Thursday, June 2, 2011

What the Mountain West Must Do Out of Conference

The area that the Mountain West is short of in its quest for inclusion as an "Automatic Qualifer Conference"--average computer rating can be easily fixed.  I said this over and over in the WAC that it is more important to get a win--any win than it is to lose to a Top 10 team.  If your present team has no chance of beating a team (and the losing teams do not), that team shouldn't be on your schedule.  Most of the teams in the WAC  refused to adopt this scheduling philosophy and that is why Boise State had to leave the conference.

I understand fully about balancing the athletic budget and if you're not getting good home attendance, you need that million-dollar payout with a Texas, Oklahoma, etc.  It seems to me that the MWC teams have far greater attendance than the WAC so that shouldn't be an issue.  In any case, I am not talking about the budget issues, the scheduling changes are necessary if the conference is serious about attaining BCS status.

Again, a win over Idaho or Arkansas State will get more benefit in the computers than a loss to Texas, Oklahoma, Nebraska, Oregon, or whoever is highly rated.  A lot of people are of the misunderstanding that scheduling those teams is going to improve your computer rating--not so, not if you lose to them.  So purely from a BCS standpoint, it is much better for the conference's lower teams in any given year (and right now that would be Wyoming, UNLV and New Mexico) to schedule only the lower-level teams of the WAC, MAC, USA and Sun Belt.  Once the wins start coming, then the schedule can be upgraded but get the wins first.  That not only helps the conference, but helps build the program and generates fan excitement.  Games against FCS teams are worthless--some computers don't even count them, and the ones that do give you next to nothing for a win and penalize you a lot for a loss.

So you can already see from the future schedules listed below that some MWC teams have scheduled far too tough, and losing any of those games will hurt the conference.  I have shown the future schedules and the estimated impact on the team's computer rating if the favored team wins those games.  I have also shown what the schedule needs to be in order for the MWC to attain permanent BCS status and the computer ratings under that scenario.  It should be obvious (again leaving all budget issues separate) that the latter route is the way to go.

Future MWC Out-of-Conference Schedules:
Air Force2011:
South Dakota             0
Tennessee State       0
at Navy                      +2.664
at Notre Dame         -(2.975)
Army                           +1.713

Analysis:  As said above, South Dakota and Tennessee State add absolutely nothing, dollars or BCS points, so they shouldn't be scheduled by anyone wanting to get automatic inclusion into the BCS.  I realize that Air Force is locked into games with Army and Navy, however Notre Dame shouldn't be scheduled because Air Force cannot beat them and as you can see, they loss 3 points in the computers by playing them.  South Dakota, Tennessee State and Notre Dame should be replaced with the best three teams that Air Force can reasonably beat--Examples are Illinois, Miami of Florida, Penn State, Baylor, UConn, BYU, Miami of Ohio, Boston College, Oregon State, Kansas State, Arizona State, Iowa State, Temple, Northwestern, Clemson, Toledo, Colorado, California, Texas, Louisville, Tennessee.  I know Air Force can find three of those to play.

Net Gain (Loss) =    1.4020

Idaho State                   0
at Michigan                   +2.787
Navy                              +2.664
Army                              +1.713

Net Gain (Loss) =        7.1640

Analysis:  Idaho State is as said a no-no.  Michigan and Navy are perfect and Army is a team Air Force has to play.  Overall, the type of schedule that can get the MWC an automatic BCS berth.  But for an even better chance, drop Idaho State and add one of the teams above.  San Jose State and New Mexico State would be better than Idaho State.

Colgate                             0
at Navy                             +2.664
Army                                 +1.713
Notre Dame                   -(2.975)

Net Gain (Loss) =           1.4020

Analysis:  Again, they have an FCS team--gotta' get away from that.  And Notre Dame should be replaced by one of the suggested teams.  The MWC will never get meet the second criterion if their teams gain a grand total of one point each on the season.  Won't happen.

