August 31, 2010

A little something to hold Utah fans over until Kickoff . . .

# of NFL players from PAC, MWC

I found a link on ESPN that shows the current players in the NFL listed by College.  USC is tops within the PAC-10 which comes as a surprise to no one.  California, surprisingly, is second, which doesn't necessarily match the success they've seen.  The other surprise is Arizona State, which obviously knows how to recruit talent to Tempe, but can't seem to convert that to wins on the field.  Washington and Washington State again find themselves in familiar territory . . . near the bottom.

One of the big surprises from the MWC is Fresno State.  Though they've been good, I'm surprised they have this much talent in the NFL.  This could speak to Fresno's recruiting.  Utah (not shown) would be second currently in the MWC.  The other big surprise is Boise St.   If Boise continues to see the success they have, I suspect they'll put more players in the NFL and their current standing will rise, but I'm surprised they're so low.   Air Force is the obvious caveat here since student-athletes have service obligations upon finishing their schooling.  UNLV should just stick with basketball.

August 26, 2010

How much does Utah help the PAC-10 BCS auto-qualifier status?

A LOT.  In fact, immediately upon joining the conference, Utah will have the highest average computer rankings over the two years which count for the next BCS cycle (2008, 2009).

Average BCS computer rankings for all current (and future) PAC-10 schools for the current BCS cycle (2008,2009) are shown below:

The most surprising result for me was to see that Colorado wasn't the worst!  :)   Washington state is a lead weight around the neck of the PAC and Colorado and Washington aren't helping much either (Though I think Washington is on the rise).

Just for the Heck of it, I did the same analysis to see how the future MWC schools will compare.  I've kept BYU and Utah in the next graph (even though Utah's stats won't count for the MWC and BYU may not be in the conference either).  Boise's stats should count for the MWC, but I'm not sure about Fresno and Nevada, but I've included them anyway, just hypothetically.

A quick comparison of the two conferences graphs shows that the difference between the MWC and the PAC lies more in the middle teams than anywhere else.  In fact, the average rankings for top and bottom teams are very similar.  But the middle teams in the PAC are on average ranked higher.  I should note that the additions of Fresno and Nevada are an upgrade, at least statistically, for the MWC middle tier teams.  They are ranked only ranked Lower than the top teams (Utah, Boise, BYU), and AF.  

The figure below compares the previous two graphs more directly.  Utah is removed from the MWC graph which only leaves 11 teams to compare from the MWC graph against the PAC graph.  Team 1 is compared against Team 1 from the other confernce, Team 2 vs. team 2, etc.  A positive number indicates a better average BCS computer ranking for the MWC, and vice versa for a negative number.

Take BYU out of the MWC (Independence) and the graph looks like this (now with one less team to compare directly).

Full data set of all computer rankings (except Peter Wolfe) are shown for the MWC here, and for the PAC here

Poor TCU . . .

So the Jury is still out on what BYU is doing with regards to Independence or returning to the MWC. But with Utah certainly gone soon to the PAC, and BYU possibly leaving, there is a remarkable disparity between the average computer rankings for TCU and the remaining members of the conference.

The difference is so great, I've heard they may consider renaming the conference "TCU and friends".

Of Course, Boise's numbers will actually look pretty good when they join in a year, but I haven't included them in the link above. (Maybe later).

This second link isn't as informational, but was used to prove a point to a friend, so I thought I'd post it here.

August 25, 2010

BYU to back to the MWC likely according to the Denver Post

I honestly think BYU to the MWC is best for them in the short term. I would not be surprised if this happens with some additional flexibility for BYU broadcasting rights. It might be a win for BYU and the MWC. Sounds like we may be official news tomorrow.

BYU/MWC/TV saga may be resolved soon | The Denver Post — All Things Colorado Sports

August 23, 2010

Have the BCS and BYU talked regarding access?

Have the BCS and BYU talked regarding access? -

I think this is the best paragraph summary of what's going on right now with BYU independence by Dennis Dodd of CBS sports:

"Right now, no one has full leverage. BYU can't find enough games, improved access or more television money at the moment. The MWC doesn't want to lose BYU because it might lose The Mtn. Thompson wouldn't confirm there is language in the contract that allows The Mtn. to dissolve if Utah and/or BYU leave. That, however, is the assumption.

