Texas Longhorns: BCS

3-point stance: Coach shopping in Texas

December, 17, 2013
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1. If Texas wants a college coach who has won in the big time: Over the last five seasons, 12 men have taken teams to at least two BCS bowls. Nick Saban (1), Bob Stoops (2), Urban Meyer (3), Bret Bielema (4), Frank Beamer (5) and David Shaw (6) are unavailable/uninterested. Jim Tressel (7) is untouchable. Jimbo Fisher (8), Chip Kelly (9), Gary Patterson (10), the timing is wrong. That leaves Brian Kelly (11) and Dabo Swinney (12). Any takers?

2. The SuperBowlification of the College Football Playoff is here, now that the Metroplex and Tampa Bay, two non-BCS bowl sites, have secured two of the first three championship games. That’s not a bad thing. It stands to reason that the commissioners will take the championship game to domes in the snow belt, like Indianapolis or Detroit, to name two in the Big Ten footprint. It’s healthy for the game to move it around, and if it comes off looking like a mini-Super Bowl, so what?

3. In case you thought the end of Mack Brown’s coaching career at Texas is a sign of how much pressure is placed on the modern-day football coach: When Oklahoma hired Bud Wilkinson in 1947, his father told him, “No matter how successful he may be, every coach eventually reaches a point where a lot of people want somebody else.” It is a price that nearly every coach pays, and it can be a harsh one.

Big 12 Power Rankings: Postseason

January, 8, 2013
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The season has come and gone, and brought with it lots of change in the Big 12 Power Rankings. Still, with all the games officially over, here's how I ranked the Big 12 to close the season:

1. Kansas State (11-2, 8-1 Big 12, last week: 1) K-State's year met an unsatisfying end in the desert with another ugly bowl loss. Like last season, the loss was to a team not very far outside of the BCS title picture. Oregon knocked off K-State, but the loss didn't mar all the fantastic things K-State accomplished this year.

2. Oklahoma (10-3, 8-1, last week: 2) Oklahoma suffered a bad bowl loss too, but it mostly exposed defensive deficiencies that may get worse next year. Oklahoma shared a Big 12 title this season, but lacked a big, impressive win. It did have two home losses, but the gap between K-State and OU and the rest of the Big 12 is wide in the standings.

3. Baylor (8-5, 4-5, last week: 4) No team was hotter than the Bears, who closed the season with four consecutive victories, including a home win against then-BCS No. 1 Kansas State to kick off the finish. The streak that featured three wins against ranked teams and the blowout bowl victory over UCLA has Baylor thinking big in 2013.

4. Oklahoma State (8-5, 5-4, last week: 3) The Pokes were better than their record this year, with blowout wins over decent teams such as Texas Tech, West Virginia and TCU. OSU wishes it had those Arizona and Texas games to do over again, but winning eight games with the injuries at quarterback is no small feat. The Pokes will be loaded for 2013, especially if Joseph Randle returns.

5. Texas (9-4, 5-4, last week: 5) Texas rescued a bowl win against a top-15 team, but David Ash still must be better if the Longhorns are going to return to Big 12 prominence. The tenor of spring practice will be heavily influenced by how an ongoing sexual assault investigation plays out. Regardless, until it's over, it's a possible distraction that could substantially affect personnel.

6. TCU (7-6, 4-5, last week: 6) With a bowl win, TCU might have slid inside the league's top five, but coughing up a late lead put a really frustrating end to a gutsy season from the Frogs. Trevone Boykin and Matthew Tucker did their best filling in for injured players, but the Frogs didn't have enough offense without Casey Pachall and Waymon James to win big in 2012.

7. Texas Tech (8-5, 4-5, last week: 8) Tech's finish was ugly, and narrowly surviving against a barely mediocre Minnesota team didn't really impress many folks. The Red Raiders' losing four of five in Big 12 play didn't inspire much confidence, but the future will be really, really intriguing in Lubbock.

8. West Virginia (7-6, 4-5, last week: 7) West Virginia's ugly bowl loss to Syracuse removed any question about the conference's biggest disappointment in 2012. The defense is nowhere near good enough to be competitive in the Big 12, and the offense didn't have enough juice to outscore very many good teams.

9. Iowa State (6-7, 3-6, last week: 9) Beating teams twice is never easy, but Iowa State had an opportunity to move up in these rankings with a win over the Golden Hurricane. Instead, Tulsa dominated the final three quarters, and did so on the line of scrimmage. A second lopsided bowl loss in as many years is not the finish Paul Rhoads wanted.

