BCS not kind to Hawaii
Appeal Sports Writer
The first Bowl Championship Series standings were released on Sunday, and despite a 7-0 record, Hawaii finds itself at No. 18.
A non-BCS school needs to get in the top 12 to attain eligibility for the BCS bowls – Rose, Sugar, Orange and Fiesta. The top two teams in the rankings play in the Allstate BCS National Championship game.
The polls had Hawaii at No. 16, but the computer rankings for the Warriors weren’t as favorable.
“I don’t pay much attention,” Hawaii coach June Jones said when asked if he thought his team had reached its plateau in terms of the polls. “I don’t even know how they figure it out. It’s a longshot for us to get the opportunity, and the only way we can do it is to win the rest of our games.”
Karl Benson, the WAC commissioner, agreed that Hawaii would have to go undefeated to attain a spot in the top 12, and he still believes that if Hawaii finishes 12-0, that will happen. Hawaii getting a BCS bid would allow a fourth-place team from the WAC (if it is bowl eligible) to be extended a bowl invitation to either the Sheraton-Hawaii Bowl, the New Mexico Bowl or the Roady’s Humanitarian Bowl at Boise State.
Benson pointed out that Boise State a year ago at this time was No. 15 in the BCS standings.
“They were No. 18 in the Harris poll and No. 7 in USA Today,” Benson said of the 2006 Broncos. The computer rankings had the Broncos at No. 11, which boosted them up.
Benson said he was surprised that the computer rankings had Hawaii at No. 25. Benson attributes that to the Warriors’ strength of schedule (two Division 1-AA games) and the fact that the win-loss record of Hawaii’s opponents is below .500. In fact, none of Hawaii’s opponents are over .500.
Benson also said that the rash of upsets at the upper end of the polls has hurt Hawaii’s and Boise State’s chances to move up even when they win.
Bill Curry, the former college coach and current ESPN commentator, said during the Nevada-Boise State broadcast that he was concerned about the fatigue factor in the overtime contests, and players getting hurt.
“I hope they don’t change it,” Jones said. “It’s the most exciting thing. I don’t think fatigue is an issue.”
“I kind of like it,” NMSU coach Hal Mumme said. “I think they change the rules too much. It (fatigue) is part of the game.” Mumme went on to point out that there weren’t that many extra plays.
You won’t find a coach in the WAC that would do away with the overtime. In fact, most embrace it in the present format. Unlike the NFL which is decided by who scores first, in college both teams get a chance to score.
Nevada coach Chris Ault, whose team was no stranger to overtime games when the Pack was a 1-AA team, said it was his recommendation that helped get the NCAA to move the ball back to the 25 instead of the 15 which was where it was placed for each new set of downs. Ault said part of the reasoning is that teams would have to kick longer field goals if they couldn’t score a touchdown.
Maybe the best overtime rule change was forcing teams to go for a two-point conversion starting with the third overtime.
JONES RIPS FIELD CONDITIONS
Jones was bitter about the field conditions last Friday night at Spartan Stadium. It rained late last week in the San Jose area, and the natural-grass field didn’t hold up real well.
Six of the nine WAC teams have some sort of synthetic surface. The only grass fields are at San Jose, Fresno State and New Mexico State.
“The field conditions were atrocious,” Jones said. “It’s embarrassing for a Division I field to be in that condition.”
Benson was asked about it later in the teleconference, and said that schools have control over their own facilities.
“I know it’s a lot better than when they hosted the Silicon Valley Bowl,” Benson said, alluding to a Fresno State-UCLA game played at Spartan Stadium several years ago. “I know the last couple of years they have put in better drainage. That (artificial surface) is an institutional decision.”
Benson pointed out that if the football stadium is a multi-use facility that synthetic surface obviously would be to the school’s advantage and provide a much better playing surface. Spartan Stadium also is used for soccer.
NEVADA-BSU A CLASSIC
ESPN loved Sunday’s Nevada-Boise State game so much that the cable giant dubbed it an “Instant Classic,” and the game will be replayed Wednesday at 5 p.m.
Boise State extended its winning streak to eight over Nevada with a wild 69-67 four-overtime win.
With a combined total of 136 points scored by the two teams, Sunday night’s game set the NCAA record for most points in a game. The previous mark was 134 points in Arkansas’ 71-63 seven-overtime victory over Kentucky on Nov. 1, 2003.
AGGIES’ WOES CONTINUE
It you picked a hard-luck team in the WAC this year, it would have to be New Mexico State.
In two plus years, the Aggies are 2-16 in conference play, including 0-2 this season after Saturday’s 22-21 heartbreaking loss to Tech.
Mumme had high hopes this year with quarterback Chase Holbrook and a plethora of receivers, including Chris Williams and Nick Cleaver. However, injuries have forced the Aggies to play short-handed the past couple of weeks. Holbrook missed the last 1 1/2 games, and Cleaver has been hobbled by an ankle injury.
True freshman J.J. McDermott completed 29 of 40 for 319 yards and two scores. Mumme admitted that he has changed some without Holbrook.
“I thought J.J. played a terrific game,” Mumme said. “We attempted to run the ball a little more, but we didn’t do that well.”
Three of the four starting linebackers missed the Tech game, crippling an already not-so-great defense.
“It’s not a lot better,” Mumme said when asked about his team’s injury situation. “Chase will play this week, and the rest are probably still out. We’ve had to adjust (defensively) quite a bit.”
STRUGGLES THROUGH THE AIR
Idaho, without Nathan Enderlee at quarterback, struggled again throwing the ball.
Brian Nooy was 9-for-22 passing for a paltry 144 yards.
Idaho coach Robb Akey said Enderlee’s progress has been good, but he doesn’t expect his redshirt freshman to play this weekend at New Mexico State.
“They took the cast off last week,” Akey said. “Hopefully he’ll be able to move his middle finger and start throwing by the end of this week.”
The Vandals have used Quin Ashley at quarterback as a change of pace, but Ashley isn’t a threat throwing the ball.
Boise State running back Ian Johnson, Louisiana Tech linebacker Quin Harris and Boise State place-kicker Kyle Brotzman were named the WAC’s offensive, defensive and special teams players of the week.
Johnson, a junior, rushed for 205 yards and two scores and caught four passes for 51 yards and another score in the Broncos’ wild 69-67 four-overtime win over Nevada Sunday night.
Harris, a junior, registered a season-high 12 tackles, including a fourth-quarter sack, that helped the Bulldogs pull out a 22-21 win over New Mexico State on Saturday. Tech’s defense held NMSU to 42 yards in the final five possessions.
Brotzman, a freshman, made all four of his field goal attempts and seven extra points to score 19 points. His 29-yarder forced the fourth and final overtime period.