Inside Marshall Sports

A bowl worksheet

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This simply projects simple bowl eligibility, considering there are *70* spots available. If there isn’t 71 eligible, we cannot consider the possibility that any 6-6 team gets shut out.

Heading into today, standings from ESPN.com:

Big East: 3 are in
Next win: UConn, Louisville
Next loss out: Cincinnati

Big Ten: 7 in, 1 out
Next win in: Illinois
Next loss out: Purdue, Indiana (both play 11/27)

Conference USA: 5 in, 3 out
Next win in: Houston, SMU
Next loss out: Marshall, Tulane

Independents: 2 in
Next win in: Notre Dame

MAC: 5 in, 6 out
Next loss out: Kent St, W Michigan

MWC: 4 in 4 out
Next win in: BYU

Pac-10: 3 in, 3 out
Next win in: Cal
Next loss out: Washington, UCLA

SEC: 8 in, 1 out
Next win in: Georgia
Next loss out: Tennessee, Ole Miss

Sun Belt: 0 in, 3 out
Next win in: Troy
Next loss out: Ark St, La-Monroe, MTSU

WAC: 4 in, 2 out
Next loss out: La Tech, Utah St, Idaho

54 in, 27 out, 38 still alive (USC is counted as out)
Next win in: 15
Next loss out: 20

Worn-out Conference USA issue

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Upon rereading ESPN’s account of Conference USA media day, I shake my head.

And not just at my not being there to react on the scene. I have learned to with with that.

But I must say: The whole hullabaloo over C-USA not producing a “BCS Buster” is at once worn-out and worrisome.

A word about Boise State: Yes, the Broncos have done a tremendous job building the program. But they have been helped by playing in a conference loaded with Tulanes. It has been my experience that when a team runs the table within its conference, the rest of the league is (usually) not up to snuff.

I wouldn’t mind the 9-game league schedule not because it would produce a BCS buster — it won’t — but because nonconference scheduling is such a royal pain. Every other year, it will usually improve your home schedule.

But I see the economic arguments for staying put.

Here’s a worry I have about “trying” to bust the BCS: If Houston (or whoever) is 7-0 in the league and trying to score a late touchdown in its final game, does the league have too much of an interest in the Cougars winning? And does that somehow translate to the officiating?

One good thing about that: C-USA entered into the CFO West compact, which should blunt that possibility. I’ve long thought the assignment of officials should not be performed at the conference level.

One more thing: Wouldn’t it be nice if a C-USA team would beat SEC No. 5 in the Liberty Bowl first?

Ready for some … status quo?

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Fresh off the wire…

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott says Texas has turned down an invitation to leave the Big 12 and join his conference.

In an e-mail to The Associated Press, Scott confirms that Texas has rejected the Pac-10’s offer.

The news first was reported by The Dallas Morning news.

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I’m thinking realignment is over for the time being. I’m guessing the Big Ten is holding out for Notre Dame to come to its senses, and then it would pick off a Big East team. For now, nothing more.

Conference USA stays intact…

Finally, my 2007 “pay for play” column

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I promised it more than a week ago, and here it is from 2/12/07:

HEADLINE: Pay for play? Get real
Byline: Doug Smock
I am amused by the occasional call from some pundits for universities to begin paying their football players. They tend to fire up the most at the end of each season, when people need a change of pace from grousing about the BCS.

Morally, the arguments aren’t bad when you consider head coaching salaries hitting the $4 million per year mark. And we won’t even go into the facilities arms race, which is delving into some staggering construction price tags.

When you apply the concept realistically, it collapses like the ’85 Cubs.

Sure, Tennessee could afford to give its football players, say, a $50 per week stipend. Based on 85 scholarship players paid over 40 weeks, the UT program, aka the Knoxville Mint, could part with $170,000.

There are two piddly little problems here. One, not every program is as loaded as Tennessee. Very few are.

Second, if you think college programs could begin a payment program and limit it to their football team, you have a future in stand-up comedy. An attorney with the faintest knowledge of Title IX would have other ideas. Eventually, you’d pay every scholarship athlete in your program, and maybe your walk-ons to boot.

I would say about 100 of the 119 programs daring to play Division I-A football wouldn’t want to open that Pandora’s box.

Please, please, forget this issue. Awarding free tuition, books, housing, meals, easy access to tutoring and possible celebrity status doesn’t fit my definition of exploitation.

Not to worry. With the NCAA bending over backwards to reinforce the concept of amateurism, imperfect as it may be, the pay-for-play faction isn’t getting much traction.

[end column]

For next Monday, I might poke a little fun at all the BCS schools who are scheduling *two* FCS opponents this fall.