10. Kansas (1-11, 0-9, last week: 10) No bowl, and not much to report, but the recruiting class is loaded up with about 70 percent junior college commits. We'll see how that looks in the fall, but this spring should be interesting, too.

Balanced attack pushes WVU over Texas

October, 7, 2012
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AUSTIN, Texas -- Geno Smith is used to having the game in his hands. It's been the story of West Virginia's season. Near the end of a chilly night in central Texas, that changed.

Smith's offensive line had a simple message for their Heisman candidate: "We got this. It's over. We're going to win this game," they said.

"Andrew Buie said, 'Put it on my back,' Smith said. "He put it on his back and led us to a victory."

Not just any victory. He led them to a 48-45 victory in West Virginia's first road trip in the Big 12, where they found a record crowd of 101,851 waiting at Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium -- a crowd Texas coach Mack Brown called the loudest in 15 years.

Said West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen, who was an assistant in the Big 12 for nine years: "I've never seen this place like that."

It even got after Smith at one point, serenading him with a "Geno Sucks" chant as he gestured to the crowd, egging them on.

"Where does that come from?" Smith said. "Obviously, I don't suck. I'll let them believe that."

[+] EnlargeAndrew Buie
Tim Heitman/US PresswireThe second of Andrew Buie's rushing TDs gave West Virginia a 48-38 lead.
Buie led them to a victory that helped West Virginia clear the highest hurdle of its Big 12 (or national?) title "marathon," as Smith called it.

The Big 12 title runs through Morgantown, with Kansas State and Oklahoma waiting later in the season.

Saturday in Austin, though, it was Buie's time.

"He carried us," said Smith, the man used to carrying the Mountaineers. "We knew we were going to need to run the ball, because those guys like to get after the quarterback."

Texas did exactly that, sacking Smith four times and twice forcing fumbles inside the West Virginia 20-yard line. Before tonight, Smith had been sacked three times in four games.

Buie's 207 yards? Holgorsen said he wasn't surprised by those. But the 31 carries? That was a head-turner.

"We did commit to the run," he said. "That was something we talked about early in the week, and there weren't any tricks, either. We lined up and we just ran it right at 'em. We felt like that was gonna be the difference. If we could do that, it was going to alleviate some of the pressure on Geno."

On West Virginia's final drive, needing points to ice the game, the Mountaineers handed the ball to Buie on seven of eight plays. He turned them into 63 yards, capping his big night with a five-yard touchdown run, his second score of the night. While his teammates ran wild and kicked off the party on the West Virginia sideline, he trotted back through a parade of backslaps before being bearhugged by his position coach, Robert Gillespie.

"If we would have just drop back pass after drop back pass, they would have had 12 sacks. Maybe 20," Holgorsen said. "We just felt like it would be in the best interest of our football team to commit to the run."

Texas stuck in its nickel package for most of the night with just two linebackers on the field, even when West Virginia used its jumbo packages with bigger bodies. Buie saw it as a sign of "disrespect," and proved he'd make the most of his opportunities.

"With coach Holgorsen, you never know what the game plan is going to be fully," Buie said. "You just always want to be prepared to run from whatever he's put inside the menu for that week. When he calls your number, obviously he has confidence in you to make plays."

Holgorsen (and Smith, who often checked to various running plays at the line of scrimmage) had confidence in Buie 31 times on Saturday night. Buie was likely West Virginia's No. 3 back entering the season behind Shawne Alston and a recuperating Dustin Garrison. He looked like a man well deserving of the No. 1 spot against one of the Big 12's top defense. Before last week's 25 carries, Buie had never had more 15 carries in a game, and hadn't topped even 100 yards in a game. He had 52 carries in his entire freshman season in 2011.

Since 2009, Texas was 18-0 when winning the turnover battle. The Horns won it 2-1 on Saturday, but Buie's effort helped the Mountaineers overcome both of Smith's fumbles and move into the driver's seat for the Big 12 title.

"We're not going to force the ball. We're not going to force the issue. We'll take what you give us. I'm a smart quarterback, I understand defenses. I understand how to exploit them." Smith said. "The offensive line did a great job of getting all those guys, finishing blocks, getting to the second level. Buie was reading it and cutting back. Yards after contact was big. He ran hard tonight."

