NCAA Board Of Directors Approve New Bowl Selection Process

August 4, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

As talked about earlier this week on Thunderjags, the NCAA Board of Directors approved a new selection process on Thursday for bowl games. This new process includes the possibility of a team with a 5-7 record to be selected to a bowl game.

Under this new measure, on the contingency that there is not enough bowl-eligible teams or if a bowl cannot be filled by its conference affiliations, the open spots would be filled through a six-tier process.

  1. First consideration will go to 6-6 teams with a win against any FCS teams (Former Division I-AA) regardless of scholarship numbers.
  2. Then a 6-6 teams with wins over two FCS schools.
  3. Follow by a team that finish 6-7 and loses in a conference championship game.
  4. Next a team that finishes 6-7 that play a 13 game schedule allowed under the Hawaii exception (Hawaii and it’s home opponent).
  5. Then a transitional team moving from FCS to FBS if they have a 6-6 record.
  6. Finally A team with a top-five APR that finishes 5-7 on the season could be selected.

There are 124 FBS Schools as of 2012 (Four are transitional teams which will be completing their second year of a two year transition). As you probably know by now they are the University of South Alabama, UT-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass. There are four schools that have a bowl ban for the 2012 season, Ohio State, Penn State, North Carolina and most recently UCF.

However two more institutions, Oregon and Miami (FL.) University have cases pending before the NCAA which could further lower the number of bowl-eligible schools to as few as 114 possibly. There are 35 bowl games which opens 70 slots for bowl teams.

In 2011, there was worry that there would not be enough bowl-eligible teams to fill the needed slots. By the end of the season there were 72 teams for the 70 slots, including a 7-5 Western Kentucky team which was not offered a bowl berth.

While we have been told the Jags would not be eligible for a conference championship or a bowl game, that may not be true now. Depending on how the rule is applied, IF the Jaguars can finish with a least a 6-7 record, they could potentially be eligible to fill any empty slot in a bowl game.

“It’s exciting to even hear that news,” Head coach Joey Jones said. “We had put that completely out of our mind and that next year would be the first year that we would have an opportunity. For our players and our staff, that’s something to work toward.”

Dennis Dodd “Jags Could Go Bowling”

August 1, 2012 · Filed Under Football · Comment 

Dennis Dodd, a well respected CBS Sports writer, posted a new article yesterday that has the South Alabama fans potentially excited. On the heels of the NCAA’s announcement of penalties against the University of Central Florida, Dodd’s headline stated, “UCF bowl ban means, gulp, South Alabama could go bowling.”

You may be asking, What does this mean? Well, UCF joins three other programs who have a bowl ban for the 2012 season. Those four teams are Ohio State, North Carolina, Penn State and UCF. OSU, North Carolina and Penn State have been perennial bowl participants while UCF was expected to challenge for the C-USA championship this coming season.

In 2010 the postseason expanded to 35 bowl games, which requires 70 teams. However there were only 72 bowl eligible teams last season.

He also pointed out that Jerry Palm, a CBS Sports writer, has also projected that there will not be enough teams to fill the 35 bowl games in 2012 before the UCF sanctions were announced.

Dodd also points out that there are outstanding cases for Miami and Oregon. Miami self-imposed a bowl ban for 2011, however it is currently still bowl eligible but the Nevin Shapiro case is still heating up. Then the Oregon case with Will Lyles third-party influence on recruits, most notably the aggressive recruitment of Lache Seastrunk.

Former Sun Belt commissioner Wright Waters is now the executive director of the Football Bowl Association. He stated in the article, “It’s an issue that we’re monitoring closely and working with NCAA to develop a backup plan.”

Dodd then points out the options that the NCAA Board of Directors would consider if this possibility occurs.

  • Allow a team with a record of 6-6 win a win over an FCS team (formerly Division I-AA) that does not meet the scholarship/financial requirements. Current rules allows an FBS team to count one win over an FCS team towards bowl eligibility but only if that school sponsors an average of 90% of the 63 scholarships allowed in FCS (IE 56.7 scholarships).
  • Allow a team with a record of 6-6 who has two wins over two FCS (formerly Division I-AA) schools. FBS rules states that they may only count one victory over an FCS school towards their bowl eligibility. However, most FBS teams try not to schedule two FCS schools for that very reason.
  • Allow a team with a record of 6-7 that lost it’s seventh game in a conference championship game. (How many 6-6 teams go to their conference championship?)
  • Allow a team with a record of 6-7 that played 13 regular season games (Hawaii rule applies here).
  • Allow teams with a record of 5-7 to be bowl eligible ranked by APR.
  • Allow in a team that is reclassifying.

