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Ten New Commandments for 2011

There are 10 real commandments — you know, the Ten Commandments — and whether you believe or not they still serve as a pretty good set of rules to live by on daily basis. Don’t murder. We can all agree on that. Don’t steal. Don’t covet another person’s significant other – and I ask that the members of the armed forces in San Diego pay attention to this one, seeing that several of you tried to do that with my significant other while we were on vacation. Don’t lie. Don’t cheat. We can get behind these. College football teams and programs should consider the more traditional commandments in addition to a few others tailor-made for 2011 – a few rules to live by, if you would, beginning with Texas A&M’s message to Baylor.

Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s conference deal Baylor certainly covets A&M’s upcoming connection with the SEC, but the anger also stems from the fear of life on the outskirts of college football, which is a real possibility for the program once the Big 12 falls to the wayside. But there’s coveting – plenty of it, in fact – as A&M is due to break into the most powerful conference in college football. The coveting, however, is tinged by the fact that deep down, Baylor must know it deserves no place at such a table.

Thou shalt always be ahead of the curve The Big East seems caught unawares at the quickness with which the A.C.C. gobbled up Syracuse and Pittsburgh. With Connecticut next, perhaps followed by Rutgers, it’s clear that the A.C.C. did not bide its time, as a few others seem to be doing, but instead got in ahead of the rush. The A.C.C. was ahead of the curve. Now, Syracuse and Pittsburgh aren’t quite Texas and Oklahoma. That doesn’t matter: the A.C.C. won’t get caught out in the cold. The Big East and the Big 12? It doesn’t look great.

Thou shalt not overrate B.Y.U. I’m looking firmly in my own direction. The Cougars are one play away from being 0-3; in hindsight, beating Mississippi by a point, thanks to a fumble recovery, is as good as a loss.

Thou shalt not attempt a comeback with your senior quarterback on the bench And you especially avoid doing so when playing L.S.U., whether home or away. I continue to be confused as to why Dan Mullen thought Tyler Russell was a better choice in the fourth quarter than Chris Relf. Yes, I understand that Relf had struggled mightily in the second half after a solid first 30 minutes. Nevertheless, putting Russell into that situation was akin to putting blood in the water for the bunch of sharks on the L.S.U. defense. From here on out, stick with the senior.

Thou shalt not commit turnovers in the red zone This one’s for Notre Dame, which had at least 500 yards of total offense and five turnovers in each of its first two games. Both ended in defeat, not surprisingly. It seemed like the Irish were headed in the same direction against Michigan State on Saturday, committing two early turnovers, but Brian Kelly buttoned things up over the final three quarters. The end result? Maybe the offense was quite as prolific; maybe the Irish were a little less exciting; maybe there weren’t many beauty points. Kelly doesn’t care: the Irish are in the win column.

Thou shalt make a decision at quarterback I’m looking at Penn State. And Alabama, though the Crimson Tide did make their decision fairly quickly once the season began. Texas is in this group, as is Connecticut, Ohio State, U.C.L.A. and Oregon State. Make a decision at quarterback before the start of September: by that point, you have the spring, summer and early fall to see what you need to see. Make a decision by September and go with it. Be bold. And if you don’t like what you see? Then make a move. That’s what Texas did last week, when it beat U.C.L.A., and the early returns were favorable. But be concrete; don’t be wishy-washy like Penn State, but be bold.

Thou shalt beat Vanderbilt The SEC is tough enough. Don’t make things harder on yourself by losing to Vanderbilt. That’s a death knell for a successful season, by and large. Mississippi? Your season is over: the Rebels are 1-2 with a loss to Vanderbilt, and to get to six wins – and that’s not even that good – they’ll need to get five wins from a schedule that features road games against Fresno State, Auburn, Kentucky and Mississippi State and home dates with Georgia, Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana Tech and L.S.U. With that schedule, six wins would be a miracle.

Thou shalt schedule up, to the best of your ability Ohio’s going to win 10 games, in my opinion, but it won’t be pretty. The Bobcats may look pretty getting to 10-2, but the schedule is not one that will impress the masses. Ohio’s not a great example, but B.C.S. conference teams should take note of the way L.S.U. scheduled tough. There is always the chance of falling flat outside of conference play, and few would have faulted the Tigers, given their conference slate, for taking it easy in September. Easy? L.S.U. took the hard road to 3-0, sandwiching a win over Northwestern State with wins over Oregon and Mississippi State, and take on a second premier non-conference foe in West Virginia – on the road, no less – this coming Saturday. That’s how you impress.

