Tag:Mountain West
Posted on: January 26, 2011 6:59 pm
Edited on: January 26, 2011 7:02 pm
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No change in Mountain West TV contracts

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

There's been plenty of news to come out of the Mountain West's presidents meeting this week, most of which are covered here by the Idaho Statesman's Chad Crippe following a discussion with commissioner Craig Thompson. To recap: the TCU-Boise State game will be moved to Boise; the conference won't invite Utah State and San Jose State to join, despite reports to the contrary, and looks set at 10 teams for the foreseeable future; and various scheduling details have been ironed out, like placing the TCU-Boise marquee matchup at season's end and giving each team two rivalry games that won't rotate off the eight-game schedule.

But one detail from Crippe's report shouldn't escape notice, even among the expansion madness and TCU-Boise brouhaha:
[Thompson] did not collect bids from the TV partners based on an expanded league. “Because I didn’t know specifically who we’d be talking about,” he said ... The Mountain West is talking only with its current TV partners. Colorado State president Tony Frank told The Coloradoan that he doesn’t expect the TV money to change significantly from the current $12 million per year.
So no new television partners, and no major changes to a contract that runs through the 2015-2016 season? That's not what fans of the Mountain West want to hear, not when that contract offers the entire conference some $3 million less than ESPN is paying Texas by itself for the forthcoming "Longhorn Network."

The lack of television exposure (despite MWC games airing weekly on the excellent CBS College Sports, now in 94 million homes !) and, more importantly, television money is explicitly what's driven league mainstay BYU into football independence, and severely hampered the conference's efforts to keep other departed members Utah and TCU. While the MWC doesn't appear to be in any further danger of having its current 10 teams poached by larger leagues, that San Diego State and the Big 12 have had some measure of contact shows that that danger isn't entirely passed.

And besides: every year the MWC accepts relative peanuts while the Texases of the world get fatter and fatter on their TV deals, the gap between the conference and the BCS gate they want so desperately to crash will only widen. In short, a new, richer TV contract will be a key part of the MWC's long-term success ... and if it's not on the immediate horizon, it's fair to question how high the ceiling on that success can rise.
Posted on: January 26, 2011 10:12 am
Edited on: January 26, 2011 10:13 am
 

Did Big 12 consider adding San Diego State?

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

San Diego State president and Mountain West board of directors member Stephen Weber didn't drop any bombshells when it came to discussing why the league declined to extend the expected invitations to Utah State and San Jose State yesterday. "We got into the generic question of, 'Do any of these teams that have been talked about add value?'" he said of the board's discussions, "[and] right now we didn’t see any."

So that's pretty straightforward, if even a little more straightforward than the apparently value-less Aggies and Spartans would like to hear. But when discussing his own school's potential conference affiiliations, Weber got a lot more intriguing:

“The issue gets to be interesting when you start looking at an increasingly successful athletic program and a large TV market,” Weber said of SDSU. “I know others have looked at exactly those issues. When it’s something that will be attractive to them, if ever, I can’t guess.”

Asked if the Big 12 , now down to 10 members, had expressed interest in SDSU, Weber said, “I can’t talk about that.”

He did say no other conferences have approached SDSU about membership.

Contrast Weber's two responses here. When asked if any other league had made any sort of overtures to the Aztecs, he flatly says "No." When asked if the Big 12 had made any sort of overture to the Aztecs, he says "I can't talk about that." The conclusion is obvious: someone in the Big 12 has talked to someone at SDSU about possible membership.

Equally obvious is that any firm invitation hasn't yet been extended, or SDSU would have jumped in with both feet. But it would make sense for the Big 12 to already be doing its due diligence on either re-expanding to 12 (conference championship-staging) teams or possibly replacing current members looking to jump ship. And it would make sense -- given the huge San Diego market and their recent football and men's basketball success -- for the Aztecs to be on that due diligence shortlist.

Don't expect any of these discussions to lead anywhere concrete anytime soon; both the Big 12 and the MWC seem firmly committed to the "membership configuration already established" in their respective leagues (to use the term from the MWC's non-expansion confirmation statement yesterday). But if the Big 12 does go hunting for new blood in the near future, we now have a pretty good idea of where they'll turn their attentions first.