Think West Virginia's offense is just Geno Smith, Tavon Austin and Stedman Bailey? West Virginia proved otherwise.

Checking in from Longhorn Country

October, 6, 2012
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AUSTIN, Texas -- It'll be a chilly, gray night in Austin, but there's plenty of energy in the air for West Virginia's trip to Austin, its first Big 12 road trip.

They'll kick off tonight at the Big 12 stadium with 18,000 more seats than any in the Big 12, Darrell K. Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium.

The best game of the Big 12 schedule kicks off in about two hours, and you can expect a big atmosphere from the Austin crowd. A good start would help West Virginia negate that advantage, but the big stage is nothing new to this program.

I'll be here providing coverage all night with the boys from HornsNation, as well as our own Mark Schlabach.

Can Texas get enough pressure on Geno Smith? For me, that's what decides the game. Maryland did, but didn't have enough offense to really threaten the Mountaineers, though they held Smith & Co. to just 31 points.

If Texas holds West Virginia to 31 tonight, I think the Longhorns win. That's a big if. We'll see if they're up to the task.

Follow along that game and more on Twitter. See you here for more.
Shipley-Bailey US PresswireTexas' Jaxon Shipley and West Virginia's Stedman Bailey have been clutch for their QBs in 2012.
Texas and West Virginia have a pair of quarterbacks leading the nation in passer rating.

That's no big surprise for the Mountaineers' Geno Smith, who earned a nod as the Big 12 Preseason Player of the Year without playing a down in his new conference.

But the Longhorns' David Ash? No Big 12 quarterback had worse numbers a year ago, and he ranked last in the Big 12 in passer rating as a true freshman.

Smith and Ash had different stories entering the season, but through four games, they have one big thing in common: They're getting a lot of help from a corps of receivers who have been overshadowed by their quarterbacks' accomplishments.

That, and they'll both be playing Saturday night in Austin, Texas, when West Virginia heads to Texas for its first Big 12 road trip.

"You start looking at all three receivers, Marquise Goodwin, Mike Davis and Jaxon Shipley. They’ve helped us so much," Texas coach Mack Brown said. "[Receivers coach] Darrell Wyatt's got them blocking downfield, maybe more than ever before. They're very unselfish."

Shipley hauled in three touchdowns in the Longhorns' 41-36 win over Oklahoma State, but Davis had one of the game's biggest plays, catching a jump ball for 32 yards to set up Joe Bergeron's game-winning, albeit disputed, touchdown run.

Ash said after a 66-point outburst against Ole Miss that he was the "master of the underthrow," but his receivers made him look good, turning questionable accuracy into touchdowns.

Goodwin caught only two passes against the Rebels but turned them into 102 yards and a touchdown. He carried the ball just twice but rushed for 80 yards, highlighted by a 69-yard touchdown run.

"It's been a different guy that seems to get the ball in his hands each week, and they've caught the balls when they're thrown to them," Brown said. "This time last year, I don't think Marquise had even caught a pass. He was just trying to learn the offense. Mike Davis stayed hurt all year, and Jaxon Shipley was a true freshman.

"One of the reasons we're playing better on offense is all three of those receivers have really stepped forward."

At West Virginia, though? High octane has become even higher octane. Anybody who saw Stedman Bailey and Tavon Austin a year ago had high expectations, and they've exceeded them.

"They made a lot of plays last year. You guys didn’t see it because of the different conference and all that, but you're still talking about two returning 1,000-yard receivers who made a lot of plays at a pretty high level," coach Dana Holgorsen said. "Year 2 in this system obviously helps, and just the rapport that they've got with Geno is helping as well."

The duo combined to catch 27 passes and make up 518 of Smith's 656 passing yards in last Saturday's 70-63 win over Baylor. Austin leads the nation in receptions per game, and he has topped his previous week's reception totals and receiving yards each week of the season.

Bailey and Austin are No. 2 and No. 3, respectively, nationally in receiving yards per game, behind only Baylor's Terrance Williams.

"The rapport they have with Geno is going a long ways," Holgorsen said. "They've been hanging out together for going on four years now, been playing a whole lot of football now for four years, and Geno and Stedman goes back even further than that."

