College football mailbag (cont.)
In the last four college football seasons we have seen three "mid-majors" crash the BCS party (Utah in 2004, Boise State in 2006 and Hawaii in 2007). Do you think another mid-major will rise up and earn a spot in a BCS game during the 2008 season? If so, which team has the best chance to make it?
BYU has all the right ingredients. The Cougars have quietly posted consecutive 11-win seasons. They return practically their entire offense. They're most likely going to be ranked at the start of the season, so it wouldn't take that much to climb into the top 12. And they play a schedule not unlike the one Utah did during its dream season in 2004, with two games against "name" opponents -- UCLA and Washington -- that will add credibility, but whom the Cougars should be favored to beat.
In fact, I'd go so far as to throw out two, seemingly "radical" possibilities. Depending on how high BYU starts in the polls, it's not inconceivable the Cougars could lose a game and still reach the BCS. (And make no mistake, their conference road games at TCU, Air Force and Utah will not be easy.) Whereas past BCS "party crashers" fell to whichever bowl had last pick that season (this year it's the Orange Bowl), a top-10 BYU team might actually be sought after by the Fiesta Bowl, among others (depending on what other teams are available) due to its tradition and large fan following.
With the addition of the Congressional and St. Pete bowls, are we left with a real possibility of having non-bowl eligible teams play in these games or having some bowls cancelled for lack of eligible teams to play?
As I wrote acouple of weeks ago, we're getting dangerously close to that territory, though it certainly helped that the NCAA did not approve the third proposed game in Salt Lake City. That put the total number of bids at 68, and since the dawn of the 12-game season there have never been fewer than 70 eligible teams. Theoretically, they shouldn't run out of teams, though some games are definitely going to have to scrape the absolute bottom of the barrel (6-6 teams with no fan following whatsoever).
You never know, however, what extenuating circumstances could arise that might tip the scale. Remember in 2004 when Clemson and South Carolina removed themselves from bowl consideration as punishment for a nasty brawl in their annual game? And there's always the possibility of teams being banned from bowls by the NCAA for serious infractions, a la Alabama and Kentucky a few years back.
If and when the day comes that there aren't enough eligible teams, the certification committee made it clear that it will not make exceptions and allow sub-.500 teams. Some unlucky bowl is going to find itself without a participant and have to cancel its game. It would be really ugly and a really bad stain for an already heavily criticized business.
With as easy as Virginia Tech's schedule is this year, it is possible that the Hokies could finish undefeated. Would a one-loss Georgia team, which has a very difficult schedule, be able to finish ahead of them?
Let me get this straight. Virginia Tech loses so many good players that it had eight selected in the NFL draft, loses its top three tailbacks to dismissal or injury, has not a single experienced receiver and must replace nearly its entire defense ... and you're talking about them going undefeated? I'd say it's 50-50 whether they even make it out of their first game against potential C-USA champ East Carolina unscathed.
Can we have a more sensible Hokies conversation, please?
Rumors have been flying that Virginia Tech might redshirt QB-of-the-not-too-distant-future Tyrod Taylor this season, even though he split time with Sean Glennon in 2007. I think it's an interesting solution to the QB situation -- Glennon gets the reins for his senior year, Tyrod gets the starting nod for the next two or three seasons. Can this work?
I think it's a great idea -- so long as Glennon doesn't get hurt. Though he struggled in his first year as the starter in 2006 and early last season (thus prompting the coaches to start utilizing Taylor as a true freshman), Glennon clearly asserted himself as a solid QB through the rest of last season, capped off by a three-touchdown performance against Boston College in the ACC title game. While Taylor may be the better athlete and, eventually, better quarterback, Glennon has proven more than capable of leading the team.
At the same time, though, Frank Beamer may not want to abandon the two-quarterback rotation after it paid off with 11 victories last season. And even if he does, he can't afford to automatically redshirt Taylor. The sophomore will still have to be ready to go each week in the event they need him, because it would be unnecessarily risky to skip past him and go with a completely untested third-stringer.
You guys ran a story on how Iowa State is fixing up their stadium, but Boone Pickens Stadium is looking great and is 1,000 times better looking than it used to be. Why isn't there a story about BPS? Why is it that the national media continues to ignore Oklahoma State even though they have had one of the most prolific offenses over the last two years?
Because they go 6-6 every year. But I'm sure the stadium is lovely.
Anybody else have any other questions? The Mailbag will return in two weeks. Hope to see you then.
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