Posted on: January 25, 2011 6:42 pm
 

MWC moves TCU/Boise game to Boise

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Feel free to leave the Mountain West, TCU, but don't expect any fond farewells or parting gifts. After rumors surfaced last week that the Mountain West was looking to move the first and last conference game between Boise State and TCU next season from Fort Worth to Boise, the conference made it official on Tuesday evening.

Here is the statement from the Mountain West about the scheduling change.
After carefully considering all sides of the issue, the MWC Board of Directors decided to implement the change in the 2011 football schedule as had been recommended by the athletics directors. TCU will now play at Boise State, while Boise State's contest with San Diego State will be played in San Diego. The Board felt the change was in the best interest of the Mountain West Conference and would help address current and future scheduling concerns created by the new set of circumstances which stemmed from another change in membership.
The first sentence was edited quite a bit. It originally said "after carefully considering all sides of the issue, and then deciding we don't care about TCU's side since they're leaving." Or at least, that's how I read it. I know it's just a single game, but it's a pretty big game. Odds are that if any team from the Mountain West is going to be in a BCS bowl next season, it'll be either Boise State or TCU. There's a very real possibility that the game will serve as a MWC Championship of sorts, and to have it moved north to Boise has a huge impact on how things could turn out.
Posted on: January 20, 2011 11:22 am
Edited on: January 20, 2011 12:20 pm
 

Texas Tech ditches TCU game...again

Posted by Tom Fornelli

It seems as though nobody wants to play TCU these days.  The school is in a bit of a bind with its 2011 schedule as both BYU and Utah will be leaving the Mountain West, leaving two open dates, and Boise State is trying to get its date with the Horned Frogs moved from Fort Worth to Boise.  Then there's Texas Tech.  Texas Tech was scheduled to play TCU in 2010, but when ESPN decided it wanted to air Tech's game with Texas on the same day, the Red Raiders dropped the game.  ESPN then helped set up TCU's game against Oregon State.

Well, Texas Tech's decided it enjoyed not playing TCU so much in 2010, it's going to do the same thing in 2011, as the Raiders have once again dropped TCU from the schedule.  News that TCU AD Chris Del Conte doesn't sound all that thrilled to hear.

"It's a done deal for sure," Del Conte told the Star-Telegram. "Nothing has been determined for the future; we're negotiating that right now."

"To me it was a little late in the game [to change the schedule]. They knew Nebraska was going to the Big Ten eight months ago. We would have had more time [to find a new opponent] if they had told us earlier. It's disappointing we couldn't make the game work. I did everything possible."

The reason Texas Tech backed out of the game is because the new Big 12, the one with ten teams, will be playing a round robin conference schedule in 2011.  Which means the amount of conference games increases from eight to nine, and that eliminates one non-conference game.  So when looking at its slate of non-conference games next season, Tech saw TCU, New Mexico and Nevada and decided to say sayonara to TCU.  

Texas Tech says it hopes to reschedule the game sometime in the future.  No doubt it's hoping that TCU is a bit weaker by then.
Posted on: January 19, 2011 5:51 pm
 

MWC may move Frogs vs. Broncos to Boise

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

One of the unfortunate end results of TCU's jump to the Big East just as Boise State arrives in the Mountain West is that what ought to be the biggest, best rivalry in all of college football mid-majordom will last for just one season: this fall's, when the Broncos are scheduled to travel to Fort Worth for a rematch of the 2010 Fiesta Bowl.

But those travel plans could change, according to this report from the Idaho Statesman's Chadd Cripe , in which MWC commissioner Craig Thompson acknowledges the league is considering changing the venue for the one-and-only conference meeting between the Frogs and Broncos to Boise. The decision will be made by a vote of MWC presidents--a vote from which TCU, by virtue of their Big East defection, will be forced to abstain.

