Thursday, November 15, 2007

Sun Bowl selection chair talks UConn football and Runway Challenge Week 12

Following this weekend’s games, the Sun Bowl selection committee should have a good idea of which Big East Conference football school may be the recipient of its invitation.

And UConn could become the clear front-runner if things go according to plan, says the chairman of the Sun Bowl’s selection committee.

Should UConn defeat Syracuse Saturday — coupled with a West Virginia victory over Cincinnati — it could mean the Huskies (8-2, 4-1) will be headed to El Paso, Texas on New Year’s Eve. That is, of course, unless UConn upsets West Virginia in its regular season finale and clinches a BCS berth.

John Folmer, who heads up the 10-person Sun Bowl selection committee, says the committee was split down the middle between UConn and Cincinnati after its weekly meeting on Monday.

That's partly because two Sun Bowl representatives were in Cincinnati to see the Bearcats whip UConn 27-3 on Saturday. Folmer visited UConn in October to see the Huskies beat South Florida, sending thousands of fans onto Rentschler Field to celebrate.

"Those who have seen Cincinnati think they are great, those who were at UConn think they are great," Folmer said Thursday. "Our last meeting got pretty heated, but it was fun. No one would have ever thought we’d be fighting over UConn and Cincinnati."

The Sun Bowl is third in line for the Big East after the BCS and the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville, Fla get their choices.

In 2006, the Big East (including football independent Notre Dame) and the Big 12 signed a four-year deal that assures each conference of sending its top, non-BCS teams to either the Gator Bowl or the Sun Bowl twice.

Since the Gator took West Virginia last year, it’s strongly believed its committee will opt for a Big 12 team rather than picking a Big East team this year (keeping its chances to land Notre Dame if and when it becomes bowl eligible over the next two years).

Folmer said the committee is anticipating pitting a Big East team against the No. 3 team from the Pac-10 Conference (likely California) this season. Following the strict conference standings, though not required by any of the bowls, may just be what separates the candidates for the Sun Bowl.

"Historically, our selection criteria is based on what teams do," Folmer said. "We consider where they finish in the conference first, and if there’s a tie, who beat who head-to-head. We also look at the TV market.
"And all indications are that Connecticut and Rutgers bring a very attractive Eastern TV market. But in that scenario, it would be hard to take Rutgers over Connecticut because Connecticut beat Rutgers head-to-head."

Folmer said the Sun Bowl (capacity 50,426) is a big event in the El Paso community, and tickets are scooped up quickly regardless of the opponent. So while participating schools are allotted 8,000 tickets each, it usually works out if schools sell even half of that total.

"We don't expect teams to bring 8,000 people," Folmer said. "We're lucky if they bring 5 or 6,000. We'll sell the rest out."

All factors considered, it could leave UConn and Cincinnati as the top options. Yet a Husky win over last-place Syracuse on Saturday, coupled with No. 5 West Virginia beating Cincinnati, would clinch sole possession of second place in the Big East.

It should also clear UConn’s bowl destination considerably.

My predicted Big East final standings:

1. West Virginia 11-1, 6-1
2. UConn 9-3, 5-2
3. Cincinnati 9-3, 4-3
3. USF 9-3, 4-3
5. Rutgers 7-5, 3-4
5. Louisville 6-6, 3-4
7. Pitt
8. Syracuse

And my bowl predictions -- amended at halftime assuming Arizona holds on to beat Oregon, and the Ducks freefall because Dennis Dixon is out the rest of the year.

BCS national championship game: Oklahoma vs. LSU
Orange Bowl: Virginia Tech vs. West Virginia
Fiesta Bowl: Kansas vs. USC
Sugar Bowl: Georgia vs. Hawaii
Rose Bowl: Arizona State vs. Ohio State

Other Big East bowls

Sun Bowl: UConn vs. Oregon
Meineke Car Care Bowl: Cincinnati vs. Florida State
PapaJohns.com Bowl: South Florida vs. Southern Mississippi
International Bowl: Rutgers vs. Ball State
Las Vegas Bowl: Louisville vs. BYU

This week's picks

Game 1: Ohio State (-4.5) over MICHIGAN: Best moment from Nippert Stadium in Cincinnati last weekend: when they announced the final score as Illinois 28, THEEE Ohio State University 21. The PA man gets a round of applause from the Runway. Robert Smith's smugness and constant reminders of how great he was have soured us all on OSU.

