The No. 5-ranked Cardinal won its second-straight Pac-12 title, is headed to a fourth-straight BCS bowl and sold out Stanford Stadium every game during the regular season for the first time in history.
As a result, the demand for tickets to the Rose Bowl Game presented by VIZIO against No. 4 Michigan State exceeds the estimated 32,000 tickets the bowl provides to Stanford. It's the same for Michigan State, which boasts a significantly larger alumni base and hasn't played in the game since beating USC 20-17 in 1988.
Danny Daoud, a 2006 graduate of Michigan State, booked his flights from Chicago a week before the Big Ten championship against Ohio State, anticipating the Spartans would be there. It was a relatively safe bet considering that even with a loss, Michigan State would likely have make the trip to Southern California.
Getting to Pasadena for the New Year's Day game was the easy part. It was the getting-into-the-stadium part that worried Daoud, who is not a Michigan State donor nor a season-ticket holder and didn't figure to have access to any of Michigan State's allotment of tickets. He was resigned to the fact that he'd be shelling out several hundred dollars on the secondary market.
Then came some unexpected news.
"I heard through a friend that they were selling tickets on the Stanford site. All you had to do was put down a $100 deposit for 2014 season tickets and you got access to four tickets," Daoud said. "So I went to the site, created an account, called them and sat on hold for an hour and 55 minutes and bought my tickets."
Due to high demand, the deposit was quickly upped to $200 Monday afternoon, but that hardly served a deterrent for those willing to eat the deposit to to score tickets. Daoud's four end-zone seats, plus a parking pass, cost him about $800 including taxes and fees. The cheapest single Rose Bowl ticket on StubHub Wednesday morning was more than $600.
"This is the coolest experience you can ever have," Daoud said. "You never know when you'll ever get back there."
The perception among both fan bases that a large chunk of Stanford's tickets were purchased by Michigan State fans is not accurate.
Current Stanford season-ticket holders had first priority and they bought the "overwhelming share" of the tickets according to Stanford senior assistant athletic director of communications Kurt Svoboda. Second on the priority list came students, who were allowed to purchase a subsidized ticket. Those two groups account for about 95 percent of what Stanford sold.
Those willing to put down a deposit, like Daoud, and tickets that were set aside for public sale --- which sold out in four minutes Tuesday afternoon -- made up the rest, which is about 1,600 tickets.
Svoboda also confirmed that Stanford has begun issuing refunds for those it feels abused the system. This is not targeted specifically at those it believes are Michigan State fans, but more so at those who created multiple accounts and put down multiple deposits using the same credit card and billing address.
He said less than 100 people who placed deposits would have their deposits returned, but could not say how quickly the process to inform those people would be.
Those who are concerned about the status of the their tickets are encouraged to call the Stanford ticket office.
- Rich Rodriguez is confident in Arizona's development.
- Taking a closer look at the Arizona State offense.
- California has set a date for its spring football game.
- Checking in with former Colorado coach Bill McCartney, whose headed to the College Football Hall of Fame.
- The Alamo Bowl with Oregon and Texas is an interesting matchup for a variety of reasons.
- Oregon State needs to win -- really needs to win -- its bowl game.
- Are Michigan State fans poaching Stanford Rose Bowl tickets?
- UCLA gets a commitment from a defensive back.
- Some updates and speculation on the USC coaching staff.
- Some best and worst from the Utah football -- Utes and state of -- this past fall.
- Chris Petersen is taking the next step at Washington.
- Washington State safety Deone Bucannon, who has been selected for the Senior Bowl, and the Cougars seniors have persisted.
Trending up: UCLA landed its second ESPN 300 prospect of the week on Tuesday, as athlete Jaleel Wadood (Bellflower, Calif./St. John Bosco) joined defensive tackle Ainuu Taua (Lompoc, Calif./Lompoc) in committing to the Bruins. In doing so, UCLA moved into the top 40 rankings. UCLA has plenty of momentum right now, especially after keeping coach Jim Mora and ace recruiters Demetrice Martin and Adrian Klemm. Adding running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu will only make UCLA stronger down the recruiting stretch, as ESPN 300 prospects Bryce Dixon (Ventura, Calif./Saint Bonaventure), Joe Mixon (Oakley, Calif./Freedom), Bishard "Budda" Baker (Bellevue, Wash./Bellevue) and Damien Mama (Bellflower, Calif./Saint John Bosco) are very much in play.