But why bother with such major alterations to the league's slate -- one of Boise's current home dates would have to become a road game to accommodate the change -- at such a relatively late date? You guessed it: your favorite scapegoat and mine, the BCS:
Moving the game to Boise would make sense for the future of the Mountain West. As the league chases an automatic bid for the Bowl Championship Series, it gets to count results from Boise State and TCU for the evaluation period that ends in 2011 (2008-11). But for the next period, which runs from 2010 to 2013, the Mountain West gets Boise State’s results and TCU’s results carry over to the Big East. The Mountain West and Big East could be competing with each other for BCS positioning in that cycle.
No, offering TCU this kind of a kick in the pants as they head out the MWC door wouldn't be particularly sporting. But the Frogs' choice to bolt the conference just as it geared up for its big push for a BCS automatic bid wasn't too gentlemanly, either. When (speaking in the long term) the MWC's very survival could be riding on joining the BCS boys' club, they can't afford to gain every possible advantage they can.

It's not nice. But it's the right decision. In the brave new world of conference expansion, realpolitik is the only guideline that matters. Now, if the Broncos will just do their new conference home the favor of winning ...

HT: GTP .

Posted on: January 19, 2011 5:29 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 5:30 pm
 

Headset Reset: Welcome to the Pac-12 and Big Ten

Posted by Adam Jacobi

"Headset Reset " is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Pac-12 and Big Ten.

DAVID SHAW, Stanford

Why him? Shaw represents a reaffirmation of the Jim Harbaugh regime, which rose from doormat to Pac-10 power with Shaw as offensive coordinator. Stanford AD Bob Bowlsby didn't get Boise State head coach Chris Petersen during negotiations after Harbaugh's departure, but Bowlsby's bona fides in football coach hiring are pretty solid. By hiring Shaw (and interviewing two other in-house candidates), Stanford has told its fans, "it ain't broke, and we're not fixin'."  By 2014, Shaw will need to: perpetuate Stanford's recent successes. Harbaugh isn't the first coach to win at Stanford, and he's also not the first coach to bolt for greener pastures at the first opportunity. So being that Stanford's main opposition in the Pac-12 North is Oregon and four programs with a light history of success (and let's ignore Stanford's time in that role since 40 years ago), there's an opportunity for the Cardinal to assert some authority.  Chances Shaw gets what he needs? Pretty good. Stanford's athletic department has a surprising amount of money, and with Oregon and Nike trying to start an arms race with the rest of the Pac-12, Stanford is one of the few schools that can probably keep up -- as long as it still wants to, anyway.

JON EMBREE, Colorado

Why him? Well, let's just not ask Bill McCartney that question. Past that, Embree was hired because he's a former Buffalo, and it would take a Colorado man to take this job and not flee the first time the Buffaloes put together seven wins in a season. By 2014, Embree will need to: get his team competitive with USC -- or whoever else is atop the Pac-12 South. There's no indication that Colorado's better or even as good as the rest of the division it's entering. CU can thank Dan Hawkins in some respects for that, but really, Colorado football hasn't been relevant for almost 15 years (yes, CU went to two consecutive Big XII Championships ... and lost them by a hilarious combined score of 112-6). Continued sub-mediocrity won't fly, especially as the Buffaloes try to acclimate themselves to a new conference without the strong tradition of success the Big XII had. Chances Embree gets what he needs? Not great. Colorado has struggled with keeping its football program relevant ever since the shared title year of 1990, even with some apparently decent head coaching hires. The move from the Big XII North to the Pac-12 South won't help lighten the Buffaloes' burden any, either. Colorado's struggles could very well be an institutional problem, not a coaching problem, and if that's the case it's probably easy to see how the Jon Embree Era will end in Boulder.

KEVIN WILSON, Indiana

Why him? This might actually be the most surprising hire of 2010, mainly because we didn't know Indiana could do something like this. The Hoosiers tabbed the vaunted Oklahoma offensive coordinator for his first head coaching gig, and they briefly had Boise State WR coach Brent Pease as the offensive coordinator. Hello, points! Problem was, Boise State's OC position opened up, and Pease went back to Boise for that gig, as would most sane coaches. This is still Indiana we're talking about. By 2014, Wilson will need to: prove that his offensive genius wasn't just "hand the ball to Adrian Peterson or DeMarco Murray and watch what happens." It likely wasn't, of course; Texas ably demonstrated this year that there's no such thing as a team too talented to get run into the ground by mediocre coaching. But still, the question remains; what's Wilson going to do when week in and week out, his players are inferior to their opponents? Chances Wilson gets what he needs? The better question here is whether Indiana gets what it needs, which is a solid football program led by a solid coach. That seems unlikely. Either Wilson fails badly in Bloomington like pretty much everyone before him, or he actually puts together a winning season, and starts getting wooed by job offers. What's going to keep Wilson in town when that starts happening? He doesn't have any prior connection to Indiana (both the school and the state itself), and his salary is only ("only") $1.2 million. As soon as he wins six games in a season up there, he's getting phone calls.

