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Rose's dream is Big Ten vs. Pac-10 AND title game

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  • Rose's dream is Big Ten vs. Pac-10 AND title game

    Aug. 5, 2005
    By Dennis Dodd
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!





    CHICAGO -- There's a unique opportunity for the Pac-10 and Big Ten in 2005. For the second time in BCS history, the Rose Bowl is the site of the national championship game after this season. Assuming that USC is the prohibitive No. 1 favorite going in, that puts the pressure on the Big Ten to make it a 1-2 natural matchup for the national championship.


    Heisman winner Matt Leinart is expected to lead USC to a Rose Bowl berth. (Getty Images)
    That's something that hasn't happened in 37 years.

    It seems amazing the last time the Rose Bowl's anchor teams met while ranked 1-2 in the Associated Poll was Jan. 1, 1969. Ohio State beat USC 27-16. A "rematch" of sorts could be looming, although considering the strength of the Big Ten, Ohio State is in for a battle to win the league. Michigan was named the favorite this week at the Big Ten preseason media days.

    "Anyone going in against USC would be the underdog," Ohio State linebacker A.J. Hawk said. "That would be a little bit of motivation, I think."

    Only twice in history have the 1-2 teams in the AP poll from those conferences met in Pasadena (the other year was 1963). That shows how much fans of both leagues care about such an occurrence. Michigan coach Lloyd Carr has said in the past he valued a Rose Bowl berth over a national championship shot.

    But this year, the stars are aligning for a Big Ten vs. Pac-10 championship game in the shadow of the San Gabriels on Jan. 4. No. 4 Michigan, No. 9 Ohio State and No. 10 Iowa all start the season ranked in the top 10 in the coaches poll. USC, which brings a 22-game winning streak into the season, is led by Heisman winner Matt Leinart.

    "We definitely want to get there no matter who we're playing, but we'd definitely like to get a shot at USC," Michigan running back Michael Hart said. "Whoever wins the Big Ten this year and goes undefeated, they have no choice but to put you in the national championship game because the Big Ten is so strong this year."

    There is some recent history. Michigan was the victim 20 months ago when the USC started its championship run with a 28-14 victory over the Wolverines in the Rose Bowl.

    To say Carr is obsessing over that game might be too strong, but he does remember it. Michigan was trailing only 7-0 in the second quarter when John Navarre's pass hit Braylon Edwards' heel. USC's Lofa Tatupu intercepted and ran it back to the Michigan 3. USC scored easily to make it 14-0.

    "They got a hell of a break when the ball hit Braylon in the heel," Carr said. "We never got back in it. If you look at the teams (they beat), they get them down, they kill them."

    The year before, USC beat Iowa 38-17 in the 2003 Orange Bowl.

    "To me the surprising thing was where they had been to," Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz said. "The year before we played them, they had lost to Utah in the Las Vegas Bowl. We saw it coming, obviously, because they finished (2002) pretty strong."

    No wonder the biggest barrier in establishing the BCS was the Rose Bowl.

    The Granddaddy didn't want to give up the tradition and more-than-half century exclusivity of matching the Big Ten and Pac-10 champs. Seven years into the BCS, there's no doubt that tradition and exclusivity has been nicked. In only five of the seven years have Big Ten and Pac-10 teams met. In the 2002 postseason, convoluted BCS rules resulted in that Iowa-USC matchup in the Rose Bowl.

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    It was more than hard for Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany and his Pac-10 counterpart Tom Hansen to give up that exclusivity in 1998 when the BCS was formed. The Rose joined a four-year rotation for the BCS title game as determined by the dreaded BCS formula.

    Miami and Nebraska invaded Pasadena in 2002, ending more than 50 years of Big Ten-Pac-10 matchups. The Rose had to settle for Oklahoma and Washington State in 2003 when the Orange invoked a little-known BCS financial exception that allowed it to take USC and Iowa.