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Here’s bowl lineup followed by the the gut reactions from your Pac-12 bloggers.
Rose Bowl game presented by VIZIO: Stanford vs. Michigan State
Valero Alamo Bowl: Oregon vs. Texas
National University Holiday Bowl: Arizona State vs. Texas Tech
Hyundai Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Virginia Tech
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl: USC vs. Fresno State
Fight Hunger Bowl: Washington vs. BYU
Gildan New Mexico: Washington State vs. Colorado State
Sheraton Hawaii: Oregon State vs. Boise State
AdvoCare V100: Arizona vs. Boston College
Ted Miller’s first impressions
Worst game: It's great that Washington State is playing in its first bowl game since 2003, but Colorado State is a lackluster foe. The Rams, who lost to Colorado by two touchdowns, have no quality wins. Washington State beat USC, Utah and Arizona. Mike Leach and the Cougars should roll, and it will be pretty embarrassing for the Cougs and Pac-12 if they don't.
Sneaky good game: It will be interesting to see how USC reacts in the Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl against Fresno State and QB Derek Carr. It's obvious the players were unhappy interim coach Ed Orgeron didn't get the full-time job. Will the Trojans turn in an uninterested performance, as they did in last year's Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech? Or will they play inspired football? The Bulldogs are a good football team, particularly on offense. If the Trojans don't show up, they could get embarrassed. If they do, this could be a good game.
The bowl season will be a success if: The Pac-12 is now favored in all nine games -- Oregon State started out as an underdog to Boise State but is now favored. That means 9-0 is a reasonable expectation. The only ranked foes are Michigan State and Fresno State. Anything less than 6-3 would be embarrassing for the conference. Gloating would only start at 7-2, and only then if Stanford wins the Rose Bowl.
Kevin Gemmell’s first impressions
Best game: Everything Ted says is spot-on. Outside of the national championship game -- which is the must-watch game simply by default -- I think the Rose Bowl offers some of the best storylines of the bowl season. This is the sort of matchup the Rose Bowl committee wanted for its 100th game. It’s going to be smash-mouth through and through -- may the toughest line win. Rumor has it extra ice packs are already being shipped into Pasadena.
Worst game: Like Ted, I agree Washington State should roll in that game. But I’m also intrigued by the WSU defense front against Kapri Bibbs and his 28 rushing touchdowns. But in terms of actual quality of opponent, I’d be shocked if this year’s Gildan New Mexico Bowl is anything like last year’s (yes, Arizona fans, that was still my favorite bowl game).
Sneaky good game: I see a lot of intrigue in the Sheraton Hawaii Bowl and Oregon State’s showdown with the now Chris Petersen-less Boise State Broncos. The Pac-12 has owned the Mountain West this year. The Beavers have the capability to be an extremely explosive offense. But in the middle of a five-game losing streak, you never know what to expect. By the way, the Pac-12 blog isn’t always right, but at least one of us saw this coming back in May. Motivation is always a huge factor in bowl games. What is Boise State’s? What can they do with a skeleton coaching staff? If both teams come to play, this could be one of the most thrilling games of the postseason.
The bowl season will be a success if: I think 6-3 is the tipping point also. One must recall the Pac-12 was favored in seven of eight games last year. Then Alex Okafor met Cody Vaz 4.5 times, UCLA’s offensive line succumbed to injury, Boise State got a phantom first down and Georgia Tech provided the final scoop on USC’s manure sundae of a season. Despite having just one team in a BCS bowl game, the Pac-12 has a ton of momentum right now after posting impressive nonconference numbers in 2013. That has to continue to keep the national perception of the league lofty. Stanford also has to win, plain and simple. If Oregon State loses to Boise State, it won’t be viewed as a national coup. But, without question, you have to win your BCS bowl game.
Getty ImagesWhat teams would join Florida State and Auburn if there were a playoff this year?
Stanford is the highest-rated team in the current version of the Championship Drive Ratings on account of putting together a great performance against a top-five schedule. In the 10 years for which we have play-by-play data, no team with a schedule rated in the top five has done as well -- taking into account wins and average win probability -- as Stanford this year. An average FBS team would have won less than four games against Stanford’s schedule and would have had an average in-game win probability well below the Cardinal’s 72 percent.
