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Posts Tagged ‘Mountain West’

How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 4

As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four Independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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    Notre Dame to Leave Big East, Join A.C.C.

    Notre Dame will join the A.C.C. in all sports with the exception of football and hockey, the conference announced Wednesday. As first reported by Brett McMurphy of ESPN, the university’s arrangement with the A.C.C. differs from its previous affiliation with the Big East in one significant fashion: Notre Dame will play five non-conference games annually against A.C.C. competition. In a way, this slides the Irish into a role as the league’s 15th member – while certainly not a full-fledge football member, seeing that the program is not playing for any sort of conference hardware, Notre Dame’s relationship with the A.C.C. is far deeper, far more meaningful and far more significant than the university’s prior connection to the Big East.

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      How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 3

      As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four Independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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        How the Conferences Rank, 1-12: Week 2

        As an accompanying post to today’s re-ranking, here’s the entire F.B.S. conference breakdown in terms of average P.S.R. 1-124 ranking. It’s not entirely fair to include the Independent programs among the true conferences, seeing that there’s only four independent teams, but it does give a slight slice-of-life taste of where that quartet stands in the big picture. The listings include the average ranking, highest team ranking and number of teams in the top 25 in parentheses. Without further ado:

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          No. 13: Boise State

          Imagine a scenario where Chris Petersen leaves the ball in Kellen Moore’s hands – and you know the game I’m referring to, and you know the moment in question. Boise’s a shade outside the red zone with 25 seconds left. Instead of sliding down in the middle of the field to give Dan Goodale a cleaner shot, Moore finds Matt Miller for a nine-yard gain. He runs up to the line, spikes, stops the clock. That leaves a far easier try for his kicker, but time remains. So Moore drops back again, knowing he can throw it away or, if push comes to shove, take a sack and still have a timeout in hand. He finds Tyler Shoemaker for a 10-yard gain to put Boise on T.C.U.’s doorstep. Petersen calls his final timeout. Goodale comes on for a glorified extra point and sends it home, giving Boise the win. The Broncos end the year 12-0, second in the final B.C.S. standings, and meets L.S.U. in New Orleans for the national title. Win, lose, draw: it doesn’t matter. The Broncos get there, further validating the program’s success since 2006. Instead, the kick sailed wide – meaning that in each of last two years, Boise’s quest for a shot at the title was thrown away by special teams failures.

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            No. 43: Nevada

            No team in college football suffered a commensurate drop in production at quarterback from 2010 to last season. And you knew it was coming: Nevada went from Colin Kaepernick – who remains wildly under-recognized – to unknowns, and the offense struggled at times as a result. But there’s good news, and it comes in form of program-best depth under center since 2007, when Kaepernick, a redshirt freshman, was backed up by Nick Graziano, then a sophomore. There’s such depth, in fact, that it came as no surprise when would-be sophomore Mason Magleby opted to transfer in January, before the Wolf Pack even stepped on the field for spring ball. That leaves Chris Ault and Nevada with only four pedigreed options: a returning starter, the most decorated quarterback to come out of Montana in generations, a promising former JUCO transfer and a true freshman purported to have the highest ceiling of them all. Seeing that the Pistol is predicated on quarterback play, Ault has to feel pretty secure about his program’s future on offense.

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              No. 49: Air Force

              You can’t control injuries. There’s nothing a staff can do to keep players on the field and off of crutches; try as one might – and I’m sure there’s a detail-obsessed coach out there who has chewed it over – there’s no way to control the flow of injuries. Typically, those teams that dominate the national title conversation remain largely injury-free, outside of the common nicks and bruises that impact every roster. But for most teams, injuries are a constant, never ending source of pain and anguish. For some the pain stings worse: Air Force, for example, is not a football factory, one that spews out five-star recruits like a slot machine, but rather one of those programs that needs all it can get from each and every player on its roster. Put the Falcons among those teams that must stay healthy – and if they don’t, a once-promising season can quickly take a turn for the worse.

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                No. 67: Utah State

                From 1998-2010, a lifetime in this sport, there may not have been a worse program in college football: Utah State went 43-106 over this 13-year span, never winning more than five games and winning a combined 15 games from 2003-8. It was never, ever pretty; it was always ugly, or very, very often ugly. But Gary Andersen never lost faith, it seems, and after watching his teams make subtle progress from 2009-10 he led Utah State into bowl play last fall after a 14-year absence. Not that it was easy. And not that this past season didn’t have the fan base reaching for antacids: just as six losses came by a combined 26 points, Utah State’s total margin of victory over its five-game winning streak to end the regular season was only 19 points. It was never easy. But the road to perennial success is pocked with these sort of stumbles, often of the self-inflicted variety. The key is for the Aggies to take these life lessons and run with them, beginning in 2012 and moving beyond — from one conference, the WAC, to another, the Mountain West. The best news? Now that Andersen has tattooed a Utah State logo somewhere on his person, he’s not going anywhere. Right?

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                  The Countdown

                  A bottom-to-top assessment of the F.B.S. landscape heading into the 2012 season.