BRADY HOKE, Michigan

Why him? Michigan went back to its roots by hiring a former assistant, effectively admitting that the Rich Rodriguez dalliance was a mistake (also conveying that message: firing Rich Rodriguez) and that there was a formula to be followed. Hoke has whipped two programs into shape in short order, and he'll need to do it again at Michigan, which is just a mess. By 2014, Hoke will need to: have Michigan reloading instead of rebuilding. Michigan's biggest challengers in its new division are Nebraska and maybe Iowa or Northwestern. Hoke has no excuses for not routinely making the conference championship (or if not, being just a game out). Beating Ohio State would also be strongly recommended. Chances Hoke gets what he needs? Pretty darn good. Michigan has the resources, tradition, and expectations to get at least 10 wins a year, and now it's got a coach that can make that happen too. The common theme about the Hoke hire was that it wasn't "sexy," which means he's literally not an attractive person and/or that his teams play defense. Neither fact is a valid reason not to like this hire. Hoke wasn't Michigan's first choice, but neither was Jim Tressel at OSU. That's not to say "hiring fifth choice = national championship" is a valid strategy, but it's just extremely unlikely that there's only one right choice at a school with the inherent advantages that Michigan or any other traditional college football power would have. Jim Harbaugh probably would have succeeded at Michigan. So might Hoke. So might a cardboard cutout of Bo Schembechler (which is what the older part of Michigan's fanbase really wants in its heart of hearts anyway).

JERRY KILL, Minnesota

Why him? Aside from the obvious--that his name is literally just "Kill"--Minnesota hired a guy with 200 games of head coaching experience and a 63.5% winning percentage, all before his 50th birthday. Kill has succeeded in the MAC, where success is fleeting at best, and at a Southern Illinois program that wasn't really in good shape when he arrived. The track record's there, in other words. By 2014, Kill will need to: keep the stadium full. Minnesota's TCF Bank Stadium is the newest house on the block in the Big Ten, but it's not exactly the biggest -- more like the opposite of that word. The luster of the new stadium was already wearing off by the time Tim Brewster was fired, as the team struggled to fill the stadium or do anything else of merit.  Chances Kill gets what he needs? Well, this depends solely on Kill's recruiting ability. He's been a head coach for almost 20 years, all of which came in the Midwest, so he knows the drill, and he knows the coaches. He just hasn't tried to land any big names before, and while bringing big names to Minnesota seems like a challenge, both Brewster and Glen Mason did it every now and then. So there's a chance he makes a turnaround happen.


Posted on: January 19, 2011 12:19 pm
Edited on: January 19, 2011 12:48 pm
 

San Jose State is a target of the Mountain West

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Who knew that an entire conference could disappear right before our eyes?  That seems to be exactly what's happening to the WAC.  The conference has already lost Boise State, Fresno State, Nevada and Hawaii to the Mountain West -- which has been hemorrhaging teams of its own -- and now it seems like the conference could be about to lose another school.

According to a report in the San Jose Mercury News, talks have begun within the Mountain West about extending San Jose State an invitation.
San Jose State has emerged as a potential expansion target of the Mountain West Conference, according to sources familiar with discussions between SJSU officials and their counterparts in the MWC.
A longtime member of the Western Athletic Conference, San Jose State is one of several schools that could be invited to join the more prestigious MWC if the 10-team league expands by two in order to stage a football championship game.
The Mountain West’s board of directors is scheduled to meet Monday in Las Vegas. Expansion is on the agenda, but the league isn’t expected to issue invitations.
The other teams reportedly in consideration are another WAC school in Utah State, and three C-USA schools in UTEP, Houston and SMU.  Though, according to the source in the story, it's unlikely either Houston or SMU would leave C-USA.  Which makes San Jose State an attractive option to the Mountain West in the same way that the lone girl at the bar looks more attractive because she's the only girl there.