If we are specifically interested in rating top teams’ résumés (and we generally are), one potential modification to this method would be to look at things from a top-team perspective rather than an average-team viewpoint. So instead of looking at how an average team would do against these teams’ schedules, how would a team at the 90th percentile -- such as Clemson this season -- do? The below chart helps answer this question.
The expectations rise against each of these team’s schedules, obviously, but now Auburn’s and Florida State’s results look more impressive relative to schedule than Stanford’s résumé. At the same time, going 11-2 against Stanford’s schedule would have been harder even for a top team than going 12-1 against Michigan State's schedule or 11-1 against Alabama's slate.
If you want to go beyond pure résumé and look at how strong the teams actually are, take a look at the Football Power Index top five: Florida State, Oregon, Alabama, Stanford and Baylor. Auburn is eighth, and Michigan State is quite a bit lower.
There is no exact answer here, but if you combine the numbers above with the stated goals of the College Football Playoff committee to value strength of schedule and conference champions, it’s pretty clear that Florida State, Auburn and Stanford -- yes, even with two losses -- should each earn a spot in the playoff. Each of those teams has a very solid résumé from either a top team or an average team perspective, and all three are rated strongly by FPI.
The fourth spot gets a bit trickier. From either the average team or top team perspective, Michigan State’s résumé of wins and losses alone is about as impressive as Alabama’s, and the Spartans have a conference championship that the Tide don’t. On the other hand, FPI shows that Alabama is quite clearly the stronger team, so if you put the résumé criteria aside at that point and just pick the better team, Alabama would be the choice.
Click here for last week's Power Rankings.
1. Stanford: With a second-consecutive Pac-12 title and Rose Bowl appearance, as well as a good chance for another top-five final ranking, life's pretty good on The Farm.
2. Oregon: The Ducks nip the Sun Devils, whom they didn't play this year, because they are headed to the better bowl and are ranked higher.
3. Arizona State: The decisive loss at home to Stanford in the Pac-12 championship game shows the Sun Devils haven't yet arrived, but they have traveled far in Year 2 under coach Todd Graham.
4. UCLA: The biggest win for UCLA this past week was keeping coach Jim Mora and his staff. A bowl win would provide positive momentum heading into the offseason for the 2014 South Division favorites -- pending QB Brett Hundley's announcement whether he is returning or entering the NFL draft.
5. USC: A guy who knows USC well this weekend explained why Steve Sarkisian was a good hire for the Trojans. He made a pretty convincing case. We shall see, though, won't we?
6. Washington: The Huskies generated significant positive national publicity by luring Chris Petersen away from Boise State, a task some pundits didn't think would ever happen. It will be interesting to see how the team itself responds in the Fight Hunger Bowl against a good BYU team.
7. Washington State: The Cougars are going bowling for the first time since 2003, which is a big deal. Now can they close the season with a win?
8. Arizona: The Wildcats need a bowl win to make their season feel successful.
9. Oregon State: The Beavers need a bowl win to make their season feel successful.
10. Utah: The Utes' focus, as it is for the two teams below them, is entirely on recruiting. There will be pressure on coach Kyle Whittingham to take a step forward in the conference next fall.
11. Colorado: It was a solid debut season for Mike MacIntyre. Now the question becomes: Can the Buffaloes move up in the conference and South Division pecking order in 2014? The climb won't be easy.
12. California: There's nowhere to go but up, right? A bit surprising that Sonny Dykes hasn't made some staff changes.
Go here and find the geniuses and the miscreants.
The truth is, after reviewing the coaches votes, there's really not too much cause for outrage. Some. But not too much.
The most notable snub is UCLA not appearing on the ballot of Northern Illinois coach Rod Carey, whose vote was otherwise pretty typical for where it place Pac-12 teams (Stanford seventh, Oregon 12th, Arizona State 15th).
Clemson coach Dabo Swinney ranked Stanford 10th, which is ridiculous. Virginia Tech coach Frank Beamer ranked Oregon 17th, which should enrage Ducks fans until they realize Arizona State coach Todd Graham had the Ducks at 15th.
It's notable that Arizona State and Oregon didn't play this year, and Graham's team was seemingly competing with the Ducks in the bowl pecking order.
Yet Oregon coach Mark Helfrich, who voted his team seventh, ranked the Sun Devils 10th, their second-highest placing.
Who, you immediately asked, had Arizona State higher than 10th? That would be Rutgers coach Kyle Flood, who ranked the Sun Devils ninth. I've got no explanation for that.
