in the Pac-10 title chase, but Arizona’s loss makes it a little less intense, but still very important in the grand scheme of the Pac-10 this year.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, California Bears, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon State Beavers.

SEC

Conference Leaders: Florida (10-0, 8-0) and Alabama (10-, 7-0) have both clinched spots in the SEC Championship Game by winning their respective divisions in the SEC.

Game of Last Week: Georgia 31 vs. Auburn 24. The Bulldogs become bowl eligible by defeating the Tigers by a slim margin, using a fourth quarter comeback to secure the victory.

Game of Next Week: LSU vs. Ole Miss. A big game for bowl selection from the SEC. The winner here might get a New Year’s Day Capital One Bowl bid.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Running Rebels, Kentucky Wildcats, Georgia Bulldogs, Arkansas Razorbacks.

ACC, Pac-10 and SEC Capsules Week Ten

accsecpac10Atlantic Coast Conference

Conference Leaders: Clemson (Atlantic Division; 6-3, 4-2), Georgia Tech (Coastal Division 9-1, 6-1)

Lurking: Boston College (Atlantic Division; 6-3, 3-2)

Game of Last Week: Georgia Tech 30 vs. Wake Forest 27. Josh Nesbitt’s rushing TD in overtime helped keep Georgia Tech among the best in the country, outlasting a tough Demon Deacon team.

Game of Next Week: Georgia Tech vs. Duke. The surprising Blue Devils at 3-2 in conference face off against the equally surprising and class of the ACC Yellow Jackets

Bowl Eligible Teams: Boston College Golden Eagles, Miami Hurricanes, Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, Virginia Tech Hokies.

Pac-10

Conference Leader: Oregon (7-2, 5-1)

Lurking: Arizona (6-2, 4-1)

Game of Last Week: Stanford 51 vs. Oregon 42. Coming off a huge, program-changing victory over USC, the Ducks failed to follow it up, falling to the unranked Cardinal in Palo Alto and seeing their seemingly easy track to the Rose Bowl made a whole lot tougher.

Game of Next Week: Stanford vs. USC. The Cardinal will next get a shot at the Trojans, who now trail the Cardinal in the Pac-10 standings, but the meeting will be in LA.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Oregon Ducks, USC Trojans, California Bears, Arizona Wildcats, Stanford Cardinal, Oregon State Beavers.

SEC

Conference Leaders: Florida (East Division; 9-0, 7-0), Alabama (West Division; 9-0, 6-0)

Lurking: Both Florida and Alabama have clinched their divisions, and will face off in the SEC Championship Game.

Game of Last Week: Alabama 24 vs. LSU 15. LSU was looking to make a run at the West Division title, but the Tide put the Tigers away late, mostly on the legs of Mark Ingram, and clinched the West title.

Game of Next Week: Tennessee vs. Ole Miss. Both teams are looking to get to .500 in conference, although Ole Miss looks on its way down as the Volunteers look to be on their way up the SEC rankings.

Bowl Eligible Teams: Florida Gators, Alabama Crimson Tide, South Carolina Gamecocks, LSU Tigers, Auburn Tigers, Ole Miss Running Rebels.