May 23, 2005
By Brian Curtis
Senior Editor, CSTV
Is the 12th game a good thing? How much can instant replay help? Who will be the next
The 12th Game
Of the college football coaches whom I have spoken with, there seems to be a great divide about playing a 12th game, something the school presidents have approved.
The proponents point to the added revenue for all sports, not just football, the ability to schedule more teams, and the opportunity for student-athletes who train "300 days a year for 11 games" to have one more fun day.
The detractors say it is simply about money; that the season is long enough and the wear and tear on the bodies take a toll. One prominent major-conference coach conceded the decision at his school was about money and made by the athletic director with no input from him. The Pac-10 will add one more conference game while many other conferences will allow their teams to schedule cupcakes in the new slot.
What started last year as an experiment in the Big Ten, has now grown to a nationwide trend for the upcoming season.
Many of the major conferences have added some form of instant replay. Some will follow the Big Ten model with a booth official determining what will be reviewed and making the call, while others will allow referees to review calls on the field and make the final ruling. Coaches are in favor of replay.
None of this would have happened if the Big Ten had not had success. Last season, few games hinged on the outcome of replays and the delays were minimal. Just 28 of a possible 57 games were interrupted by replay and only 21 calls were overturned all season. Just wait until a team loses a game on a controversial replay -- then we'll see how much support it gets.
The Rap Sheet
We all know about the high-profile arrests of players at Tennessee and South Carolina, and recently, Ohio State.
But also in the news this past week were the arrests of two basketball players at Boston College--one for passing counterfeit money, the other for smoking a marijuana cigarette. While off the field problems are expected at most college factories, the arrests at BC are something different.
In recent years, BC has become a model athletic program with success on and off the field. But here's the catch, something I brought up two weeks ago in this space: programs in football and basketball that reach the elite level almost always have off-the-field problems.
Think about it. The football teams of
Nebraska, Florida State, Ohio State and Miami. The hoops teams of and UConn. It simply is very hard to win at the highest levels without problems. Cincinnati, Oklahoma
I asked some Conference USA coaches about the issue at the spring meetings in
, last week, and most seem to acknowledge the relationship, but point out that it's the media that makes things into big deals, and that almost every program has issues. It's a matter of how bright the spotlight is. Destin, Florida
There are some fascinating new homes for football coaches, and a few may be able to win immediately. Certainly, Urban Meyer and Charlie Weis will be watched closely. Peers believe Urban will do fine with a solid group of athletes while they lament the chances for success for Weis, not because of his abilities, but due to the brutal schedule of the Irish and the lack of athletes.
Les Miles at LSU has been on a honeymoon in
, but he has yet to coach a game. The tide can turn quite quickly down there. Baton Rouge
Speaking with people at Illinois, the stage is set for a good season under new coach Ron Zook. Like at USC in 2000 with Paul Hackett, the players simply gave up and got used to losing. When Pete Carroll took over, the pieces were already there and some say the same holds true in
In the "only time will tell" category are Greg Robinson at
(can he convince recruits to come?) and Ed Orgeron at Ole Miss (can he be a head coach?). Frank Solich at Syracuse Ohio could pull a Mike Price and engineer a quick turnaround; Dave Wannstedt could get to a BCS game with a weakened Big East; and oh, Steve Spurrier at --I just don't think they have the players on campus to win the SEC. South Carolina
The stage seems to be set for Louisville to take over the BCS-crasher role from Utah, but they will now play in a BCS conference. If you recall, the Utes, under former coach Urban Meyer, steamrolled to an undefeated season, clinched a BCS berth and then beat
Remember that the BCS expanded by a game to give more access to non-BCS conference teams in the future, but that was before Utah made it's run. Maybe they should have left it at four games.
Some More Stuff
· I had the chance to observe Bobby Bowden two years ago as part of a book I was writing and the coach did not do much in terms of game prep during the week. A coach I spoke with last week told me back in 1989 when he spent time at Florida State Bowden did little then. It's amazing then how much success FSU has had. I think Bowden is a great recruiter, Mark Richt was a great offensive coordinator and the ACC was much weaker. They won't even be the favorites this year.
· Coaches are very high on Virginia Tech this year. They could be a national championship contender with Marcus Vick at QB.
· The pressure is on at
· The QB situation at LSU is still not settled.
· I think Tommy Tuberville has a pass for a few seasons.
· Transfers who may make an impact: Ben Olson at UCLA and Brian Calhoun at
· Arizona State's Dirk Koetter took the Loren Wade murder arrest hard, and is trying to keep the team focused on the fall. They will be good.
Brian Curtis serves as an analyst and insider in all of CSTV's football programming and is CSTV's Senior Editor. To ask Brian a question or comment on his column, e-mail him at email@example.com. Read Brian's latest insiders' book, Every Week A Season, on sale now at all major bookstores and online.