CSU Rams vs. AFA Falcons Preview: Saturday, September 29th at 12:00 MTN in Colorado Springs, Colorado at Falcon Stadium. The battle for the best FBS team in Colorado will be carried by the Altitude Sports Network.
So here it is, the SD State Aztecs expect to get $6.4 million from their football only membership in the Mountain West. The report also states that San Diego State receives a measly $1.2 million from its Mountain West affiliation. Reports of the Mountain West payout had ranged from $1.4 million to $1.6 over the previous year, making this figure the lowest so far. The total payout for the Mountain West last year was $2.6 million (See Jack Graham's presentation for the proposed stadium at CSU for this figure), which is less than half of SD St.'s expected Big East payout. As the Aztecs will have, other than for football, a relatively cheap traveling schedule due to the olympic sport affiliation with the Big West (a California bussing league), this number is quite advantageous for them. However, this is only expected payouts, which could change drastically between now and when the actual contracts are signed. Additionally, how will the Mountain West fare in its new media deals after killing "the Mtn." and coming into renegotiation next year? By stating the MW payout as only $1.2 million and pushing the upper edge of the Big East potential payout, is this a fact to be shared or posturing to reassure panicky fans? After speculation that BSU was possibly hedging its bet on joining the Big East, this type of response is to be expected. We'll know for sure in the fall.
The # 2 CSU Rams won a record fifth MCLA National Championship 7 - 5 over the top seeded Cal Poly Mustangs. With the latest win, the Rams pulled one ahead of BYU to take the lead in the "all-time ring race."
As if many fans of the Mountain West weren't already either embarrassed by or angry with commissioner Craig Thompson, Mr. Thompson's latest answers to BCS executive director Bill Hancock's questions will not help. "To be determined" was all that commissioner Thompson would answer, when asked if the combined champion of the MW / C-USA alliance should be granted a BCS birth, and about future revenue distribution. He did manage to say that it will be business as usual this year in the MW.
Over the weekend there have been some developments in a story that most were discounting as of Friday of last week. On Friday, May 11th, Jason Kirk was reporting that the Florida State Seminoles...
Louisville is making its intention to leave the Big East public: "Tom Jurich told the Big East board of directors that the Cardinals want to be in the Big 12 or the ACC, opting for transparency by making members aware of his school's true intentions." Also troubling for the cohesion of the Big East is the prospect that UCONN is maneuvering to leave, albeit more discretely than Louisville: "The report also says that while UConn has publicly maintained that it wants to remain a member of the Big East, privately it would like to join the ACC along with Notre Dame." Of interest to the Mountain West conference is what this instability will do for the perception of the Big East and, ultimately, how that perception will affect TV negotiations this September. The timing comes right after the Big XII selected Bob Bowlsby, former Stanford AD, to become its new chancellor. Former interim chancellor Chuck Neinas accepted WVU and TCU to keep the conference viable, but refused to expand further until a full-time chancellor had been found. With that out of the way, Louisville's announcement seems to be well timed. That begs the question of what this means for the future of the Mountain West and its relationship with Boise State and San Diego State University. "Full steam ahead" might mean full steam ahead with the MW. This also leads to more speculation about the 12th member of the Big XII if Louisville joins. Could another BE team be on the way out? Could a Mountain West or Conference USA team be tapped instead?
The Idaho Vandals had recent talks with the MW about entry into the conference. Despite projections by the university, that it could get into about 1 1/2 million homes, "the conference appears to be turned off by Idaho's lack of television market." "With that in mind, Spear isn't completely ready to write off Idaho's chances of eventually joining the MWC. 'There's always a chance,' Spear said. 'This conference reshuffling is going to continue on and I still think we haven't seen the end of it and you'll see a lot more movement in the future.'" Does this pertain to backup plans by the MW to indeed add two teams if BSU and SDSU and cannot be convinced to stay after 2012? Something that is also mentioned in the article is the potential for Big 12 and Big East poaching and the continued shuffling of conference affiliation: "The potential for a football final four could lead to dramatic changes in the bowl system, and with the hiring of a new commissioner, the Big 12 could be poised to poach teams from rival conferences such as the Big East, causing another major round of realignment." Are Idaho and NMSU simply biding time until the inevitable occurs? If the Big XII decides to actually let its number of affiliations match its roman numerals, at least two teams get plucked from somewhere and most rumors have centered around Louisville for months, although recent fan rumors have cited ACC teams, such as FSU and Clemson (less likely - $20 million fee...). If the BE is plundered, it could use this opportunity to further press the MW, which has too few members to ensure the existence of several sports it now hosts. This type of scenario could be exactly what Idaho and NMSU are hoping for, which would open the door for them to walk into the MW. Even if BSU and SDSU decide to "stay gone", these two teams are among the last in line, as there doesn't seem to be any desire for Texas expansion. Watch out, the impossible could still happen.
C-USA has decided to Charlotte and Old Dominion in addition to the four previously mentioned schools, Florida International, Louisiana Tech, North Texas and University of Texas San Antonio. That brings the C-USA membership total up to 14, while the Mountain West lags behind at 10.