As far as not getting too outraged at Swinney, that starts with seven other coaches ranking the Cardinal ninth. While that sounds like stupidity loves company, it also shows that Swinney's ballot wasn't unique in its, er, "thinking."
USC appeared on 11 ballots, including Alabama coach Nick Saban and four Pac-12 coaches but not with Oregon State's Mike Riley and Utah's Kyle Whittingham. The Trojans ended up 25th in the BCS standings though not in the coaches top-25. The Trojans highest ranking was 19th from Washington State coach Mike Leach.
Washington's lone vote? Michigan's Brady Hoke.
In conclusion, there really aren't any votes like Arkansas coach Bret Bielema's for Ohio State that merit taking a blood oath swearing lifelong and bitter enmity.
Here are the highs and lows for the ranked Pac-12 teams.
Stanford: (3) Mike Leach, Washington State; (10) Dabo Swinney, Clemson
Oregon: (6) Leach; (17) Frank Beamer, Virginia Tech
Arizona State: (9) Kyle Flood, Rutgers; (21) Dan Holgorsen, West Virginia & Kevin Sumlin, Texas A&M
UCLA: (13) Helfrich; (unranked) Rod Carey, Northern Illinois
Some other interesting notes.
- New Washington coach Chris Petersen ranked Oregon eighth. Not sure if that's of note, but I'm guessing some Oregon fans will find something sinister and Husky-ish there.
- Leach loves his conference: No. 3 Stanford, No. 6 Oregon, No. 11 Arizona State, No. 16 UCLA and No. 19 USC. But, of course, no Washington.
- Baylor's Art Briles is a closet Pac-12 North Division fan. He had Stanford fifth and Oregon ninth.
- Who also loves Stanford? LSU's Les Miles, who sometimes requires a Stanford linguist for translations, voted the Cardinal fourth, as did South Alabama coach Joey Jones, Arizona's Rich Rodriguez and Texas Tech's Kliff Kingsbury.
- Kingsbury, however, isn't a big Oregon fan. He had the Ducks 15th.
On paper, it looks as easy as 1, 2, 3 … 4.
Florida State. Auburn. Alabama. Michigan State.
Were the College Football Playoff selection committee actually deliberating this season, though, it's hard to imagine the top four teams would align as easily as they did in this year's final BCS standings. There was no drama, no controversy, no undefeated team locked out of the sport's biggest game. As Auburn wrapped up its SEC title and Florida State finished the season as the only undefeated team remaining in the BCS, college football had its answer for a national championship game before it was officially revealed.
Expect a little more debate next year.
The computers have their formulas. The 13 committee members have their opinions. With subjectivity added to the equation, trying to pinpoint the top four teams in the country would have added far more intrigue to this year's selection process. Fans stuck in the mindset of the current system -- one filled with objective weightings and data -- are going to be disappointed, because that's not the committee's approach. Whether or not Auburn is better than Alabama will come down to a vote. While the No. 1 team in the country might not have been a question this year, there are now three more spots to argue about.
It was only a week ago that nobody could agree on No. 2.
If you think Auburn's improbable run to the national title was more luck than it was leverage against lesser opponents -- a deflected Hail Mary pass to beat Georgia and a 109-yard field goal return to beat Alabama -- odds are at least one person on the committee might think so, too. Don't think a two-loss Stanford team has an argument over a one-loss Big Ten champ? Think again. Go ahead and throw Baylor and Ohio State into the mix, too.
To the notes!
Jon in Seattle writes: Kevin, in response to your article regarding Chris Petersen's first news conference, your conclusion accurately sums up our impression. As a die-hard Washington fan and having spoken to many others, we weren't bothered by the way he answered the question about beating Oregon. It was a fun but silly question and any answer would have ultimately been meaningless, so it was refreshing to see him refuse to bite the bait and stick to the heart of his message. This is especially true in contrast to Sarkisian, who made many promises upon arriving here. As you said, Petersen has a process, he has a plan, and beating Oregon is an extension of its execution. We like what we're hearing. And hey, the guy is 2-0 against Oregon already. Of course, you won't hear him bragging.
There’s nothing really to say in that situation that is going to be productive. I found him to be extremely charismatic during his first news conference. He was fiery but controlled. He said all of the right things without overstepping.