We are in Day 5 of a strange standoff."

Jon WIlner's Thoughts on BYU Expansion

Jon Wilner is a writer I have enjoyed reading throughout the summer. He writes for the Mercury News and covers many of the college and professional teams in the Bay area. He's written a few pieces on BYU since their decision will ultimately affect the WAC (and SJSU). He suggests that the Cougars 2011 schedule would be tough to fill independently for 2011 without WAC teams, but that they might be able to do it in 2012 or 2013. He suggests that maybe the Cougars will try to sit in the MWC for a couple more years while they get their schedules ready for independence for a few years down the road.

My biggest and absolute self-perplexing question in all of this is: What is BYU going to do with all of their Olympic sports? The WAC just isn't an option at this point, and the WCC will still require a cut of many of BYU's current sports. I still maintain I'll be shocked if BYU sacrifices Olympic sports for football indepenence.

We'll see what happens.

MWC expansion, WAC reduction: Imagining the BYU war room | College Hotline

MWC expansion, WAC reduction: Imagining the BYU war room | College Hotline

August 20, 2010

BYU Independence

Man this has been the craziest summer that I can remember with regards to college football.

Set aside all the craziness that happened with the Big XII and the PAC-10 and the high-stakes game of Texas hold 'em.  That was just the beginning.  Just last week, BYU decided they were going to play their own high-stakes game of Texas hold 'em so they can get better exposure and broadcasting rights to their games.  But then Craig Thompson pulled an Ace out of nowhere and BYU is left considering backup plans.

Two obvious questions come to my mind with regards to the recent rumors / announcements about independence:

(1)  Why is BYU opposed to reaching a BCS game the same way TCU, Boise, and Utah have done it?
It's certainly possible for non-BCS teams to reach a BCS game.   I refuse to believe that the reason BYU wants independence is to get more $$$ from Television exposure.  BYU has tons of money, including 10% of mine.  I don't think BYU is going to get the same BCS exception that Notre Dame has as an independent, which means a BCS game is going to be extremely tough for BYU to reach via independent status.  If going independent isn't for TV money, and it will be harder to reach a BCS game than if you stayed in the MWC, why go?

(2) Does BYU have a plan B?
Initially, BYU's plan was go independent in football with all other sports going to the WAC.  Craig Thompson absolutely destroyed that plan when he took a shot across BYU's bow by inviting Fresno and Nevada to the MWC.  It seems pretty clear this was BYU's preferred plan, especially because news surfaced that BYU had been in talks with the WAC since July wanting a $5M commitment from each WAC member.  Apparently, Fresno and Nevada didn't get the memo . . . or didn't care.  More likely, they gambled that if they jumped ship, there wouldn't be a WAC left to pay the buyout fee to.   

The question here is if BYU would still go independent in football at the cost of all their other sports.  BYU fields more sports than any other current MWC team, and competing with the desolate scraps of what remains of the WAC would be uncompetitive and unwise, competing with small schools ranging geographically from Hawaii to Louisiana Tech.  Ugh.  There have been rumors of BYU's other sports landing in the WCC, but to me that is even worse.  The WCC only fields 13 sports, so BYU would immediately scrap 6 sports, plus I don't think BYU fans would enjoy watching the Cougars play road games in 5000 seat gyms of small parochial schools in California.

I think the best option for the Cougars at this point is to return to the MWC which is not bolstered by a few more teams, and hope for the BCS play-in game against the CUSA champ, as is suggested here.   They could still go independent, but for a school that takes so much pride in all their other sports, any other currently available scenario seems like almost certain suicide for BYU's non-football sports.  In the end I think BYU football goes back to the MWC.

As a Ute fan, I have to say the best part of this whole situation is that the target for the 2010-2011 season has moved from a red jersey to a blue jersey, or so I perceive.  In any case, this season in the MWC could be UGLY.  

What are your thoughts?  What should BYU do ?

August 3, 2010

T-minus 1 month

I missed posting it yesterday, but August 2nd marked one month from Utah's first football game against Pittsburg!  This summer has gone by incredibly fast, probably in part to all the off-season realignment drama.  Now that Utah's fall camp is only two days away, I can definitely get enough of a football fix to hold off until Sept. 2nd.  The bigger challenge may be actually finding a way to watch the game!