Game 2: FLORIDA STATE (-7.5) over Maryland: Ralph Friedgen has never won at Florida State. Fortunately for him, Bobby Bowden always lets him know exactly why the Terps lost.

Game 3: RUTGERS (-11.5) over Pittsburgh: Scarlet Knights in process of securing $100 million to overhaul and update football stadium, which includes an additional 13,500 seats. Wonder if the good folks in New Jersey realize Ray Rice has only one season of eligibility remaining?

Game 4: Syracuse (+19) over UCONN: Got an email ripping me for picking UConn last week, effectively jinxing the Huskies. So I'm reverting back to picking the opposite of what I think will happen. Yeah, that's it. I've been picking the opposite of what I think will happen all this time.

Game 5: Missouri (-7.5) over KANSAS STATE: Mighty Mizzou banking on wins over both Kansases to end regular season, then taking Big 12 championship game to reach national title game.

Game 6: GEORGIA (-8) over Kentucky: Cats might be better off challenging Gardner Webb to a pickup basketball game.

Game 7: MICHIGAN STATE (+3) over Penn State: Windsor's Chris Baker and another Penn State player arrested Thursday for their part in a campus brawl. It's the second time Baker has been charged in a brawl since April. This revelation just hours after Penn State tailback Austin Scott pleaded not guilty to charges including rape and sexual assault. Joe Paterno not exactly in control of his program.

Game 8: CINCINNATI (+6.5) over West Virginia: Bearcats could essentially win the Big East championship right here.

Game 9: CLEMSON (-7.5) over Boston College: Anyone care to venture what BC's record would be in the Big East this season? 3-4 at best.

Game 10: Oklahoma (-8.5) over TEXAS TECH: And bet the over while you're at it.

Game 11: SOUTH FLORIDA (-7) over Louisville: Cards will have to beat Rutgers on Nov. 29 to get into a bowl. Brian Brohm is the one and only reason someone with an open spot will invite a 6-6 Louisville team.

Game 12: YALE (-3.5) over Harvard: Bulldogs will complete perfect 10-0 season, everyone in the Yale Bowl will drink an extra glass of pinot noir, and they'll be completely forgotten about by Sunday morning. Too bad. Yale would do serious damage in the Division I-AA playoffs. Wake up, Ivy League!

Last weeks's results
1. Pete 13-5
2. Dan 11-7
Mitch 11-7
P.J. 11-7
Will L 11-7
Sturge-rock 11-7
7. Chip 10-8
Sammy 10-8
SeanO's ghost 10-8
Vinny from East Haven 10-8
11. Kooch 9-9
ian 9-9
13. Caleb 7-11

Overall standings
1. SeanO's ghost 77
2. Kooch 75
3. Sammy 72
4. Ian 70
5. Will L 66
6. Chip 64
7. Vinny from East Haven 62
8. Pete 61
9. Caleb Mandrake 57
10. Dan 52
11. DetroitTigersHater 47
12. Sturge-Rock 42
13. Kevin 37
Mitch Kumpstein 37
15. P.J. 22
16. Alex 16
17. Steve P 8
18. Luc 7
Jerry 7
Tonto Kowalski 7

Get those picks in by clicking "comments" below.

25 Comments:

Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Chip's picks
Game 1: Ohio State (-4.5) over MICHIGAN:
Game 2: FLORIDA STATE (-7.5) over Maryland
Game 3: RUTGERS (-11.5) over Pittsburgh
Game 4: Syracuse (+19) over UCONN:
Game 5: Missouri (-7.5) over KANSAS STATE:
Game 6: GEORGIA (-8) over Kentucky
Game 7: MICHIGAN STATE (+3) over Penn State
Game 8: CINCINNATI (+6.5) over West Virginia
Game 9: CLEMSON (-7.5) over Boston College
Game 10: Oklahoma (-8.5) over TEXAS TECH
Game 11: SOUTH FLORIDA (-7) over Louisville
Game 12: YALE (-3.5) over Harvard:

November 16, 2007 12:49 AM 
Blogger Dan said...

Dan's picks
Game 1: MICHIGAN
Game 2: FLORIDA STATE
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: UCONN
Game 5: KANSAS STATE:
Game 6: GEORGIA
Game 7: Penn State
Game 8: CINCINNATI
Game 9: Boston College
Game 10: TEXAS TECH
Game 11: SOUTH FLORIDA
Game 12: YALE

November 16, 2007 7:40 AM 
Anonymous UconnBob said...