The last one is where South Alabama, UT-San Antonio, Texas State and UMass all come in. Each of these schools are currently in their second year of the two-year reclassification process from FCS. None of these schools are bowl eligible nor are they eligible for their conference championship games.

Dodd pointed out that the reclassification contingency is far down the list, but he added “But when you were 7-0 three years [ago] playing Hargrave Military Academy, it sounds more than encouraging. The Jags, located in Mobile, drew 26,000 for the first-ever game in 2009, an example of that Alabama football madness.”

South Alabama went 7-0 in their first season as he pointed out. Then went 10-0 against stronger competition in 2010 including a huge win over UC-Davis. The Jags went 6-4 in 2011 with losses to NC State, Kent State, Georgia State and their first ever home loss against Cal Poly.

You can read Dodd’s full article on CBS Sports here. You can also follow him on twitter.

Doing The Conference Shuffle 2010 Edition

June 6, 2010 · Filed Under Football, News · 1 Comment 

Some interesting things have popped up lately about conference expansion/realignment. There have been speculation about the Big10 (actually 11 teams) grabbing at least one more team to make the NCAA required 12 teams in order to have a conference championship game.

The Big10 (actually 11) first inclination was to offer to Notre Dame who already has some well established rivalry games within the conference. They are in the right place in the region and, well, it just plain makes sense. However, Notre Dame holds onto this notion that they are special and that their name means something in College Football. Unfortunately, it only does to Notre Dame alums, elderly college football fans and Lou Holtz. If you face the facts like Kirk Herbstreit said on College Gameday late last year, Notre Dame has been irrelevant for about 20 years. The best thing for the Irish to do is to join the Big 10 (actually 11) while they looking for a 12th team.

Other Big10 (actually 11) candidates would be getting Connecticut as well as luring Syracuse and Rutgers to the fold. This would bring in the New York market and money. But UConn isn’t part of the AAU. Plus they aren’t that good anyway.

Next on the list would be Missouri. Pulling them from the Big 12 might prove to be a tough proposition but Mizzou fits in much better than UConn, Rutgers or Syracuse. The bottom of the short list has Pitt. They are rivals to Penn State and the Big 10 (actually 11) is already in Pennsylvania. Nebraska is another Big 12 school that could be lured to the Big 10 (actually 11) and would fit in like Missouri.

The Big 12 has given both schools, Nebraska and Missouri, a deadline of Friday at 5pm to tell them what they are going to do. If they don’t meet the deadline, then another very interesting twist could unfold.

The Pac-10 is also looking to expand their ranks. If Mizzou and Nebraska fail to meet the deadline then six Big 12 schools could possibly bolt the conference for the Pac-10. Those teams would include Texas and Oklahoma. The Big 10 (actually 11) has not formally extended any invitations to anyone but continues toward trying to land a major program. Texas is in play for every league exploring expansion.

Mike Slive, commissioner of the SEC Conference is currently sitting atop the mountain right now. The SEC is the superconference that everyone wants to be like. The Big 10 (actually 11) wants to join them on that mountain as another superconference. Slive is ready to react if the Big 10 (actually 11) expands to 14 or even 16 teams.

Some people have said that the SEC would be ready to extend an invitation to Texas and Texas A&M. Other possible schools could be Florida State, Clemson or Virginia Tech. Tech was actually being courted when the SEC was looking to expand last time but they added Arkansas instead. Some Georgia Tech fans might try to pull for their school but they don’t really fit the SEC model.

So all of this talk about Big 12, Pac-10, Big 10 (actually 11) and SEC but what does it mean for South Alabama? Could USA be the dark horse and sneak into the SEC? Doubtful at this time. But with this talk of superconferences what about a merger between Conference USA and the Sun Belt?

Looking at football schools, this would bring together South Alabama, Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, Louisiana Lafayette, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, North Texas, Louisiana Monroe, Troy and Florida Atlantic together with Alabama-Birmingham, Memphis, Southern Mississippi, Tulane, Houston, Central Florida, Marshall, Rice, SMU, UTEP and Tulsa for a very large conference.

