Nearly three years ago to the day (11/27/10), I blogged about the football game between Nevada and Boise State which Nevada won in a huge upset. It knocked Boise State out of the ranks of the undefeated, not to mention #3 in the nation. Yesterday Fresno State and San Jose State played a game with similar implications. This one was as wild a shootout as I can ever recall. At least the first half of it.
Fresno State’s QB Derek Carr, who holds nearly every Bulldogs passing record - and is as classy a representative as any university would hope for - threw for six TDs. In the first half! As if that wasn’t enough of a shock, Carr’s counterpart at San Jose State matched him, score for score. The score at the half was 42-41 because the Spartans blocked one of Fresno’s PATs. But the Bulldogs were getting the ball first in the second half. Or so they thought.
San Jose State, who also had something other than pride riding on the game, i.e. they were attempting to become bowl eligible, on-side kicked to open the second half - the kicker dribbling the ball out in front of him, running with it for the required ten yards, and then falling on it. The ensuing touchdown and PAT put the Spartans up eight and Fresno State could never recover. The final score was 62-52, a fun game to watch if you were a SJSU fan or if you loved offense.
Rather than, again, explaining the story behind the story, i.e. the emotions of the presidents and directors of athletics of non-BCS institutions - and which team the underdog administration is truly rooting for - please allow me to simply reprint the post from three years ago. Just substitute Fresno State for Boise and San Jose State for Nevada (and this year’s pitiful BCS teams for those in the original blog).
There were three collegiate football games with major implications played yesterday. Oregon, Auburn and Boise State, ranked #1, 2 & 3 in the AP Top 25 poll were all competing, and each had hopes for a national championship.
Both sides - BCS and non-BCS teams and conferences - have debated the fairness of the current system, with no clear cut “winner” in the discussion. One factor that has not been mentioned has to do with the leaders of the actual schools involved, i.e. the directors of athletics and the presidents, as well as the conference commissioners.
During the Alabama-Auburn game, U of A president Dr. Robert Witt and AD Mal Moore, most certainly were comfortably seated in their sky boxes, cheering on their beloved Crimson Tide. No doubt, Mike Slive, the SEC commish was there as well. All were entertained by a terrific game, the Alabama contingent obviously disappointed with the outcome. Commissioner Slive’s only rooting interest was, most probably, that no further incriminating news regarding Auburn’s Heisman Trophy leading quarterback, Cam Newton, was revealed during the afternoon.
Similarly, in Eugene, Arizona prez Robert Shelton and its director of athletics, Greg Byrne, were intently watching the contest, hoping that somehow their Wildcats could do what no team on the Ducks’ schedule had done - slow down Oregon’s fast-paced offense and derail the nation’s number one team. I would imagine that Pac-10 commissioner Larry Scott got what he wanted. Both schools played well and there were no embarrassing incidents.
In the Boise State-Nevada nightcap, however, there had to exist the height of ambivalence on the part of the Wolfpack’s president, Milt Glick and its AD Cary Groth. If their boys won, it would be an upset for the ages. The game was billed as “The Biggest Sporting Event in Reno History” since Jack Johnson fought there - 100 years ago!
Yet, because of the current BCS structure, their conference, the WAC, would be denied the mega-check that comes from one of their conference members participating in a BCS bowl - which has now been lost due to the overtime thriller in which Nevada prevailed. Sure, the ‘Pack won, but what about the million or so dollars they, and the other conference schools, would have received had Boise won? This isn’t a concern for the schools in the BCS leagues - even those as pitiful as Vanderbilt, Washington State, Wake Forest, Kansas or Minnesota. Or Indiana - who gave up 83 points in an earlier game to fellow conference member Wisconsin. Do the Hoosiers really deserve all that revenue? More than Boise State and Nevada do?
And that’s just for playing in a BCS bowl. I read somewhere that each BCS school receives in the neighborhood of $7 million - regardless of whether they even won a game during the season. Nice neighborhood - if they let you in.
So far there’s been no mention of the WAC commissioner, Karl Benson, who must be in mourning. Not only has Benson lost out on the BCS bowl paycheck, but next year Boise State moves to the Mountain West conference, followed by Nevada the following season. Fresno State also leaves with Nevada and Hawaii is seriously consider bolting the WAC too. Anyone who thinks Karl Benson was an impartial observer last night in Reno doesn’t understand the true problem a non-BCS conference commissioner has.
There’s little doubt that Benson and everyone belonging to the NCAA “family,” but outside the all-powerful BCS group, shares Mike Honda’s feeling:
“My own mother always taught me that fairness was a family value - I think equal pay is about fairness for everyone.“