    "We knew we were going to have some disruption of tradition, to be honest with you," Delany said this week. "We've had more disruption of tradition than we counted on."

    Before last season, there had been only 34 AP No. 1 vs. No. 2 games in the 67-year history of the poll. Only 14 of those came in bowl games, only two in the Rose Bowl.

    "We wanted that inflexibility," Delany said. "That was a desire. Even though we didn't have championship games, we were still doing 25 ratings. It was still one of the top four or five sports properties."

    The Rose's position is enhanced in the new double-hosting format that debuts in 2006. The bowl will have to take a non-BCS school (now granted easier access) once every eight years. Once every four years (along with the Fiesta, Sugar and Orange) it will play host to two games -- the first will be the traditional Rose Bowl, followed a week later by the BCS title game.

    Any talk about a playoff starts and stops with the Rose Bowl. It isn't going to give up its traditional partners, which means a I-A playoff is moot for the near -- and possibly long-term -- future.

    "I sense no melting," Delany said of the presidents who oversee the BCS.


    The quotable Joe
    Leftovers from Joe Paterno's two-hour sit down during earlier this week at the Big Ten media days.

    On entering his 40th year of coaching at Penn State:

    "If they didn't have a calendar I wouldn't know how old I am. I got my picture in the old Brooklyn Eagle. I was sitting in my room looking at it. My dad said, 'Keep looking at that. It's not going to be in again.'

    "That's always been in the back of my mind. I don't look back. Every once in a while in the middle of the night you sit back and think about some of the things, all the letters I get from kids who played on teams, and I get a little nostalgic."

    On retirement:

    "If I could coach 10 more years, I'd coach 10 more years. I feel healthy, I love to coach. Now, if you say to me, how do you adjust to that with friends who are dying, family members that you have an obligation to, then it starts to chip away."

    On Wisconsin coach Barry Alvarez, who is stepping down after this season to concentrate on his AD duties:

    "Barry was a kid out of high school that I turned down because he was too fat and too slow."

    On criticism from the outside:

    "If we don't go to a bowl game you're (media) POed, the fans are POed. I understand human nature enough that I don't let it affect me.

    "If Darrell Royal called me up and said, 'Joe you're doing a lousy job,' that would bother me."

    On his condition:

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    "I've been up since 4:30 this morning, OK? I still get by on five hours sleep. I walked six miles yesterday, up and down hills, 85 degrees. I don't feel like an old man. You guys want to make me feel like an old man."

    On speculation this could be his best team in years:

    "Talk's cheap. You gotta get it done. You put the Ohio State kicker (Mike Nugent) on our team, and we win seven games. That's how close the league is."


    Absence makes the heart grow harder
    Now that the flurry of preseason media days is over, it occurred to this Internet scribe the amazing amount of big-time players who weren't allowed to appear.

    Remember, these preseason deals are a two-way street. They allow reporters to gather information about players and coaches for the upcoming season in an informal interview setting. Hotels, resorts, ballrooms, etc. They also allow programs to put on their best face for the public. Theoretically, they would want to promote their best players while coaches spew happy talk about them.

    Not this year. The lack of stars at the Big 12, ACC, Big Ten and SEC was sometimes stunning. To summarize:


    In Houston, Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops did not bring Adrian Peterson. All Peterson did as a freshman was finish second in the Heisman voting and establish the freshman rushing record. Rumor has it that Peterson might be in the doghouse for slacking off this summer. Who exactly was being punished here? Peterson missed out on traveling to traffic-clogged downtown Houston on a 95-degree day to face reporters in an equally clogged hotel.

    In Chicago, Lloyd Carr didn't bring the two keys to his offense -- sophomores Chad Henne and Michael Hart. Henne threw 25 touchdown passes as a freshman. Hart ran for 1,455 yards as a first-year player. Ohio State coach Jim Tressel left Ted Ginn Jr. at home. The two schools aren't known as being particularly media friendly. Guess they've got enough TV bucks stashed away that print doesn't matter.