The CBS Report about the MW / C-USA alliance may have been premature, or as Mark Twain put it: greatly exaggerated. UNLV president Neal Smatresk, who is the spokesman for the MW presidents, said that the plans for the alliance have not been derailed: "We're looking at alternatives on how to actually form a new conference arrangement," Smatresk said. "We've looked at several different configurations and will decide on what is best for all our members. We're proceeding, and nothing has come apart."
The examiner says its Craig Neal: http://www.examiner.com/colorado-state-rams-in-fort-collins/source-csu-to-hire-former-unm-assistant-craig-neal-as-men-s-basketball-coach CBS sports says its Ernie Kent: http://www.cbssports.com/collegebasketball/blog/eye-on-college-basketball/18457371/source-colorado-state-settles-on-former-oregon-coach-kent So which one is it?
The CSU football team has been quite active lately: A brawl occurred on St. Patrick's day involving a few CSU football players and then again on good Friday, April 6th. Three student-athletes were suspended for violation of team rules: junior defensive end Nordly Capi, junior linebacker Mike Orakpo (Brian Orakpo's younger brother) and junior defensive end Colton Paulhus. Orakpo and Capi were also involved in the previous fight on St. Patrick's day.
You really have to hand it to the presidents of the alliance universities: they really are thinking outside the box: "We haven’t taken any options off the table," Cowen said. Merging the conferences or having them operate separately as divisions are the most likely options, it appears. "At the end of the day, we might have twenty four institutions in separate divisions which each division having met the requirements of a conference," Thompson said through a spokesman. "This is uncharted territory and many ways to structure the arrangement, and each approach is being considered to maximize the potential."
FIU still looks like it could happen, but it looks like the FAU Owls didn't get an invite to the "alliance" and are going to stay in the Sun Belt. Everyone will have to change the prospective conference alignment predictions that had FAU with FIU in the C-USA side of things. President Mary Jane Saunders told Owl Access on Friday: "I can tell you we have not been invited to another conference," Saunders said. "I think those decisions have already been made. I think it's finished now. ...We're staying in the Sun Belt." So according to President Saunders, the invitations for membership in the new alliance have already been decided, yet no one has heard anything about who they are: Let the speculation begin...
The CSU Rams last went to, and won, a bowl game in Steve Fairchild's first year as head coach (2008 New Mexico Bowl: 40 - 35 over Fresno State); they haven't won four games in a season since. The new head coach, Jim McElwain, seems to know why. There has been a very different approach to the laid-back practices of the Fairchild era. Coach Mac said of the new philosophy being implemented in practice: "Once again, it's changing a culture, changing an attitude and changing a mindset ... If we played a game today,I think the 7-year-old Pop Warner team would have probably beat the heck out of us." The Rams weren't as well prepared as other teams over the past 4 years, that was obvious to just about anyone on game day. Early indications are, and it is very early, that the Rams will at least be a better fundamentally prepared and more detail oriented team than they have been over the past 4 years. McElwain is trying to implement his style of practice from day one. It already appears more disciplined and focused than the previous 4 - 5 years. It will be interesting to see if the coaching changes can really change the culture and instill a desire to to perform more consistently. Many fans had been longing for a change in coaches, because those from Fairchild's staff were largely holdovers from the Sonny Lubick era and were seen to have been stuck in a rut and underperforming. Coach Mac, with his more focused style does not demean the players on the practice field (as was done before) and by recruiting size, rather than skill positions, is seemingly changing the very make-up of the team. It does seem like this will be a very different football team than last year (hallelujah!).
One thing that landed AD Jack Graham in some hot water back in December, when he had been on the job about 1 week, was his use of a consulting firm, to the tune of $250,000, to identify head football coaching candidates for the Rams. Fast forward from December 2011 to March 2012 and Graham has to re-tool in the area of men's basketball. The CSU board of Regents only allows for 6 multi-year (non-faculty) contracts of a certain level and this is one of them. Graham says that he is ready to retain the "head-hunter" services again, which is sure to cause another heated debate Fort Collins. Graham has installed assistant Craig Smith, the NAIA Division II national coach of the year in 2007 at Mayville State (ND) as interim coach. Names that have popped up so far include, but are not limited to: Mike Dunlap, Randy Rahe, Scott Nagy, Steve McClain, Scott Sutton and Rob Jeter.
Oh my: Shades of Louisville and the Big 12 recruiting rumors. Is any of it true?
The 2012 NCAA Tournament bracket and field has been announced, and the Colorado State Rams are the 11th seed in the West region. The Ram's first opponent will be the 6th seed Murray State Racers,...
According to an article by Brett McMurphy, as many as 11 teams have contacted the "alliance" or have been contacted by them about future membership. That includes the entire WAC! Throw in a couple of schools from the Sun Belt, just to make Karl Benson feel at home, and an A-10 school as well just to round things out. Looks like there will be no difficulty in adding teams. It seems that hasn't been the problem, its been keeping the others that has become the worry.
Make sure you print out your brackets for the tourney!
Just when the Rams thought they had it all together, secondary coach, recruiting coordinator and lone Steve Fairchild hold-over Tim Duffie bolts CSU for Wake (Forest).
New UNC AD Bubba Cunningham favors a 128-team basketball tournament, with the first 64 games played on campuses. With almost 350 total teams, a 128 team tourney is around 1/3 of all teams.
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