Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is expected to beat out Wisconsin running back Melvin Gordon and Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper when the most recognized individual trophy in sports is presented Saturday night (7 p.m. on ESPN).
The Big 12 and some of its schools have waged PR and marketing campaigns in recent years to promote and advance accomplishments, so the conference shouldn’t have an awareness issue. But in at least one area, a disconnect may exist between how the Big 12 is perceived nationally and how it views itself, and that could have played into decisions made on the College Football Playoff bracket.
Baylor and TCU own 11-1 records. The Horned Frogs’ loss was against the Bears in Waco. In any-tie breaking formula, the head-to-head result carries the day. But in the latest rankings released by the committee that will select and seed the four teams for the College Football Playoff bracket, TCU is ranked third and the Bears sixth, with Florida State and Ohio State in between.
The hiring of Mike Riley as Nebraska’s next football coach might be unspectacular, but he appears to be the anti-Bo Pelini, in personality and deed. Pelini may have won more at Nebraska than Riley at Oregon State. But Nebraska made it clear that first-place finishes are expected. The 15-year drought of conference championships is unacceptable.
Twice in the last 12 years, Nebraska has fired a football coach who had won at least 71 percent of his games and finished 9-3 in his final season. In 2003, it was Frank Solich. On Sunday, it was Bo Pelini. “We just weren’t able to win enough games that mattered,” said Cornhuskers athletic director Shawn Eichorst.
Tens of thousands of local kids go without enough food on weekends. The Star is partnering with Harvesters to raise money for the area’s hungriest children. All money goes to Harvesters’ BackSnack program, which provides low-income children weekend meals. Just $25 provides a child BackSnacks for a month; $250 provides BackSnacks for a year. Everyone who donates before Christmas Eve will be entered in a drawing for a football autographed by Chiefs running back Jamaal Charles.
The Pac-12 has been one of the strongest major conferences over the past several years but it has only one appearance in college football’s championship game since the 2005 season. The Oregon Ducks are poised to break the trend if they doesn’t trip up against Oregon State or in the conference title game.
ACC commissioner John Swofford suggested eight teams and not four would be the ideal number for the College Football Playoff. The thinking is a good one. Make room for the five champions of the power conferences and three at-large teams.
Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon was sensational with an NCAA-record 408 rushing yards Sunday as the Badgers beat Nebraska 59-24, but what does it say about the Cornhuskers? Perhaps that the program coach Bo Pelini took over seven years ago isn’t ready for a return to national prominence.
Not that scheduling college football games at Arrowhead Stadium was ever a simple task. Take Thursday for instance. On the day that the Chiefs and Missouri jointly announced a game for next season — Brigham Young in November — the NFL team had another piece of news to deliver a few hours later.
The New York Times measured college football fandom by “likes” on Facebook, and there were a few surprises. But not at the top. Alabama leads the nation, and Nebraska is second. But in some football-centric states like Texas and Florida, the percentages are down.
Schedule strength, head-to-head results against common opponents, championships and other factors are among the criteria the College Football Playoff Committee will use to determine which teams play in the inaugural playoff. But a twist looms in the Big 12, the type of entanglement that gave the BCS leaders fits and damaged its credibility.
By early Sunday morning we’ll have projected another foursome while awaiting the playoff committee’s ranking on Tuesday. But the math won’t change: Four spots won’t accommodate five power conference teams.
Kansas State leads the Big 12 Conference. Missouri tops the Southeastern Conference’s East division. Perhaps the only way to get to the College Football Playoff is by a conference championship. It’s easier to get there from first place, where the Wildcats and Tigers reside three-quarters of the way through the season.
Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston can’t seem to stay out of trouble, and that gives the Seminoles image problems, even with its former coach, Bobby Bowden. But Florida State keeps winning, and college football has no choice but to deal with its success.
Halftime of the college football has arrived as as usual, much of the news is in the South. Mississippi schools are stunningly good, and autograph issues have benched Georgia star running back Todd Gurley, with Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston also caught up in signatures.
No college sport has embraced the transfer culture like men’s basketball. With Iowa State leading the way, the league has welcomed several Division I transfers and several figure to make an impact this season.