College football selection committee: Progress?

TO ALL THOSE folks who figured the selection committee for that new four-team playoff was going to somehow reinvent the wheel - and you know who you are - it might be time to reconsider.

I keep hearing how the panel, which is down to 12 members now that Archie Manning has taken a leave of absence due to health issues, will be able to weigh all the information differently than the way voters and the even-more-dreaded computers did before. And thereby, I'm assuming, come up with better answers/solutions.

Oh, really?

The first CFB Top 25 is coming out next Tuesday.

I voted in the Harris Poll, which was part of the three-pronged BCS formula. I took my responsibility seriously. I formed educated opinions. I assume most everyone else took the same approach. I wanted to get it as right as possible, even though there rarely are absolutes when the human element is involved.

The reality is, the BCS got it right more often than not. The biggest problem with the BCS is that it was asked to identify only the top two teams. If two stood out, it wasn't an issue. Now the gray area has been shifted to hoping four separate themselves. I don't remember much complaining in 2005 after we ended up with Texas and Southern Cal.

In the last 5 years, the final BCS standings virtually mirrored the final regular-season Associated Press poll, which wasn't one of the two that were utilized. In 2010, Stanford was fourth in the BCS and fifth in the AP, while Wisconsin was fourth and fifth, respectively. And in 2009 Cincinnati was third and fourth, to TCU's fourth and third. Other than that . . .

So what will change?

Is the committee going to take a team that's, say, seventh in the polls? Maybe. But there's usually a reason why teams are ranked where they are. Don't make this more complicated than it has to be. Otherwise, why has there been so much uniformity in the balloting process? Did voters consult with each other before deciding? Yet, we're being led to believe the committee will find a way to think outside the traditional box to come up with a "fairer" solution.

I can hardly wait.

I have no doubt the committee will do the best job it can. I'm just not convinced that a step in another direction is necessarily one in a better direction.

But the BCS had become the favorite punching bag for critics who won't be satisfied until there's an eight- or even 16-deep tournament. I think they should have kept what was in place but used it to determine your final foursome.

Guess that wasn't progressive enough.


Numbers Game

Forget the unbeatens (Mississippi State, Florida State, Ole Miss and Marshall). There are 18 teams left with one loss. Four of them are Duke, Minnesota, Utah and Colorado State. Wanted to see who was paying attention.

Spotlight on ... Division II showdown

If it's West Chester and Bloomsburg, it almost always means something.

This year, it’s even historic.

West Chester (7-0, 6-0 PSAC East) is ranked seventh in D-II. Bloom, with the same record, is eighth. They’ll catch up with each other again on Saturday at 2 in Bloomsburg. You can watch it on PHL17. Last November the 16th-ranked, once-beaten Huskies won down here over the unbeaten, No. 8 Rams, 31-28. Three weeks later, in the second round of the NCAA playoffs, WCU won at Bloom, 40-38, to break a four-game losing streak in the series.

In 2008, the Rams won a late one on the road, by three, then lost back at Bloom by seven in a second-round rematch.

The only other time they’ve met when both were undefeated was 1967. That was in the fifth game. Visiting WCU won, 50-28, and finished 10-1. So this is the latest it’s ever happened.

“It feels like a local rivalry,” said WCU coach Bill Zwaan, who is 6-7 against Bloomsburg. “Because we recruit almost all the kids on their team and they recruit almost all the kids on ours. So we know each other pretty well.

“A lot of kids at Bloom, their second choice was West Chester. And a lot of the kids we have, Bloom was their next school. So after the game, we’re saying hello to all those guys.”

The winner will likely represent the division in the title game and put itself in position for a better postseason seeding.

“Most of the games have been really tight,” Zwaan said. “I look at it as, our kids feel they can win up there now. That’s the positive. Because the truth is, last year’s [senior] group had never beaten them. Now that that’s off our back, I feel we can play well.”

It’s not the SEC West, but ... “How many times have we played when something big’s been on the line?” Zwaan noted. “At our level, it is kind of like an Alabama-Auburn. You can’t compare the two. But for our kids, absolutely ... We’ll both have work to do later, but you want to come out of this in control of your destiny.

“This is what you want. These are the games you’re most nervous going into. But you’re also excited to be part of it.”

Trivial pursuit

Marshall’s Rakeem Cato just broke Russell Wilson’s FBS record by throwing a touchdown pass in his 39th consecutive game. So whose record did Wilson break back in 2011? Hint: He played sparingly in the NFL, with the Packers and Jets. See Answer Man.

AAC me up

* SMU’s leading rusher, Kevin Pope (105 yards), saw regular time at linebacker last week.

* Connecticut (1-5), which is 20th in FBS in defense, has rushed for one touchdown. As has SMU.

* South Florida scored the final 24 points to overcome a 20-point halftime deficit at Tulsa, the largest comeback in the program’s 18-year history.

It's a smalls world

* Rowan junior Withler Marcelin tied the school career record for 100-yard games (11), set by Pat Thompson (2002-04). Also, the Profs’ Jay Accorsi just got his 100th coaching win.

* Unbeaten Widener, 13th in Division III, is at once-beaten Lycoming, which had a bye after losing at unbeaten, No. 21 Delaware Valley. Last year Lyco ended the Pride’s school-record 15-game home winning streak (16-14).

* Del Val’s Rasheed Baily leads D-III in receiving yards (1,053) and is second in TD catches (12). That ties the school record set by Rich Gear in 2001.

Answer man

Texas Tech’s Graham Harrell had a TD pass in 36 straight games from 2006-09.

Week 9 television schedule

TOP 25


18. Eatt Carolina vs. Connecticut (ESPNU) 7:00


6. Oregon vs. California (FS1) 10:00


1. Mississippi State at Kentucky (CBS) 3:30

3. Mississippi at 24. LSU (ESPN) 7:15

4. Alabama at Tennessee (ESPN2) 7:30

5. Auburn vs. South Carolina (SEC) 7:30

8. Michigan State vs. Michigan (ABC) 3:30

10. Texas Christian vs. Texas Tech (FOX) 3:30

11. Kansas St. vs. Texas (ESPN) 12:00

13. Ohio State at Penn State (ABC) 8:00

14. Arizona State at Washington (ESPN) 10:45

15. Arizona at Washington State (P12) 5:00

16. Nebraska vs. Rutgers (ESPN2) 12:00

19. Utah vs. 20. Southern California (FS1) 10:00

21. Clemson vs. Syracuse (ESPNU) 7:00

22. West Virginia at Oklahoma State (ESPN) 3:30

23. Marshall vs. Florida Atlantic (FS1) 3:30

25. UCLA at Colorado (P12) 2:00


Penn at Yale (NBCSN) 1:30

Morgan State at Villanova 3:30

Temple at Central Florida (CBSSN) 5:00

13. Ohio St. at Penn St. (ABC) 8:00



On Twitter: @mikekerndn