I think back to when I was covering Brady Hoke and his move from San Diego State to Michigan. He, too, was fiery, and he made some promises regarding his new team and the team that wears scarlet and gray. Things aren’t going so hot right now in Ann Arbor. It’s one thing to fire up your fan base with promises. But when you don’t follow through with them, they are just empty words.
Petersen portrayed confidence and there was not a moment when I thought to myself, “OK, buddy, we’ll see.”
I really liked what he had to say about not being too hands-on with this team during the bowl season. I think that’s the right call. This is the 2013 Huskies. He’s not a part of that legacy.
I don’t know Petersen yet. I’ve talked with him once or twice on teleconferences and in news conferences, but I don’t have any sort of relationship with him. But I’m looking forward to getting to know him. And if he’s anything like the man he projected himself to be on Monday, I’m pretty sure three years from now we’ll look back at that day and realize that nothing he said was empty.
Eddie in Los Angeles writes: I grew up in Boise, attended Washington and live in Los Angeles. I’m a fan of all three teams. How should I feel?
Kevin Gemmell: Grateful that it’s neither raining nor snowing where you live?
If you truly are a fan of all three teams (and let’s be honest, you have to lean a little toward one or the other or the other when they play head-to-head) then you should feel pretty freaking blessed.
Divorces are ugly -- especially when a coach leaves a program voluntarily for another one. But this series of separations couldn’t have gone any smoother. You can’t be bitter at Petersen for leaving Boise State, especially after he delivered you a 92-12 record. You can’t be bitter at Sarkisian leaving after taking an 0-12 program and making it a postseason regular. And you can’t be disappointed with the hire of Sarkisian at USC.
If you are really a fan of all three programs then you should probably be feeling pretty good right about now.
Henry in San Juan Capistrano writes: Think about it. Had ASU not earned the right to play in the Pac-12 championship game and just sat home, they would be in the top 10 in the BCS and maybe the top 10 in the AP. They should make some rule that says the teams in the championship games can't move down from their previous position if they lose. Mizzou got hosed in this way as well.
Kevin Gemmell: Pretty specious reasoning. Because if ASU hadn’t earned the right to play in the Pac-12 championship game that means they would have lost another conference game somewhere along the way -- more than likely at UCLA or home to Arizona -- and they would have dropped in the rankings. I think they actually would have slipped further in the rankings had they lost a regular season game rather than a conference championship. Voters tend to respect teams a little more for making their league’s title game.
As for rules changes, I’m not a huge fan of that. You play the game. If you win, you move up. If you lose, you move down. C’est la vie. You don’t like it, don’t lose. You’ve earned the right for an extra game. And no one is saying that if you win, you shouldn't move up in the rankings. ASU would be in the top six or seven had they beaten Stanford. And you probably wouldn’t have complained. It’s got to be able to work both ways.
I know what you’re getting at. But I don’t think it’s feasible.
Trev with a Left Coast bias wrote: I understand it might be geography for why the Allstate Sugar Bowl would pick Oklahoma, but wouldn't you rather have a possible setting of what was originally thought to be the BCS title game matchup? My opinion is the SEC told the Sugar Bowl that they don’t want to have Oregon for two reasons: 1) Don't want to give extra money to the biggest threat (Pac-12) and 2) What if we lose? Your thoughts?
Kevin Gemmell: I think geography played a significant role. I think the fact the SEC and Big 12 are starting a scheduling alliance next year played a role. I think the attitude of some of Oregon’s players toward the Rose Bowl played a role. And I think the fact Oregon didn’t look particularly good in November played a role.
Like the rest of the world, I would love to have seen Alabama-Oregon happen -- even if it wasn’t for the national championship. It would have been a TV ratings home run -- somewhere between the finale of M*A*S*H and the 2009 Super Bowl.
There is no greater conspiracy theory here. And truth be told, I’m not sure the Oregon team as it stands today is the best product the Ducks could put on the field.
I’m sure there was some politicking going on behind the scenes. And by the way, for everyone who says ESPN controls college football, don’t think this would have been a ratings boom for my bosses. It goes to show that it’s ultimately the committees that make the decisions based on what’s best for their bowl and their respective tourism bureaus.
Erik in Bangkok writes: Kevin, simple question: Why do you rank Michigan State higher than Stanford? Taking into account strength of schedule and also your expectations of their head-to-head outcome.