Chip -

I think your BCS bowl predictions have one flaw, in that you have 2 Big 12 teams included. I think the rule caps @ 2 per conference. I'd be interested to see your amended BCS projections for Kansas and Texas.

November 16, 2007 8:07 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The New NHRegister.com site is terrible! We never know when you have new blog entries.

November 16, 2007 8:40 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

You're right, Bob. I changed everything in an instant around 12:45 a.m. last night and made an error. I'll amend it today.

November 16, 2007 8:49 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

Anonymous,

I hope its something they are working on with the new site. In the meantime, bookmark the blog and keep checking back. There's usually a new entry every day (except Monday).

November 16, 2007 8:53 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mitch
Game 1: Ohio State
Game 2: Maryland
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: Syracuse
Game 5: Missouri
Game 6: GEORGIA
Game 7: Penn State
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: Boston College
Game 10: Oklahoma
Game 11: Louisville
Game 12: YALE

November 16, 2007 8:54 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

These statements are intriguing from the Sun Bowl chair. Rutgers sent 17,000 to Houston last year, and 10,000 to Phoenix the year before - it's a motivated fan base that wants to travel. You would think that since Rutgers would bring twice the number of fans as UConn, they would put that in perspective when choosing between a RU-UConn tie. I guess the Sun Bowl doesn't care about putting fannies in the seats.

Will be interesting to see what he says if next year Rutgers is a game up on WVU for #2 in the Big East.

November 16, 2007 9:02 AM 
Anonymous HuskyDave said...

Anonymous said "These statements are intriguing from the Sun Bowl chair. Rutgers sent 17,000 to Houston last year, and 10,000 to Phoenix the year before - it's a motivated fan base that wants to travel. You would think that since Rutgers would bring twice the number of fans as UConn, they would put that in perspective when choosing between a RU-UConn tie. I guess the Sun Bowl doesn't care about putting fannies in the seats."

The Sun Bowl isn't worried about travel. They don't have enough tickets as it is. Besides, Rutgers is last years news. No one cares about them this season. UConn is the new darling.

November 16, 2007 9:09 AM 
Anonymous Pete said...

Anonymous, you should also consider the fact that the Sun Bowl reps said they are not worried about the number of fans each teams bring because they can usually sell out with each team only bringing 5 or 6k fans. And there is no tie between UConn and Rutgers. If you recall, we defeated Rutgers 39-18.

November 16, 2007 9:37 AM 
Anonymous SeanO's Ghost said...

SeanO'sGhost picks
Game 1: MICHIGAN:
Game 2: FLORIDA STATE
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: CONNECTICUT
Game 5: KANSAS STATE
Game 6: GEORGIA
Game 7: MICHIGAN STATE
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: Boston College
Game 10: Oklahoma
Game 11: SOUTH FLORIDA
Game 12: YALE

November 16, 2007 9:49 AM 
Anonymous jackUC said...

Amazing. Rutgers is ignored by NYC for, oh, 100 years. One good season, and all of a sudden Rutgers fans think they're in position to matter in NY. Last I checked, the Knights were well behind the Yankees, Mets, Giants, Jets, Knicks, Nets and college basketball in the city. Hell, even Rutgers women's hoops has garnered more attention this season than the underachieving Schiano-ites.

November 16, 2007 10:44 AM 
Anonymous Sammy said...

Game 1: Ohio State
Game 2: FLORIDA STATE
Game 3: Pittsburgh
Game 4: UCONN:
Game 5: Missouri
Game 6: GEORGIA
Game 7: MICHIGAN STATE
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: BC
Game 10: Oklahoma
Game 11: Louisville
Game 12: YALE

November 16, 2007 11:50 AM 
Anonymous P.J. said...

Game 1: MICHIGAN:
Game 2: FLORIDA STATE
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: Syracuse
Game 5: Missouri
Game 6: GEORGIA
Game 7: MICHIGAN STATE
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: Boston College
Game 10: TEXAS TECH
Game 11: Louisville
Game 12: Harvard:

November 16, 2007 12:08 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Game 1: Ohio State
Game 2: Maryland
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: UCONN:
Game 5: Missouri
Game 6: GEORGIA
Game 7: MICHIGAN STATE
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: Boston College
Game 10: Oklahoma
Game 11: SOUTH FLORIDA
Game 12: YALE

Kooch

November 16, 2007 1:43 PM 
Anonymous caleb mandrake said...