Thou shalt make a quick getaway and not look back, lest you turn to salt (or lose a big television deal) Nebraska and Colorado provided the blueprint: duck out, cash your check, punch out and don’t ever look back. Nebraska bid farewell to the Big 12 and hello to the Big Ten; Colorado did the same en route to the Pac-12. Texas A&M followed suit, as did Syracuse and Pittsburgh. Texas and Oklahoma, along with a few others, are dilly-dallying. Those programs still working out the kinks need to get moving, if they haven’t already.

Thou shalt keep Web designers, printers and t-shirt makers on layaway Remember when the Pac-12 – or the Pac-10, as it was then known – added Colorado and Utah? Remember the company it used to revamp its logo, Web site, apparel and various other paraphernalia? I hope Larry Scott kept those folks on speed dial; it may soon be the Pac-16, so let’s update everything all over again. And they may need a new name: get a think-tank together. Dan Beebe can see if the company that made his letterhead takes returns. The A.C.C. needs to change its division names; Coastal and Atlantic was silly anyway. The Big Ten? It may move things around, so schedule a conference call for tomorrow morning.

And let us say Amen.

You can also follow Paul Myerberg and Pre-Snap Read on Twitter.

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Comments

  1. YeahNo says:

    BCS teams will also take note of how Oregon scheduled tough, and then got hammered in the polls for losing.

  2. Lee says:

    LSU’s schedule will probably cost them a couple of losses due to fatigue. They will have played 4 heavy weight games in 6 weeks. After that stretch they run into Tenn and Aub before Bama. If they have one bad game then they will lose.

    Something Boise just doesn’t understand.

  3. Dave says:

    @ YeahNo, Oregon got hammered in the polls because they looked like crap in the loss. FSU, in contrast, scheduled a tough OOC opponant, lost a close game, and didn’t take that big of a hit in the polls.

    @ Lee, speaking of FSU, the Gators could certainly take a lesson from the ‘Noles in manning up and scheduling more than one decent OOC game. And give UGA credit for at least having the guts to schedule Boisie, something we both know UF will never do. And don’t start in about how UF’s schedule is already tough enough – if UGA and LSU can do it, why can’t UF?

  4. Lee says:

    Dave,

    Let me explain to you why we don’t schedule anyone in a home/away deal. The reason is $$$$$ as always. Our schedule on odd years only gives us 3 conference home games. The UGA game is in Jacksonville so we lose the revenue that a 4th home game would give us. So we CAN’T schedule an OOC game on the road. We schedule those teams because they will come to our stadium and we will get all of the revenue. Boise State(or any other BCS school) won’t come because they want a home&home or a neutral site(I totally understand their point but we can’t do that from a $$$ standpoint). The only exception that we ever make is Miami and that only happens every 6 years or so.

    Also Dave, FSU has the luxury of scheduling an OU because they can have their cake and eat it too. 1. They won’t lose money because they get ALL of their home games and 2. They have a pitiful conference schedule so they can afford to schedule a top notch opponent. UF and OU will be by farrrr their best opponents this year.

    UF plays LSU, Bama, USC, and FSU. Our schedule needs no bump what so ever, so why schedule a game that will cost you millions?

    As long as the UGA game is in Jacksonville this will never change. I personally wish we would go back to the home sites for this game SO we would have the flexibility to schedule what we want.

    So now you have been educated on the matter. $$$$ is the issue not fear of competition.

  5. Misthaufen says:

    Lee,

    Florida has not played an OOC game out of the south since losing at Syracuse almost two decades ago. The Gators have always scheduled like chickens and come up with great excuses for it.

    The truth is the Gators know that it is a lot harder to go on long road trips and play tough games and they would rather sit at home and play cupcakes and try to game the system to get to the BCS CG.

    It is a hard truth, but you need to be at least honest with yourself….

  6. Lee says:

    Wow dude, that’s pathetic. UF plays LSU, UGA, TENN, and FSU every year. Those schools are traditional powerhouses. Not to mention that we now have to play a USC team that competes for the East and two teams from the West that will play in bowl games.

    Yeah UF “gamed the system” in 06 when they had the #1 toughest schedule in the country. We then proceeded to be exposed by Ohio State… wait…..oh that’s right. We took a thumper dumper on the buckeyes on national tv. We then followed that up with a convincing win over the Greatest Offense of all time in the 08 game versu OU.