Boise State2011:
at Georgia                           .8
at Toledo                             .812
Tulsa                                   1.917
Nevada                                2.544
at Fresno State                  1.180

Net Gain (Loss) =             7.2530

This overall is a good schedule.  No FCS teams.  Georgia and Toledo don't add as much as other teams but I also understand few teams will play the Broncos so again, overall a good schedule.  Boise State would be favored to add 7 points to their computer rating OOC.  If every MWC team did that, they would top the Big East.

at Michigan State               3.892
Miami of Ohio                     1.267
BYU                                      1.212

Net Gain (Loss) =              6.3710 (Incomplete)

Depending on the schedule with Hawai'i, Boise State could add a game here.  Overall, 6 points gained from 3 OOC games is very good.  They should try to schedule more teams like Michigan State if possible.  Arkansas, Missouri, Alabama and Wisconsin are suggestions.

at Washington                     1.648
at BYU                                   1.212

Net Gain (Loss) =                2.860 (Incomplete)

Boise State can add at least one game here and it has to be at home, thus limiting their possibilities.  Washington is probably good but they need to schedule tougher teams than BYU.

at Mississippi                        .226
BYU                                        1.212

Net Gain (Loss) =                1.438 (Incomplete)

Mississippi has to get a lot better for this game to help much.  And again, drop BYU.

Colorado State2011:
Northern Colorado                 0
Colorado                                -2.084
at Utah State                           3.636
San Jose State                       2.290

Net Gain (Loss) =                   3.8420

Not a bad schedule.  Utah State and San Jose State are exactly the teams that the Rams should be scheduling right now.  Try to get some wins and get that rating up there.  As you can see, the game with Colorado gets you nothing but reduced computer points.  Wait to play them until your teams consistently win 9-10 games.  And definitely drop Northern Colorado.

at Colorado                            -2.084
North Dakota State                  0
at San Jose State                   2.290
vs. Utah State                          3.636

Net gain (Loss) =                   3.8420

The temptation is to add those FCS teams but when you're all about getting your computer rating up, it's a killer.  So drop ND State and Colorado and add teams like New Mexico State and Washington State.  UTEP, Kent State, Rice, Tulane and UAB are other possibilities.

Colorado                                 -2.084
at Tulsa                                    -1.108
Cal Poly                                      0
UTEP                                         3.546

Net Gain (Loss) =                      .3540

Very poor schedule.  Again, to top the Big East you need big gains, not .35 points per team.  That's a non-factor.  As you can see, UTEP is a team that gives Colorado State an excellent chance to move up in the ratings because they have a very good chance of winning.  

Fresno State2011:
California                                    2.656
at Nebraska                              -(2.029)
North Dakota                                 0
Mississippi                                  1.962
Boise State                                 (-1.174)

Net Gain (Loss)                          1.4150

Fresno State traditionally schedules too tough and this is the case.  Cal at home is winnable so that's very doable.  They aren't going to beat Nebraska in the foreseeable future so drop them and North Dakota.  Fresno and Boise State shouldn't have scheduled each other in 2011--better for them both to schedule games they can win than to schedule a game where there is a guaranteed loser.  Ole Miss is a perfect game for Fresno.  Overall, not a good schedule for the Mountain West to improve.  Here are some better suggestions than Nebraska and North Dakota--Oregon State, Kansas State, Arizona State, Iowa State, Clemson, now Colorado is a great team for Fresno to schedule, others are UCLA, UTEP and Washington State.

Colorado                                       2.6880

Net Gain (Loss)                            2.6880 (Incomplete)

And here Fresno has Colorado--a perfect game.  If they add 2 more like that, they move up nearly 8 points in the computers.

Rutgers                                          1.655
Cal Poly                                            0
at Colorado                                    2.6880

Net Gain (Loss)                             4.3430

Rutgers is another good team to schedule.  If they can add another add one of the suggested teams above and it won't be bad.

Colorado                                          1.928
at Washington                                -(3.157)
at UNLV                                              .678
UC Davis                                             0
Tulane                                                 .800
BYU                                                     1.377

Net Gain (Loss)                                1.6260

Analysis:  Very bad schedule.  Colorado is a good team and BYU isn't bad.  They won't beat Washington in Seattle but they do get a return visit that they can win so that's not bad.  Again, they shouldn't have scheduled UNLV since they will be conference mates but that was probably already set up.  UC Davis is worthless and Tulane isn't up to Hawai'i's caliber--they can do better.  Notre Dame, Texas, Iowa, Washington, Navy, Arizona, Penn State, Baylor and Oregon State would all add huge points to Hawai'i because they are very solid teams that Hawai'i can beat.  Colorado, California and Washington State are other games that should be willing to go to Hawai'i.

at USC                                              -(2.824)
at BYU                                                 1.377
Lamar                                                    0
South Alabama                                    0

Net Gain (Loss)                                (-1.447)

Analysis:  Very poor schedule.  USC is OK because they get a return visit and can win in Honolulu.  Two FCS teams?  Replace those three teams with three of the suggested ones.

