Posted: Tuesday July 3, 2007 12:09PM; Updated: Friday July 6, 2007 11:57AM
In your last Mailbag you mentioned that the day could come where Nebraska, Texas, Oklahoma etc... could break off and join with USC/UCLA and make some kind of super/mega conference. Care to elaborate? What would all the conferences look like if you were the God of College Football and re-did all the conferences from scratch?
I figured that answer might raise some eyebrows. Let me just reiterate that no such move is remotely imminent and it was purely speculative on my part. That said, I kind of miss the conference musical-chairs game everyone was playing back when the ACC dominos began falling, so why not play this thing out for the fun of it? What I envision is a flat-out demolition of the existing conference model to be replaced by eight NBA/NFL-like geographic "divisions" that feed into the inevitable 32-team playoff.
Here's what the eight divisions -- comprising 76 of the current 119 Division I-A schools -- might look like. Divisions with 10 teams would play three non-conference games. Divisions with nine teams would play four.
Northeast (9): Boston College, Connecticut, Maryland, Penn State, Pittsburgh, Rutgers, South Florida, Syracuse, West Virginia
Atlantic (9): Clemson, Duke, Florida State, Georgia Tech, Miami, North Carolina, N.C. State, Virginia, Wake Forest
Midwest (9): Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Notre Dame, Ohio State, Purdue, Wisconsin
Central (10): Arkansas, Baylor, Iowa, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, Texas Tech
The Old Metro Conference (9): Cincinnati, Louisville, Marshall, Memphis, South Carolina, Southern Miss, Virginia Tech, TCU, UCF
Southeast (10): Alabama, Auburn, Georgia, Florida, LSU, Kentucky, Ole Miss, Mississippi State, Tennessee, Vanderbilt
Southwest (10): Arizona, Arizona State, Colorado, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA, USC, Utah
West (10): Boise State, BYU, Cal, Fresno State, Hawaii, Oregon, Oregon State, Stanford, Washington, Washington State
In the end, to make the whole thing work, I had to (among other things) move Nebraska to the Central division rather than the Southwest one I had prophesized last week. And if someone can come up with a better name than "The Old Metro Conference, I'm all ears.
Matthew Stafford came in last year with a lot of buzz and improved by the end of the season. I think he's got a very long way to go still before people can say he's the next David Greene. What's your opinion of how this QB will help Georgia possibly contend for a national championship in the future?
I've been getting a lot of e-mails lately about Georgia and Stafford. It seems some Dawgs fans (not necessarily Melissa) are a little bent out of shape about all the hype fellow rising sophomore Tim Tebow is getting down at hated rival Florida. Meanwhile, about the only attention Stafford has garnered this offseason came at a NASCAR race. They point out, correctly, that while Tebow may already have a national title ring, he has yet to play even half a game or throw more than a handful of passes, while Stafford was Georgia's starter throughout most of his freshman season. So where's the love, right?
I agree with Melissa's assessment that Stafford still has a long ways to go. I think it's unfortunate he had to be thrown into the fire as a true freshman because he clearly was not ready, throwing eight of his 13 interceptions during one three-game stretch that included losses to Florida and Kentucky. But then came a breakout performance in the Dawgs' surprising win at Auburn, followed up by victories over Georgia Tech and Virginia Tech. There's no question Stafford has the body size and the cannon arm that NFL teams drool over, but we all know there's far more to being a successful college QB than physical attributes. He'll need to come out this year and significantly cut down on his mistakes. Of course, one thing he has going for him is that his head coach, Mark Richt, happens to be one of the most accomplished QB mentors out there.
Hey Stewart, my 11th-grader has to start thinking about colleges soon. He'd like one with a good sports program. Which is more fun for the students these days, a strong football program, like Penn State, or one with a strong basketball program, like Villanova?
I may be biased on this one, but I don't think there's any question it's football. Don't get me wrong, I've covered basketball games at places like Duke and UCLA and I've seen the students having one heck of a time. And the good news in basketball is you get to do it 15 times a year rather than six or seven. But there's something to be said for being part of an "event" as huge as a college football Saturday on your campus. At a football school, it's the focal point of your entire weekend, from the parties Friday night to the tailgates Saturday morning to the game Saturday afternoon or evening.
Plus, there's the opportunity for road trips to away games (a little harder in basketball when the games are often during the week), which comprised some of my favorite memories from college, and of course the bowl games. While in most regards, the NCAA tournament is a far more compelling event than college football's postseason, it's definitely not as spectator-friendly. Very few students are able to travel with their team through the tourney, due both to the quick turnaround between rounds and the scarcity of tickets, but there's nothing like flying to an exotic location around New Year's and seeing thousands of your classmates in the stands.
Do you think your book can overtake the final Harry Potter book in number of presales?
Well, let's see. As of this writing, Harry Potter is No. 1 on Amazon, while Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls is No. 228,751. It's not looking good. But remember, Harry's got the whole British audience behind him, too. The only way a Brit is going to be buying my book is if he confuses the goal-post storming on the cover for a soccer riot.