    Where the heck was Miami's Devin Hester at the ACC media days in Hot Springs, Va.? Arguably the league's best player and a Heisman contender was left home in favor of offensive tackle Eric Winston and defender Thomas Carroll. Two nice guys, but Hester could be the best return man in the country and is reportedly going to become a full-time cornerback. Seems to be a story or two there.

    Is there a better poster child for Urban Meyer's offense at Florida than Chris Leak? But he was left home from the SEC shindig in Birmingham too.
    A lot of coaches bring only upperclassmen as a "reward" for their accomplishments. Helps promote the program -- blah, blah, blah. So what does that say about the likes of Peterson, who might be the best player in the country?

    Sure, the likes of Michigan and Oklahoma don't need the publicity, but consider this: Reporters (not necessarily this one, mind you) might remember the absence when it comes time to vote for awards. Not in spite, but it's easier to vote a guy national honors if you've met him, interviewed him and written about him.


    Quick hits

    Another reason for the coaches to reveal their ballots: A record 60 (of the 62) voters cast first-place votes for No. 1 USC in the preseason coaches poll that was released Friday. Who among us wouldn't want to know who the two "dissenters" are? The coaches are revealing their final ballots starting this season; why not reveal the preseason ballots? Wouldn't hurt anyone. We'll say it again: It's borderline unethical for the coaches to have such a stake in awarding millions of dollars in BCS money to, essentially, themselves.

    You can't accuse USC of favoring one Heisman candidate over another. MattReggieTV.com was supposed to debut Friday on the school's athletic website. Streaming video will feature the behind-the-scenes lives of Matt Leinart and Reggie Bush. Watch out Real World.

    From the blotter: Nehemiah Ingram is now in a place where it's somewhat legal to mug someone. The infamous Temple basketball player who broke an opponent's arm when ordered to foul hard by coach John Chaney, is walking on to the football team as a tight end.

    After spending 258 days in jail in the last year, star Iowa State defensive lineman Jason Berryman has been reinstated by coach Dan McCarney. Berryman was convicted on theft and assault charges. At least it was worth it. Berryman was arrested for beating up a student and stealing $4 and stealing a cell phone from another. Why was he reinstated? Consider that with the addition of Berryman, Iowa State might just have become the favorite in the Big 12 North.

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  • DJRamFan
    Perfection isn't good enough to give Auburn shot at title
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 01, 2005
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    NEW ORLEANS -- Poor Auburn.

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    A 12-0 record and SEC title would be enough to make the Tigers a front-runner for the national title most years -- or at least cause a spirited debate about who's No. 1.

    But this isn't most years.

    While Southern California and Oklahoma prepare for their Orange Bowl matchup that probably will decide an undisputed national title, Auburn can only watch like the envious kid with his nose pressed up against the glass. No matter what the Tigers do in Monday night's Sugar Bowl, they have little, if any chance, of being No. 1.

    "To be honest with you, it gives us more motivation," running back Carnell Williams said. "Everybody's mad, disappointed, hurt. But why should we stop here and let that be a setback? Why not go out on Jan. 3 and try to show people that the system is whacked? They messed up. We are the best team."

    If this scenario sounds familiar, well, it is. Only No. 3 Auburn's plight is even more pitiful than top-ranked Southern California's being left out of the Bowl Championship Series title game last year.

    The Trojans at least had the hope of splitting the national title because they were No. 1 in both polls, and that's exactly what happened. Southern California kept its No. 1 ranking in the Associated Press Top 25 poll, while LSU won the BCS crown.

    "If it happens we're fortunate enough to win, perhaps some other poll might decide we deserve to be No. 1," said Ed Richardson, the interim president at Auburn.