    You are abouut as objective as a three year old. Any reasonable person would have read my post and got the point. Scheduling is all about Money. Not Competition.

  7. CH says:

    I’d like all the “non-conference schedule” bandwagon posters to be sure to come back in a few years. When we roll into these superconferences and EVERYONE has equally difficult conference schedules as SEC schools do – there will be no more OOC scheduling.
    Then everyone will be complaining about how these superconferences have created too difficult a conference schedule to win a BCS Championship. Something SEC schools have been used to for the past 2 decades.
    BTW @Misthaufen – “game the system” is the best quote I’ve heard all year. Very original thought considering you said an SEC (unarguably the best conference in america) team found a loop hole in the scheduling to get to the BCS CG. Hilarious, but totally discredited your future posts.

  8. calmer than you are says:

    @Misthaufen,

    Yawn. This tired old story about Florida’s schedule. If you think they don’t play enough good teams, you should try looking at their schedule. (And yes, Florida State does in fact count as a non-conference game.)

  9. Gotham Gator says:

    I’m not sure how this turned into another pissing match over Florida’s schedule, but I will post a simple fact and then move on. On average, Florida plays the toughest schedule in the country. Look at the last 5 years, 10 years, 15 years, 20 years, whatever you want. The Gators will have played more ranked teams over that period than anyone else. (And yes, I’ve done the numbers.) Florida doesn’t have to apologize to anyone about its schedule.

    Back to the topic at hand, a fun, thought provoking column from our host. The ACC’s proactivity was more about fending off raiders than anything that Syracuse and Pitt brought to the table. It’s now a lot harder for the SEC to drag away Virginia Tech or Maryland or even F.S.U. than it was a week ago, and the Big East is now impotent and no longer a threat.

  10. Lee says:

    Gotham Gator

    Great point. The ACC simply fortified itself from potential conference Raiders. They added two quality Basketball programs and torpedoed the Big East in the Process. They don’t truly care about becoming THE football superpower. They just want to be one of them.

    Once this started everyone knew that the SEC, PAC whatever, and The Big 10 would survive. The Big 12 is sinking. The only one other conference was going to join the party. Either the ACC or Big East. The ACC struck first.

    Good Ole Self Preservation.

  11. michael says:

    @Lee

    Boise understands it well. They want in your conference, yours or anyone else’s that plays the arrogant game of smug superiority and self congratulation. They’ve wanted in the SEC or anywhere for a decade, and they’ll play you and try to beat you and they’d do it for an entire season if they could. It’s AQ elitism keeping them off the field, not anything they have done or failed to do. They’d play your schedule if you’d let them.

  12. [...] Myerberg’s got Ten New Commandments for college [...]

  13. Lee says:

    Michael,

    Really dude! Then why don’t they schedule 4 bcs opponents a year? They only schedule one tough game (at the beginning of the year so they have all fall to prepare) a year. If they were serious like you say they would make their schedule as difficult as possible.

    They would lose 3-4 games playing our schedule. They have never played a stretch of games like Tenn, UK, Bama, LSU, AUB, UGA all in a row. Then close out against USC and FSU. Never, has Boise ever played that many BCS schools in a 10 week stretch. So please spare me the notion that Boise understands it well.

  14. Dave says:

    @ Lee –

    Your entire argument is belied by the fact that UGA – which has virtually the same schedule as you, and the same loss-of-a-home game-to-a-nuetral-site issue as you, scheduled Boisie.

    Also, I hope you realize that by your “strength of schedule trumps all” logic, a 1-loss LSU should be ranked ahead of an undefeated UF at the end of the year.

    Let’s make a deal – I’ll acknowledge that your IN-conference schedule is as tough as they come (which was never actually a point in the dispute, but apparently you need lots of positive reinforecement) and you acknowledge you are scared that if you played Boisie, you’d lose, despite all your advantages in money, boosters, and 5-star recruits. They beat Oklahoma, Virginia Tech, Oregon, and Georgia, and I promise they can beat you too, on a neutral field, in the Swamp, or anywhere else the Gators would agree to play them.

    Boisie would kill for a chance to prove themselves in the SEC, but since that’s not an option for them, they do the next best thing they can and schedule the toughest OOC opponants that have the courage to play it. UF isn’t one of those schools, and that’s really all there is to be said.

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