The former high school teammates have hooked up for 10 of Smith's 20 touchdowns. Smith leads the nation in touchdown passes by four. Bailey's caught three more touchdowns than anybody in the country. Who's No. 2? Well, it just happens to be Austin (tied with USC's Marqise Lee and New Mexico State's Austin Franklin).

"There's a lot of reasons why things are working the way they are. It's always about what have you done lately and all that," Holgorsen said. "In addition to those guys, the O-line is playing tremendous. Joey Madsen’s probably had his best game since he's been here, and he's going on being a four-year starter. We've got some pretty good experience up front, and Year 2 in this system makes everybody a little more comfortable as well."

For Austin and Bailey, it shows. The same is true for Shipley, Goodwin and Davis in Year 2 under new coordinator Bryan Harsin in Austin.

Texas and West Virginia have seen better quarterback play than anybody in the country so far. It's clear, though, that neither has done it alone.

Live chat: GameDay Thursday

August, 30, 2012
8/30/12
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Take a look back at what our ESPN.com college football experts had to say as they examined the top 25, the Heisman darkhorses, conference power rankings and what to watch this opening weekend of college football.



The Big 12 preseason poll has been released, and though I won't be revealing my personal ballot until later, here's a few thoughts (some longer than others, of course) on where each team was slotted by a panel of 41 media members.

1. Oklahoma -- The Sooners were placed where most figured, and checked in as a solid No. 1. I'll end any suspense: I was one of the 32 voters who had Oklahoma at No. 1. They're not a runaway favorite, and the five teams behind them could dethrone the Sooners in the fall, but no surprises at the top.

2. West Virginia -- Few surprises here, either. WVU has the league's best offense on paper, and I don't think the Mountaineers will have trouble scoring at all in the Big 12. Defending, though? That may be a problem. The defense will decide how good WVU is. Otherwise, it won't be much more than Baylor in 2011. A good team, and a 10-game winner, but hardly a serious threat to win it all.

3. Texas -- This was a modest surprise for me, but clearly, folks are buying into the Longhorns as a team on the rise back to Big 12 contention. That said, not a single voter picked the Longhorns to win the league. That itself is notable. Folks are buying in to a degree with the Longhorns, but it doesn't seem like anybody's all in.

4. Oklahoma State -- Speaking of buying in, folks are taking notice of the talent Oklahoma State has left behind without Brandon Weeden and Justin Blackmon. I didn't have OSU this high, but anything between third and seventh is very realistic for the Pokes.

5. TCU -- Without all the offseason distractions, you might have seen TCU at third or fourth. The fact of the matter: The Horned Frogs are razor-thin at linebacker and have big, big questions in the secondary. No Deryck Gildon and no Tanner Brock is huge, and the loss of Ed Wesley doesn't help, either.

6. Kansas State -- This was the biggest injustice of all, but look a bit closer at the point totals. K-State was only 10 points behind fourth-place Oklahoma State, so if say, three or four voters put K-State at third or fourth instead of sixth, you'd see them in fourth place, a much more respectable spot for the 10-game winners a year ago. These SnyderCats don't play a sexy brand of Big 12 football, and they won a lot of close games last year. As a result, you're seeing a healthy bit of skepticism toward this crew. Where did I vote them? Well, you'll just have to wait to find out.

7. Baylor -- The Bears, however, are nearly 100 points behind K-State, which signifies a pretty big dropoff, and it's one that's deserved. I see Baylor as a bowl team, but to put them among the contenders with no RG3, no Kendall Wright and no Terrance Ganaway? Not gonna happen.

8. Iowa State -- Movin' on up. This is what two Texas Tech spankings and an upset of No. 2 Oklahoma State gets the Cyclones. There's still a long way to go (that shellacking at the hands of Rutgers didn't help) for ISU to earn more respect, but they finished five points ahead of Tech and 41 behind Baylor. ISU brings back the core of its team, but the core of that team was unimpressive for long stretches in 2011.

9. Texas Tech -- Outside of Kansas State, this was the biggest shocker for me to see. Texas Tech had a solid offense last year, even without its leading rusher and tons of injuries along the offensive line. The Red Raiders have a lot of potential coming off a disappointing 2011 campaign, but I expect Tech to stay healthy, and if that happens, they'll be in a bowl game. Ninth place? We'll see about that.

10. Kansas -- Nothing to see here. Win two games and leave the cupboard largely bare for your successor? Up is the only way to go for the Jayhawks. Could expect anything different in the preseason poll. Kansas received just 46 points, meaning just five of the 41 voters had them anything other than last place.