    But Auburn is behind No. 1 Southern California and No. 2 Oklahoma, who have identical 12-0 records. Even if Auburn beats No. 9 Virginia Tech (10-2) in one of those laughers normally reserved for nonconference foes, the Tigers are unlikely to leapfrog the Orange Bowl winner or be anything other than the answer to a trivia question.

    No team from a major conference has gone unbeaten without getting at least a share of the national title since Penn State in 1994. The Nittany Lions were 12-0 then and won the Rose Bowl, but Nebraska was 13-0 and a consensus champ.

    "This is all mythical," Auburn coach Tommy Tuberville said. "When you don't have a playoff of four, eight or 16 teams, it's picked by other people. We think we're the best team in the country, and we've played like it so far most of the time this year. But again, that's for other people to decide."

    The BCS tweaked its formula this year in hopes of avoiding messes just like this, emphasizing the human polls over computers. But as Auburn and Utah and California found out, the polls aren't foolproof, either.

    While Southern California and Oklahoma have been the national title favorites all year, Auburn was way...
    -01-01-2005, 03:00 PM
  • DJRamFan
    USC vs. Oklahoma: As close to perfect as BCS can get
    by DJRamFan
    Jan. 01, 2005
    SportsLine.com wire reports

    MIAMI -- Pete Carroll calls this one the perfect matchup, and in many ways it is: USC vs. Oklahoma in the Orange Bowl for the national title.

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    Preseason favorites to make it to Miami, the Trojans and Sooners were No. 1 and No. 2 in the polls all year. They feature the last two Heisman Trophy winners and about a dozen All-Americans between them.

    Two of college football's most storied and tradition-rich programs, Oklahoma and Southern California have 11 AP national titles combined.

    Of course, rarely is anything ever perfect when the Bowl Championship Series is involved.

    Just ask Auburn.

    The top-ranked Trojans (12-0) and No. 2 Sooners (12-0) meet Tuesday night for a national championship that will wrap up the college football season, but not necessarily the debate over who's No. 1.

    On Monday night, No. 3 Auburn puts its 12-0 record on the line against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl with a chance to finish a perfect season that will compare favorably with the Orange Bowl winner's.

    "It stinks the way it played out this year for them," Oklahoma quarterback Jason White said. "They're a great team. They probably deserve to be in this championship game just as much as either one of us. But that's the way it worked out."

    USC and Oklahoma were right at the center of last year's BCS mess. The Trojans were left out of the BCS title game despite being No. 1 in the polls. The Sooners got in despite a lopsided loss in the Big 12 championship game.

    In the end, USC finished on top in The Associated Press Top 25 and LSU beat Oklahoma to win the BCS crown.

    "We were playing for the title in our minds last year," said Carroll, the Trojans' coach. "But this year there's an added dimension."

    The BCS guys were determined to make sure a consensus No. 1 would never again be left out of the title game, so this year's formula emphasized the polls over the computers.

    One problem solved.

    Next problem: There are three unbeaten teams, all clearly worthy of a spot in the title game. For that, there is no BCS solution.

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    "I'd love to see a playoff, though this does feel a little like a playoff," Carroll said. "But I'm not hopeful for that."

    At least this season neither title game participant is being labeled undeserving, as the Sooners were last season after being throttled 35-7 by Kansas State for the Big 12 championship.

    With a chance to redeem themselves, the Sooners fell flat in the Sugar Bowl. A battered White looked little like a Heisman Trophy winner in the 21-14 loss to LSU.

    The Sooners turned...
    -01-01-2005, 02:58 PM
  • RamsFan4ever
    Michigan, USC ready for Rose Bowl's stage
    by RamsFan4ever
    Michigan, USC ready for Rose Bowl's stageBy Ivan Maisel
    ESPN.com
    Archive

    BEVERLY HILLS, Calif. -- The Rose Bowl can give come-hither looks with its history, its tradition and its physical attributes. So, too, can Michigan and USC. Both teams reached the velvet ropes of the BCS Championship Game only to be turned away and directed westward. Both teams have had to parry questions about motivation and desire in the wake of their season-ending defeats.