Game 1: MICHIGAN:
Game 2: Maryland
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: UCONN:
Game 5: KANSAS STATE:
Game 6: Kentucky
Game 7: Penn State
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: Boston College
Game 10: TEXAS TECH
Game 11: Louisville
Game 12: Harvard:

November 16, 2007 1:52 PM 
Anonymous Pete said...

Game 1: Ohio State
Game 2: Maryland
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: UCONN
Game 5: Missouri
Game 6: GEORGIA
Game 7: Penn State
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: CLEMSON
Game 10: Oklahoma
Game 11: SOUTH FLORIDA
Game 12: Harvard

November 16, 2007 2:42 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Rutgers fans think they are Ohio State suddenly.

November 16, 2007 4:57 PM 
Anonymous Pete said...

Hey Chip, I noticed you have Louisville playing in the Las Vegas Bowl which does not have ties with the Big East. According to ESPN the Vegas Bowl is connected with the Pac-10 and Mountain West conferences. In your predicted BE standings you have Louisville finishing 6-6. Wouldn't they need 7 wins to be eligible to take anothers conferences bowl game?

November 16, 2007 8:56 PM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

If there's a will, there's a way and money talks. Someone will broker a deal to get Louisville.

November 16, 2007 9:45 PM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio State

FLORIDA STATE

Pittsburgh

UCONN

Missouri

Kentucky

Penn State

West Virginia

CLEMSON

Oklahoma

SOUTH FLORIDA

YALE

Will L

November 16, 2007 11:58 PM 
Anonymous Vinny from East Haven said...

vinny's picks:
1. Michigan
2. Maryland
3. Rutgers
4. Syracuse (lock of the week...they might win outright...UConn is a paper tiger)
5. Kansas State
6. Georgie
7. Penn State
8. West Virginia
9. Boston College
10. Oklahoma
11. Louisville
12. Yale

A couple of comments from the Vinster:
First, how can you rely on the Register website to inform you of the Ramblings updates? Be a MAN and add Ramblings to your favorites. Easy stuff, I guess UConn fans haven't mastered Microsoft Internet Explorer yet.
Second, someone said the NY press ignored Rutgers football for 100 years...how about the CT press ignoring the UConn team for about the same amount of time? if anyone remembers, UConn athletics didn't merit a side article in any paper in this state until Jim Calhoun arrived. As far as athletics went, pre-1985, no one, and I mean NO ONE, cared. Not the national press, and certainly not the CT press.
Third, on the comment that the NY press now treats Rutgers like Ohio State...the NY press has nothing on the CT press drooling over this overrated bunch of Huskies. They very well might get beat tomorrow by a terrible 'Cuse team, they won the Temple game on a disputed call, and they have the softest schedule of any Division I-A program.
Everyone needs to stop ranting and realize that this team is OK, not great. Thanks to the rest of the Big East falling apart, UConn is heading to a bowl. Be thankful for slipping into one this year...because as we all know, UConn has one bowl win, and it deserves an asterisk due to the point shving scandal at Toledo.
Man up and admit it. UConn is overachieving, and I give them credit for that, but they are still a terrible team.
Have fun tomorrow stuck in The Rent, while the rest of the state makes the right move and heads to New Haven to see two undefeated teams play a game to decide the league championship.
God, I love UConn and love it when they do well, but the obviously unrealistic and probably inebrieated fans on this blog drive me up the wall. This team is maybe in the top 50...maybe.
Let's get real people.
As a postscript, unfortunately it doesn't look like I will win the challenge, so I won't be able to take over the blog for a day. What a shame. I have a whole litany of examples about what a terrible team this is.
To whoever wins, if you want to see some sparks fly, bequeath your winning day on the blog to ol' Vinny - I promise I won't disappoint.
I never get tired of talking about a second-rate team in a second-rate conference.

November 17, 2007 12:02 AM 
Anonymous Vinny from East Haven said...

Where are Luc's picks? Don't the prison guards let him access the internet?

November 17, 2007 12:12 AM 
Blogger Ian said...

Game 1: Ohio State
Game 2: Maryland
Game 3: RUTGERS
Game 4: UCONN:
Game 5: Missouri
Game 6: Kentucky
Game 7: Penn State
Game 8: West Virginia
Game 9: CLEMSON
Game 10: Oklahoma
Game 11: Louisville
Game 12: YALE

November 17, 2007 7:45 AM 
Blogger Chip Malafronte said...

I don't know, Vinny. I remember UConn getting a lot of press when Dom Perno was coaching basketball. Mainly, it was from sportswriters calling for his head.

November 17, 2007 10:11 AM 

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