Adams' Four Downs: Hype and playoffs 

June, 27, 2012
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Each week, Sean Adams will hit on some summer topics around the Texas Longhorns.

1st Down: Over and under

Coming into the 2012 football season, it seems there is a broad collection of thoughts about the University of Texas. Everyone is wrong and everyone is right and here are two examples:

Schedule analysis: Texas

June, 15, 2012
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Time to start analyzing each team's schedule across the Big 12. Next up, those Longhorns down in Austin.

See more Big 12 schedule analysis here.

Nonconference (with 2011 records):
  • Sept. 1: Wyoming (8-5)
  • Sept. 8: New Mexico (1-11)
  • Sept. 15: at Ole Miss (2-10)
Home Big 12 games:
  • Oct. 6: West Virginia (10-3)
  • Oct. 13: Oklahoma (10-3) at the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, Texas
  • Oct. 20: Baylor (10-3)
  • Nov. 10: Iowa State (6-7)
  • Nov. 24: TCU (11-2)
Away Big 12 games:
  • Sept. 29: at Oklahoma State (12-1)
  • Oct. 27: at Kansas (2-10)
  • Nov. 3: at Texas Tech (5-7)
  • Dec. 1: at Kansas State (10-3)
Must-see game: Oklahoma. It doesn't matter what the records are or how good either team's going to be. This game is an annual classic soaked in fried dough, turkey legs and corny dogs at the State Fair of Texas. More often than not, this game is about proving a point and stealing the inside track to the Big 12 title. Don't be surprised if that's the case in 2012.

Gut-check game: at Oklahoma State. Neither of these squads are among the favorites to win the Big 12, but both teams have an outside shot at making it happen. Texas has lost two consecutive games to the Cowboys after not losing to OSU since 1944. Both of those were in Austin. OSU is breaking in lots of new faces. Texas is maturing. Want to prove you're back on the way to the top of the Big 12 totem pole? Better win this one, Longhorns.

Chance to impress: West Virginia. Texas will probably be narrowly favored in this game, but West Virginia is the preseason Big 12 media darlings, coming off a 70-point outburst in the Orange Bowl. The Mountaineers have the most explosive offense in the Big 12 and Texas is supposed to have the league's best defense. If Texas truly wants to turn heads, this is the game to make it happen. It'll be playing a top 10-team and an offense loaded with hype. Manny Diaz & Co.? Better shut 'em down.

Snoozer: New Mexico. Texas' schedule, to its credit, is the only one in the Big 12 without an FCS team on the docket. Hats off to Texas in that sense. That said, all the teams Texas does play aren't very good, even if they're reasonably big names. Wyoming very well may be the best team the Longhorns play in nonconference. Ole Miss and New Mexico combined for a whopping three wins last season, and New Mexico might be the worst FBS team in the country. Bob Davie took the job to try to clean it up, but it won't be easy. Texas might run for 1,000 yards in this game alone.

Final analysis: Texas' schedule sets up the Longhorns well for success. They'll face six 10-win teams in 2012, but four of them come to Austin. The Longhorns have had their problems in Lubbock, but Texas Tech will struggle to stop the run, and two-win Kansas takes up one of Texas' four road trips. The Longhorns have their balanced 4-4-1 home-away-neutral schedule thanks to the Cotton Bowl date against Oklahoma. In the new Big 12, which employs nine-game, round-robin conference schedules, the difference between the toughest and easiest schedules is minuscule. That said, Texas is definitely on the easier end of the spectrum this season. It'll need to mature as last year's freshman invasion on offense become sophomores.
Today, we're ranking college football's facilities across each conference, and that means it's time to take stock of the Big 12.

Here's how I'd rank the Big 12's facilities, which include a whole lot more than the stadium. Stadium size is a factor, but it goes much, much deeper. What is your locker room, weight room and practice facility like?

Let me also begin with this: No Big 12 team is painfully lacking behind the others. Every school in the league has what's needed, and nobody in the league has any truly pressing needs, save a practice facility or two. There's no huge shame in being in the league's bottom half. The difference from teams 4-10 isn't all that great. You may infer that it is, but that's not my intention. Finally, this is football facilities only.