    Matthew Emmons-US PRESSWIRE
    Lloyd Carr can't believe some people don't understand how special the Rose Bowl is.The coaches of both teams, in their final pregame news conference Sunday at the Beverly Hilton, tried their best to illustrate the shortsightedness of such questions without declaring the questioners on mental vacation.

    "You just don't get it," USC coach Pete Carroll said. "The kids are jacked up. The coaches are. The fans will be. Had you not asked the questions, it would have been left behind."

    "There's something special about New Year's Day," Michigan coach Lloyd Carr said, "something special about going into that incredible setting, the Arroyo Seco, the mountains. You know you have an opportunity to play in a very, very special game. It's not really hard to sell it."

    "Those are awesome football games," Carroll said of the No. 1 vs. No. 2 game that the Trojans aren't playing in. "But they are not better. They are not better than what this is. The day you play, the game you're playing, the team across the field from you, that's the whole world. It doesn't matter what trophy they hand you . Look at the explosion of the Boston College victory [Saturday in the Meineke Car Care Bowl]. That kid kicks the field goal and they win and the team goes crazy. On that moment, on that day, it was the biggest thing in the world."



    Stephen Dunn/Getty Images
    Pete Carroll knows how he'll react if USC can snap its Rose Bowl losing streak Monday.Either No. 3 Michigan (11-1) or No. 8 USC (10-2) will leave a two-game losing streak behind at the 2007 Rose Bowl presented by Citi on Monday (ABC, 5 p.m. ET). The Wolverine seniors lost the Rose Bowl as freshmen and sophomores. The Trojans lost the Rose Bowl a year ago and, on the same field, lost to UCLA a month ago.

    There's little reason to believe Michigan will play the same way it played in losing to USC, 28-14, in 2004, and Texas, 38-37, in 2005. As Carr said Sunday, "This team defensively is a much better team than we were three years ago." Michigan has allowed only 14.6 points and 43 rushing yards per game.

    The Michigan offense is much better, too, thanks largely to the switch to a zone-blocking scheme for the running game from the traditional gaps Michigan has created for decades. The new scheme has been a...
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    -01-01-2007, 12:31 PM
  • DJRamFan
    Weekend in Review: 'New' BCS still could produce a mess
    by DJRamFan
    Oct. 10, 2004
    By Dennis Dodd
    SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!


    Halfway through the season, the national championship race has some feel, some texture.

    Dodd's Power Poll

    1. Oklahoma
    2. USC
    3. Miami
    4. Florida State
    5. Auburn
    6. Virginia
    7. Purdue
    8. Louisville
    9. Georgia
    10. Texas
    11. Utah
    12. Boise State
    13. Wisconsin
    14. Arizona State
    15. Cal
    16. LSU
    17. Michigan
    18. Tennessee
    19. Florida
    20. West Virginia
    21. Oklahoma State
    22 Minnesota
    23. Navy
    24. Southern Miss
    25. Missouri
    25. UCLA
    Non-BCS Top 10
    1. Louisville
    2. Utah
    3. Boise State
    4. Navy
    5. Southern Miss
    6. Florida Atlantic
    7. UAB
    8. Memphis
    9. Wyoming
    10. Northern Illinois
    And some chaos just in case you forgot the BCS is a week away from weighing in. USC remains No. 1 but lost style (and poll) points in beating Cal. No. 2. Oklahoma handled Texas to creep closer. It's hard to believe Miami is now a heartbeat away at No. 3 considering some of its problems.

    What's it all mean? Refer back to last season when the BCS couldn't make up its mind between LSU, USC and Oklahoma. A similar nightmare scenario is developing.