Though the Mountain West will tell you it's because of the television market that San Jose State brings for the Mountain West's television network, as well as the fact it'd be joining fellow California schools Fresno State and San Diego State in the conference.
Posted on: January 18, 2011 3:34 pm
 

Headset Reset: the Big East and Mountain West

Posted by Tom Fornelli

"Headset Reset" is the College Football Blog's series reviewing the 22 new head coaches in the FBS and what they'll need to accomplish in their new jobs to succeed. In this edition: the four new head coaches in the Big East and Mountain West

TODD GRAHAM, Pitt

Why him? Because Mike Haywood got arrested two weeks after he was hired. Also because Graham put together some successful offenses at Tulsa. For 2011, Graham needs to: build a strong offense without the services of Pitt's two best offensive players Jonathan Baldwin and Dion Lewis.  Luckily for Graham, Dave Wannstedt recruited good players to Pitt, but Graham will have to mold them to his offense. By 2014, Graham will need to have: won a Big East title and taken the Panthers to a BCS bowl.  Dave Wannstedt won more games than he lost at Pitt, but it was the lack of a conference championship in a weak conference that ultimately led to his dismissal.  Chances Graham gets what he needs? I'd say they're pretty good. Weak conference or not, Pitt is still in a BCS conference and has the resources to win in college football.  Of course, by the time Graham has his stamp on the program, TCU will be a Big East member, so it won't be easy.

DANA HOLGORSEN, West Virginia

Why him? Have you seen West Virginia's offenses under Bill Stewart the last few seasons?  Nothing like a Mike Leach disciple who helped put together one of the best offenses in the country at Oklahoma State to infuse life into a dormant scoreboard.  For 2011, Holgorsen needs to: bid his time, let Stewart finish his final season, and start getting his offense ready for his ascension in 2012. By 2014, Holgorsen will need to have: won a Big East title and improve the Mountaineers offense enough so that it once again resembles the teams Rich Rodriguez put together.  He'll also need to find a quarterback better suited for his system than Geno Smith. Chances Holgorsen gets what he needs?  They're very good.  Even with the program's struggles under Stewart, they still competed for the Big East title.

PAUL PASQUALONI, UConn

Why him? Well, it came as a bit of a surprise.  Pasqualoni hasn't been a head coach or coached on the college level since 2004, spending the time in between in the NFL.  Still, the last time he was a head coach he was a rather successful one at Syracuse in the Big East.  So he knows what it takes to win in this conference.  For 2011, Pasqualoni needs to: silence the doubters.  We know that Pasqualoni can coach, but will the lay off and his age (he'll be 62 when UConn kicks off its season) prove to be too much for him?  By 2014, Pasqualoni will need to have: maintained what Randy Edsall started at UConn.  I'm not sure he'll have to win a Big East title to keep his job, but at the least he'll have to continue to build the program for his eventual successor.  Chances Pasqualoni gets what he needs?  Not great, but not terrible.  UConn has always been a basketball school first and foremost, but who knows how a trip to the Fiesta Bowl will affect the schools interest in building a winning football team?

ROCKY LONG, San Diego State

Why him?  Because Brady Hoke left, and had built something at SDSU that Long was a part of.  The school didn't want to risk losing any momentum by starting a coaching search. Plus, Long has head coaching experience from his time at New Mexico.  For 2011, Long needs to: continue the rise that Hoke started.  Since Marshall Faulk left for the NFL, the Aztecs weren't exactly a football powerhouse before Hoke came along.  The good news is that Long inherits some talent in Ronnie Hillman and Ryan Lindley. By 2014, Long will need to have: kept San Diego State competing in the Mountain West.  With Utah, BYU and TCU leaving, the conference becomes a lot easier to win.  Chances Long gets what he needs?  Not great.  San Diego State just doesn't have the established history to make me think they'll do whatever it takes to help Long build this team into a powerhouse.  What Long will have working for him, however, is the fertile recruiting base of southern California.
 
 
 
 
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