USC                                                       2.823
at Oregon State                                   2.317
BYU                                                       1.377
at Navy                                                  2.711
Army                                                      1.658

Net Gain (Loss)                                 10.886

Analysis:  See the difference from 2012 to 2013?  This is probably about as good as you can get.  Adding nearly 11 points for the MWC would be huge and all of those are winnable games.  Super schedule.

Washington                                          2.809
Oregon State                                        2.317
at Colorado                                           1.928

Net Gain (Loss)                                    7.054

Analysis:  Another solid schedule.  All three of those are exactly who Hawai'i should be scheduling right now.

at Oregon                                             -(3.318)
at Texas Tech                                        2.014
Boise State                                           -(2.378)
UNLV                                                    - (.183)
New Mexico                                          -(.774)

Net Gain (Loss)                                   -(4.639)

Analysis:  Very poor schedule.  Nevada has zero chance of beating Oregon in Eugene, especially with Kaepernick graduating--what were they thinking?  All that does is lose your team a game and three computer points.  Boise State, UNLV and New Mexico are future conference mates so not only does it not get the conference anywhere, but it loses you points as well.  Texas Tech is the only good scheduling move, the others are horrible.  Replace the four mentioned with teams like Utah, Iowa, USC, Washington, Navy, Arizona, Baylor, BYU and Oregon State.

at Washington                                        1.879 

Net Gain                                                   1.879 (Incomplete)

Analysis:  And there you see Washington, a good team to add.  Add 2-3 from the ones above and they've got a schedule that can benefit the conference.

at UCLA                                                      .669
Oregon                                                     -(3.318)

Net Loss                                                  -(2.6490) (Incomplete)

Analysis:  Again, they have zero chance of beating Oregon.  Don't dream so big that you lose the progress you've made.  UCLA is a good team to add.  Washington State is another.  Southern Mississippi, Houston and some of the other top teams from the "non-BCS" conferences are good as well for Nevada.

at Arizona                                                    1.7410

Net Gain                                                      1.7410 (Incomplete)

Analysis:  Arizona is a good move because Nevada has a good chance of winning that one.  Add 2 of the others and they'll contribute to the MWC gaining admission.

New Mexico2011:
at Nevada                                                       .887
at Arkansas                                                    .917
Texas Tech                                                   -(.226)
Sam Houston State                                          0
New Mexico State                                         3.243

Net Gain:                                                        4.8210

Analysis:  When you have struggled, you don't look for bodybag games; you look for teams you can beat to get your fan base energized.  Texas Tech is a pretty good add--they likely won't win but it doesn't hurt them much.  New Mexico State is a perfect game.  Arkansas is a solid enough team where it will add a bit but they can do much better.  When you're #114, you add other teams that are in the 100's, such as Tulane, Washington State, Central Michigan, Ball State, Louisiana-Lafayette, San Jose State, Bowling Green, Eastern Michigan.  Those aren't going to make headlines, but what they will do is give your team a chance to win games, an infinitely better strategy than playing the best teams in the world.

at UTEP                                                         -(2.092)
at Texas                                                         -(1.315)
Texas Tech                                                   -(.226)
at New Mexico State                                   -(2.981)

Net Loss:                                                     -(6.6140)

Analysis:  Horrible schedule.  They could possibly beat New Mexico State, so that could turn positive.  But definitely not Texas and Texas Tech in the same year--what did they have, delusions of grandeur?  Texas Tech perhaps but not Texas and not UTEP.  Get the games you can win and be reasonable about assessing your chances.