    Three words: Split national champions. The new BCS that was supposed to lessen that likelihood looks like it is leading down the same path. Remember, there is nothing in the new BCS formula that can pick the "right" teams if there are three or more worthy teams for the two Orange Bowl slots at the end of the season. By leaning more on the human polls this year, the BCS commissioners are hoping the credibility of those rankings will sort things out.

    One of many problems: The computers still count for one-third of the formula, which could just as likely create split champions as prevent it. Last season, LSU, Oklahoma and USC all lost one game before the bowls. The BCS math picked Oklahoma and LSU to play in the Sugar Bowl despite the fact USC was No. 1 in both human polls.

    We'll say it again: More reliance on the human polls this year doesn't necessarily clean things up.

    Here's an early glimpse at this year's potential train wreck: Assume there are these 13 legitimate national championship contenders at this point. Nine of them are undefeated -- USC, Oklahoma, Miami, Purdue, Wisconsin, Virginia, Utah, Arizona State and Auburn. Four have one loss -- Florida State, Michigan, Cal and Tennessee.

    At this point a year ago (using the Oct. 12, 2003 Associated Press poll), there were 14 contenders. But there were only three undefeated teams worthy of title...
    -10-11-2004, 01:36 PM
  • RamsFan16
    New BCS game sets stage for things to come
    by RamsFan16
    http://www.sportsline.com/collegefoo...6?cfoot4.25.06

    New BCS game sets stage for things to come
    April 25, 2006
    By Dennis Dodd
    CBS SportsLine.com Senior Writer
    Tell Dennis your opinion!





    PHOENIX -- The Legos are in place. Or Tinker Toys. Or Lincoln Logs. Whatever you want to call the new Bowl Championship Series.

    The structure is in place for a small, modest playoff in Division I-A football.


    The system was put in place to help mid-majors like Utah. (Getty Images)
    It might not even be fair to call it that. Plus, any such monumental change is probably at least four years away.

    It might take that long to figure out the current BCS structure, which kicks off this season. Ask around. Here's a bet that a large chunk of coaches don't even know how things are going down this season.

    And we're less than nine months away from playing the actual bowl games.

    That's why we offer this tutorial from this week's BCS meetings.

    What's this new "double-hosting" format?

    Starting this season, there are now five BCS bowls instead of four. Because of a threat of Congressional anti-trust intervention launched by non-BCS schools, a fifth game was added for better access two years ago at these meetings.

    That means the bowl that is hosting the national title game each year -- after this season it is the Fiesta Bowl -- will also host its normal bowl game more or less a week prior.

    Here's how it looks this year:

    Jan. 1: Fiesta Bowl in Glendale, Ariz.
    Jan. 1: Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.
    Jan. 2: Orange Bowl in Miami
    Jan. 3: Sugar Bowl in New Orleans
    Jan. 8: BCS national title game back in Glendale, Ariz.
    Give us a projected lineup in those bowls

    Fiesta Bowl: Big 12 champ vs. at-large (Oklahoma vs. West Virginia)
    Rose Bowl: Pac-10 champ vs. Big Ten champ (USC vs. Iowa)
    Orange Bowl: ACC champ vs. at-large (Florida State vs. Texas)
    Sugar Bowl: SEC champ vs. at-large (Notre Dame vs. Auburn)
    BCS national championship: No. 1 vs. No. 2 in final BCS standings (No. 1 Ohio State vs. No. 2 LSU, based on SportsLine.com pre-spring top 25)
    How does a non-BCS school get in?

    Nothing is finalized -- hey, it's only April -- but count on any team from a "coalition conference" (MAC, WAC, Mountain West, Sun Belt, Conference USA) automatically qualifying by finishing in the top 12 of the BCS standings.

    A further entry point: If the lowest-ranked BCS conference winner (among the Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-10, SEC, ACC and Big East) finishes No. 16 or lower, a coalition can get in by finishing No. 15 or higher.


    Does the extra BCS game make sense...
    -04-27-2006, 06:12 PM
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