Do they need all of those schools? Not really. Who to pick for a 16 team conference? South Alabama, UAB, Louisiana Lafayette, Louisiana Monroe, Southern Mississippi, Troy, North Texas, Houston, UTEP, Tulsa, Memphis, Central Florida, Florida Atlantic, Florida International, Middle Tennessee State, (Marshall, Rice or SMU). But what would be better would be if this new megaconference (not quite a superconference) could lure someone like East Carolina, Georgia Tech or Clemson to the conference.

But how all this will shake out is anyone’s guess at this point. The ball is in the Big 10’s (actually 11) court with Notre Dame. If they can convince them to join, it’s mostly all over from there. The PAC-10 will still probably look to expand but trying to convince six Big 12 schools to join them would be infinitely more difficult if Missouri and Nebraska do not have to face a choice of joining the Big 10 (I won’t mention the 11 this time) or staying put.

Coach Jones Has Good News And Basketball Gets Ready To Tipoff At Home

November 17, 2009 · Filed Under Basketball, Football, Men's · Comment 

The Jags have gone 3-1 so far in basketball with wins over West Florida 79-63, Houston Baptist 76-64 and Sacramento State 70-58. Their only loss was to Rice by two points, 71-69.

The Jags will open their home season on Thursday when they host Spring Hill college at 7:05pm at the Mitchell Center. USA will be honoring the football team for their accomplishments in their inaugural season at halftime of the men’s game.

Mentioned today on the Coach Joey Jones Radio Show, the NCAA has granted USA players who have not already used their redshirt year, the ability to count this year towards that. Since USA was not competing against “varsity” teams, the NCAA has allowed them to do this.

However this will apply differently from player to player. For instance, someone like Brandon Ross who has only used one year of eligibilty (at Memphis) will get to count this year as his redshirt year which means he has three more years to play at USA. But a player like Courtney Smith who has used his redshirt and played two years at UAB will only have one more year of eligibility left for next year. Charlie Higgenbotham and Justin Dunn both have the same eligibility status as Smith. All but one of the offensive linemen, who are JuCo transfers, have only used two years of eligibility and will have two more years to play for USA.

During Monday’s media day Coach Jones reflected on the Jags inaugural season. One of the first questions he was asked was about how he felt after realizing that the team had played its final game of the season. He answered by saying, “This weekend I was emotionally and physically drained from a year and a half of putting this thing together, but at the same time I’m just really excited for where our program is at this point. So much hard work has gone into putting this together, and I’m just really pleased with where we are in the process of moving into Division I.”

Another question was about where the team will go from here. “The biggest thing we’ve got to meet with the team about today is that we’ve got to continually raise the bar starting today and all the way through next season, and even beyond that,” Coach Jones answered. “We’ve got to realize where we want to be as a football program, and we’ve got to continually raise the bar every day, because we’re by no means a good Division I program right now. We’re going to be there, but we know that we’ve got a lot of work to do to get to that point.”

He was then asked about what areas the team needed to improve upon. “It’s obviously in the weight room and the strength and conditioning area,” he said. “We’ve got to become a bigger and faster team, and then the second thing is recruiting. We’re hitting the recruiting trail this week, and have been recruiting, but we can focus all of our energies toward recruiting and signing what we deem are Division I players. We’ve got to make decisions along the way that we’re going to sign better players than we’ve got, or we’re not going to sign them. We don’t need numbers anymore. We need higher quality players as we go, so we’ve got to focus on that and not get caught up in trying to sign numbers.”

Coach Jones was asked what he would remember from this first season. He answered, “The number one thing I’m most pleased about is how the team came together. I’m not just talking about our players and staff, I’m talking about our trainers, equipment people, graduate assistants, and strength and conditioning guys. Everybody that was involved with the program seemed like they were all on the same page, and that was the most pleasing thing – to bring that many people together and get them all going in the same direction. We really had a bunch of great people.”

One of the last questions asked was what it means to the program to win all seven games this season. “Number one it makes a statement that South Alabama is here to build a Division I football program,”he said. “The 7-0 thing is a confidence builder. Success breeds success and losing breeds losing, so I would much rather be 7-0, because I think that carries over. It’s not that if we had lost a bunch of games that we wouldn’t have had a chance to have a great program, but any time you win kids get used to it and it’s harder for them to lose down the road.”