San Diego State2011:
Cal Poly                                                                0
at Army                                                            1.987
Washington State                                           .083
at Michigan                                                      2.972
Fresno State                                                    2.752

Net Gain:                                                         7.7940

Analysis:  A solid schedule overall.  Michigan and Army are perfect games.  Again, the Fresno game will hurt one or the other.  They could have either Washington State or Cal Poly but not both.  Add New Mexico State, San Jose State or Utah State if they want a solid home win but don't put a FCS on the schedule.  Other than that, great job.

at Cincinnati                                                   1.711
Army                                                                 1.987
North Dakota                                                      0
San Jose State                                                 .202

Net Gain:                                                          3.9000

Analysis:  Here, they have both ND and San Jose State.  One is OK but definitely not 2--they add a grand total of 2/10th's of a point for two games when they could do much better.  Cincinnati and Army are great games.  Other possibilities are:  Washington, Navy, Arizona, Michigan, Illinois, BYU and Oregon State.

at Utah State                                                     1.412
San Jose State                                                   .202
Oregon State                                                     2.613

Net Gain:                                                            4.2270

Analysis:  Here's a pretty good schedule, although I wouldn't schedule both Utah State and San Jose State in the same year when the teams above could give them far more mileage.

at Wisconsin                                                        (.142)
at Washington State                                         -(3.137)
Hawai'i                                                                -(.735)
at Nevada                                                             .197

Net Loss:                                                           -(3.8170)

Analysis:  Very bad schedule, and not just because Nevada and Hawai'i are future conference mates.  They won't beat  Wisconsin.  They are similar to New Mexico--schedule teams like Central Michigan, UAB, Rice, San Jose State, Utah State and New Mexico State.

Minnesota                                                          -(2.753)
Washington State                                              3.282
at Utah State                                                      -(2.437)
Florida Atlantic                                                     2.974

Net Gain:                                                               1.066 

Analysis:  Another poor schedule that won't help either UNLV or the MWC.  Washington State can be beaten at home so that was a decent team to add in a return visit.  UNLV with all that Las Vegas has to offer shouldn't have to do a 1 and 1 with Utah State and a loss there would kill the MWC.  Minnesota is far too good a team to go to.  If they must have a bodybag game, they should have aimed higher such as Oregon, Alabama, Auburn, LSU, etc.  Losses to those teams wouldn't hurt their rating as much as Minnesota will.  Florida Atlantic on the schedule--absolutely perfect for this time in UNLV football.  Win that and others like the ones I suggested and they'll make progress for the football program and for the Mountain West.

at Minnesota                                                       -(2.753)
Arizona                                                                 -(1.147)
Western Illinois                                                        0
at Utah State                                                      -(2.437)

Net Loss:                                                             -(6.337)

Analysis:  Another poor schedule.  Arizona is a possibility but Western Illinois offers them nothing.  There are plenty of FBS teams that UNLV can get to come to Las Vegas and beat.

Weber State                                                               0
Texas State                                                                0 
at Bowling Green                                                  2.146
Nebraska                                                               -(.554)
at Utah State                                                         -(2.820)

Net Loss:                                                               -(1.228)

Analysis:  Get rid of Weber State and Texas State; the Mountain West is too good of a conference for those games.  Nebraska is not winnable, but again if they have to have a bodybag game to balance the budget, Nebraska is probably as good as any.  Bowling Green is a perfect game for Wyoming--Utah State is too good to travel to.  Add the teams I suggested for New Mexico and UNLV.

at Texas                                                                  -(2.076)   
Toledo                                                                     -(1.977)
Cal Poly                                                                        0
at Idaho                                                                  -(2.511)                                                                   
Southern Utah                                                            0

Net Loss:                                                                -(6.564)

Analysis:  Another horrible schedule.  They won't beat Texas, Toledo or Idaho, not at this juncture.  And Cal Poly and Southern Utah get them nowhere.

Utah State                                                                -(2.820)
at Oregon                                                                     .579

Net Gain:                                                                   -(2.2300)

Analysis:  Wyoming has at least one game to add here and I hope it is someone like New Mexico State, San Jose State or Washington State, someone like that.   Unless things change in a hurry, Wyoming won't beat Utah State and Oregon is just a payday although if you're going to have one, that's a good team to schedule.

Chaz Anderson Becomes Fourth Bronco Recruit

I was hoping for this one.  Chaz Anderson has committed to Boise State, being the fourth member of the Class of 2012 to commit before the school year.

Anderson needs Bronco conditioning coach Tim Socha to take him under his wing; he's 6-0, 175, but if that can be accomplished he'll do fine.  He excels at backpedaling, is quick, and can recover quickly as well.  Anderson is the cousin of current Bronco cornerback Bryan Douglas.  He chose Boise State over interest from USC and UCLA.

He joins quarterback Nick Patti, cornerback Marcus Rios and wide receiver Shane Rhodes in the 2012 Class thus far.  Those are two outstanding corners--can you imagine those two locking down both sides?  Awesome news for Bronco fans!