1. Texas: The Longhorns are the Joneses. Not just in the Big 12, but in all of college football. That's life when your budget dwarfs all others across the college football landscape. New Big 12 commish Bob Bowlsby called UT the "800-pound gorilla" in college athletics, but gorillas don't reach 800 pounds without state-of-the-art facilities at every corner.

2. Oklahoma State: The difference between Nos. 2 and 3 on this list is miniscule, but I see it this way: Just about everything Oklahoma has is bigger, but everything OSU has is newer and nicer. Advantage Cowboys, who are in the process of building an indoor practice facility, leaving Texas Tech as the only Big 12 team without one.

3. Oklahoma: Oklahoma doesn't have a sugar daddy like T. Boone Pickens, but when you've won as much through history as the Sooners have, you don't need one. The Sooners are in the top tier of Big 12 facilities, and like I said, you could make a case for Oklahoma at No. 2 on this list, if only for its stadium.

4. Texas Tech: Don't focus so much on the lack of an indoor practice facility. What Texas Tech does have is extremely modern but also purposely fits the rustic feel of Lubbock on the outside. Tommy Tuberville is campaigning a bit to have that indoor facility eventually built.

5. West Virginia: West Virginia's facilities for football aren't flashy, but they're solid, even if they're due for an upgrade once the Big 12 checks start rolling in. Coach Dana Holgorsen knows what Texas Tech and Oklahoma State look like, and wants WVU on that level.

6. TCU: TCU will shoot up this list by this time next year for sure. The Horned Frogs are unveiling a new $164 million upgrade to Amon G. Carter Stadium, along with a brand-new locker room that will both be ready by season's end. For now, though, the Frogs' facilities are in the middle of the Big 12 road.

7. Kansas State: Kansas State is upgrading the concourse and press box of Bill Snyder Family Stadium, but its biggest need is a place to hold visiting media postgame conferences.

8. Baylor: The biggest thing holding Baylor back is its stadium, which is old and off campus with an outdated concourse. The Bears' on-campus practice facilities, weight rooms and offices are nice, but the new on-campus, riverside stadium that's scheduled to open before the 2014 or 2015 season is a palace and would shoot Baylor up this list.

9. Iowa State: Iowa State just debuted a new JumboTron before last season, which was a great upgrade. The team is getting a new football facility as well, replacing the Jacobson Building.

10. Kansas: Want a good way to say -- intended or not -- that "We don't care enough about football?" Put a track around your football field. Kansas' facilities are nice, and like I said above, it's not all that far behind No. 4 Texas Tech, but the stadium is holding KU back.

BCS meetings primer

June, 13, 2012
6/13/12
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The BCS meetings begin Wednesday and, as Mark Schlabach writes, after 143 years, college football will likely settle the debate about the best way to crown a champion.

As a pivotal month begins, Schlabach looks at what's next in the negotiations and what is left to be settled.

Schlabach also looks at what each conference's stance will be. Here's the Big 12:
The Big 12 and SEC announced last month that their champions will play in a postseason bowl game, a relationship similar to the Big Ten and Pac-12 meeting in the Rose Bowl. As such, interim Big 12 commissioner Chuck Neinas said his league has lined up with the SEC, which favors having the top four teams in the playoff, instead of only conference champions.

But after Big 12 champion Oklahoma State finished No. 3 behind LSU and Alabama in the final BCS standings last season, the Big 12 also wants a selection committee to pick the four teams. Neinas said the Big 12 favors playing the semifinals outside of the BCS bowls but realizes most of the other leagues want to incorporate the semifinals into the existing BCS bowl games.

To get all you need to know about the meetings, read the full story.

Ivan Maisel looks back at the long war of attrition between bowls and playoffs. Maisel says its easy to follow the timeline of the debate: Just look at every year in which a controversial champion was crowned.

Read the story here.
Tags:

Big 12, BCS

The knives are slowly coming out, and the gnashing of teeth has only just begun.

College football looks headed straight for a four-team playoff beginning in the 2014 season, but the when, where and how will be hotly debated in the months, and perhaps year, to come.

The Big East, Pac-12 and ACC are campaigning hard for conference championship trophies as required hardware for admittance into the playoff.

The Big 12 and the SEC want the four best teams. Period.

The Big Ten, well, it's not quite sure what it wants.

[+] EnlargeBrandon Weeden
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiOklahoma State would have made the cut last season in a best four teams playoff scenario.
The truth of the matter? The Big 12 may have the least at stake of any league in this debate. No matter what happens, the Big 12 is looking at probably sending one team to the playoff in just about every season.