Obviously, strength of schedule is important. That's why I have a team that lost to two unranked teams in my top five. I recognize and have written countless times how difficult the Pac-12 schedule is.
I was very impressed with both teams in the conference title games. And the difference between No. 4 and No. 5 in my book is pretty insignificant. In fact, I think Stanford has an edge having been to the Rose Bowl before and my first impression is that the Cardinal win that game.
I honestly didn’t sweat over it that much, and you shouldn't either. I thought Michigan State finished the season stronger with nine straight wins and so I ranked accordingly. My gut tells me Stanford is the better team. But from a rankings standpoint, I thought Michigan State closed stronger. It will work itself out in the final ballots.
RedditCFB in Minneapolis writes: Well, it's official: With the BCS Era coming to a close ('98?-13) there have been 878 bowl games in the BCS Era and the SEC & Pac-12 only met ONCE! How do we fix this? Is there a way to get a new bowl in Wally World so the SEC won't be as afraid of travel? The terrible bowl tie-ins have not significantly improved under Larry Scott (one of his few flaws).
Kevin Gemmell: Bowl games aren’t designed to provide the best possible matchup. They are designed to be the best possible matchup while also bringing in money to the city that hosts them. You’ll notice all of the Pac-12’s contracts are regionally based -- with the Valero Alamo and Hyundai Sun bowls being the longest trek. And even that isn’t too far of a hike.
It’s dollars. They want as many people to come to their city for as long as possible, stay in hotels, eat at restaurants, go to amusement parks and spend money. While you’re in town, maybe take in a football game.
The National University Holiday Bowl probably doesn’t like having to take teams from Los Angeles because fans drive down to San Diego, watch the game and then drive home that night. They want people in hotel rooms for five days with trips to Sea World and the zoo and LegoLand.
How many Washington fans would go to Jacksonville for the Gator Bowl? The first year? It might be filled. But what about the third and fourth years? These Pac-12 SEC matchups would look great on TV. And from my leather chair, I’d love to drink it all in. But the travel (see previous question), specifically the fan support and filling the stadium, simply wouldn’t be there on an annual basis.
Damon in Seattle writes: Who won? USC or Washington?
Kevin Gemmell: Honestly, Damon, I hate these questions. But I understand why people ask them. Because they want to feel better about the decisions their team made. You're looking for some closure from the previous administration and a reason to feel good about the new one.
Washington won because it snagged the big fish that many others couldn’t hook. USC won because it got someone from the USC family. Washington won because there is little to no chance the program takes a step back with Petersen as the head coach. USC won because the program will probably take a step forward under Sarkisian.
Is that sufficient? Because there's no right or wrong answer for at least a few years.
Until all the coaching staffs are in place, until there are three or four recruiting cycles under these guys, questions like “who won?” are fairly irrelevant. Ask me again in four years. I’m sure I’ll have a better answer.
Rudy in Houston writes: I said once "don't ever underestimate the heart of a champion!" Kevin, you didn't and ran the table! Congratulations!
Kevin Gemmell: I'd like to thank Ted Miller for not believing in me, my wife who doesn't care, and the good people at the Scripps Ranch Starbucks who still charge me full price for a cup of coffee despite a perfect media ballot.
- Running backs are the storyline in Arizona's bowl game.
- It's been a memorable season thus far for the Sun Devils.
- How are your favorite Bears doing in the NFL?
- Saying goodbye to the Buffs seniors.
- Hroniss Grasu is a finalist forthe Rimington Trophy.
- A first look at Oregon State-Boise State.
- The Cardinal are waiting on Michigan State prep.
- UCLA-Virginia Tech by the numbers.
- Athlon asks whether USC or Washington made the better hire.
- All in all it was a frustrating year for the Utes.
- Justin Wilcox could still end up at Washington.
- Washington State opens as favorites over Colorado State.
- Athlon ranks the bowl games.
Sports Business Daily has done its annual accounting of bowl gifts, and let's just say there's a reason players like bowl games, beyond another chance to play and win.
The NCAA allows each bowl to award up to $550 worth of gifts to 125 participants per school, so this is all within the NCAA's complex web of rules.
You'll see "gift suite" over and over. Here's what that is, per SBD:
SportsBusiness Journal’s eighth annual analysis of the gift packages provided to bowl game participants by the committees that host the games reveals that half of those organizations will stage a gift suite or shopping spree in the coming weeks. Gift suites are set up as private events prior to the game in which game participants, and often bowl VIPs, are given an order form and allowed to select a gift, or gifts, up to a value that is predetermined by each bowl, not to exceed the NCAA limit.