Once or twice in a long while, the league may do a good SEC impression and send two teams to the playoff in a top-four scenario, but most likely it would only be one.

A Big 12 champion not making the list of the nation's top four teams that also won a conference title? If the Big 12 doesn't reinstitute a conference championship game and allow room for an upset (whoops, Texas '01, Oklahoma '03 and Missouri '07, if you can call the last one a true upset), a Big 12 team that proved itself as the "one true champion" over a nine-game conference schedule will be shut out of a four-team playoff a few occasions short of never.

The Big 12 has made it clear that it wants the best four teams in a playoff and, ideally, would like them selected by a committee, not a human poll or computer ranking.

Is that what would most help the Big 12? It's most what the fans want to see, even if it means seeing another all-SEC national title game. At least then the teams would have proven their worth against teams outside the league to get there.

The Big 12 will be there every year, though. Is eliminating the possibility of two teams worth paring down the field of four teams to those less qualified?

In short, that would give the Big 12 a better chance to win a title in a playoff it would be participating in almost every year, anyway.

It's a difficult balance for sure, but not one with a lot of difference. At least in the proposal the Big 12 favors, it would have a chance to prove its worth as an elite conference. The SEC could land two teams in a playoff fairly often if the top four teams are drafted. The Pac-12 might do it once in a while if USC and Oregon continue to prove their worth as powers.

The Big 12, though, would have the best chance to do it outside the SEC. Texas and Oklahoma would likely compete for annual spots, and Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU, Texas Tech or even Kansas State could crash the party in some years. Oklahoma State would have done it last year. TCU would have done it in 2010. Missouri would have done it in 2007.

The one place the Big 12 has a lot to gain, even if it has little to lose? No BCS games are played in the Big 12 footprint as it stands. If the national title game is bid out like the Big 12 wants, we could see big-time football in the Big 12 footprint.

Jerry Jones holds the keys to Cowboys Stadium, and he'll dangle them (along with a truckload of cash), if the opportunity to host college football's Super Bowl arises.

Say goodbye to trying to beat USC at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena or trying to knock off Florida at the Orange Bowl just outside Miami.

Let's see somebody else try to beat Texas or Oklahoma in Arlington, just three hours from their respective campuses.

Team selection isn't where the Big 12 has the most to lose or the most to gain. If the national title game stays in one of its current stadiums, life goes on as usual for the Big 12. If it moves to the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex, that's a big leg up for the Big 12 and one well worth fighting for.

A conference champions-only scenario would cost the SEC. The Pac-12, ACC and Big East would be in trouble with no conference champions requirement.

Either way, though, the Big 12 will be just fine.

BCS meetings under way this week

June, 11, 2012
6/11/12
11:53
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Commissioners of the 11 FBS conferences, Notre Dame AD Jack Swarbrick and other network TV and college football officials gather in Chicago this week, kicking off a month of meetings that could alter the future of college football's postseason.

Gene Wojciechowski kicks off the coverage calling for a selection committee and calling for a scrapping of the BCS system:

That's how I feel about the BCS standings. When the four-team playoff format is approved -- and it will be, of course -- I've got a piece of advice for the decision-makers who want to keep the BCS standings:

Don't do that.

The combo platter of the Harris Poll, USA Today Coaches Poll and six computer rankings worked as well as stripes with plaids. The polls, especially the Harris, were funnier than Chris Rock. The coaches' poll was often an exercise in favoritism, grudge-holding and ignorance. And don't even get me started on the six computer programs.

Polls don't work. You think the media doesn't see all the teams and all the games on a given weekend? Coaches see even less. They're focused on their own team and their next opponent. End of story.


Therefore, a selection committee is needed. Here's how Gene thinks it should be set up.

(Read full post)

Video: Should the Big 12 expand?

May, 25, 2012
5/25/12
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PM ET


The College Football Live crew looks at the benefits of Big 12 expansion and whether Notre Dame should remain independent.

Chat wrap: Commits, scouting Friday Night Lights 

May, 23, 2012
5/23/12
3:15
PM ET
Did you miss our chat with Max Olson? Where were you? We've got the highlights:

Chris (Houston)

Ifl Texas gets 1 more CB commitment before Maurice Smith's decision at the UA game do we still let Smith have a committable offer? Or are we only taking 2 corners?

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