So what do Pac-12 players get this bowl season. Glad you asked.
Sheraton Hawaii Bowl (Oregon State vs. Boise State)
Tues., Dec. 24, 8 p.m. (ESPN); Honolulu
Gift suite; Oakley sunglasses; Tori Richard aloha shirt, Pro Athletics shorts and performance T-shirt; Ogio backpack; beach towel
AdvoCare V100 Bowl (Arizona vs. Boston College)
Tues., Dec. 31, 12:30 p.m. (ESPN); Shreveport, La.
Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; New Era skull cap; football
Gildan New Mexico Bowl (Washington State vs. Colorado State)
Sat., Dec. 21, 2 p.m. (ESPN); Albuquerque, N.M.
Gift suite, portable mobile device charger, 8 GB USB; Oakley Breadbox sunglasses; cap, Oakley Fine Knit beanie; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack; Gildan stadium blanket
Fight Hunger Bowl (Washington vs. BYU)
Fri., Dec. 27, 9:30 p.m. (ESPN); San Francisco
Soundmatters wireless portable speaker system; Fossil watch; Maxx HD Wayfarer sunglasses; messenger bag; Macy’s gift card
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl (USC vs. Fresno State)
Sat., Dec. 21, 3:30 p.m. (ABC); Las Vegas
Samsung Galaxy Tab 3; beanie, cap; Oakley Flak Pack XL backpack; football, Zappos gift card
Hyundai Sun Bowl (UCLA vs. Virginia Tech
Tues., Dec. 31, 2 p.m. (CBS); El Paso, Texas
Gift suite; Timely Watch Co. watch; Top of the World cap, Majestic fleece pullover; Ogio backpack; coin, Helen of Troy hair dryer
National University Holiday Bowl (Arizona State vs. Texas Tech)
Mon., Dec. 30, 10:15 p.m. (ESPN); San Diego
$305 Best Buy gift card; Reactor Meltdown watch; Maui Jim sunglasses; cap
Valero Alamo Bowl (Oregon vs. Texas)
Mon., Dec. 30, 6:45 p.m. (ESPN); San Antonio
iPad Mini with retina display, Apple gift card; Fossil watch; panoramic photo, Schutt mini helmet
Rose Bowl Game presented by Vizio (Stanford vs. Michigan State)
Wed., Jan. 1, 5 p.m. (ESPN); Pasadena, Calif.
Gift suite; Fossil watch; New Era 59Fifty cap; Ogio backpack
The ESPN recruiter power rankings examine which assistant coaches are doing the best on the recruiting trail in the 2014 class. Beyond looking at how many four- or five-star recruits a coach lands, the rankings take into account the needs those recruits will fill at the next level.
These rankings will be updated regularly as national signing day approaches. They are also a measure of where we believe the recruiters are now, not where they will be on signing day. Many coaches and schools have yet to make a recruiting run and could quickly climb the list as more progress is made.
Previous rankings: October 2013
1. Billy Napier
ESPN 300 recruits: 7
Top recruit: ESPN 300 No. 3 Cameron Robinson
Previous ranking: 4
Napier, Alabama's receivers coach, established himself as one of the better recruiters in the ACC while at Clemson, but recruiting for the Crimson Tide has allowed him to climb to the top of the national charts. Recruiting in Louisiana and parts of Texas, and also spot-recruiting other key national targets, Napier boasts commitments from five ESPN 300 prospects who are in the top 10 at their positions, including No. 1 OT Robinson (West Monroe, La./West Monroe), No. 2 pocket passer David Cornwell (Norman, Okla./Norman North) and No. 2 safety Laurence Jones (Monroe, La./Neville). Napier's efforts have also helped the Tide climb to No. 1 in the RecruitingNation class rankings and reload at positions of need like offensive tackle, quarterback and especially receiver.
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Glad you asked.
1. Florida State
4. Michigan State
7. Ohio State
9. South Carolina
13. Oklahoma State
16. Arizona State
20. Fresno State
23. Texas A&M
And here's mine:
1. Florida State
5. Michigan State
7. Ohio State
8. South Carolina
12. Oklahoma State
14. Arizona State
17. Central Florida
20. Fresno State
25. Northern Illinois