Pac-12: Bowling Green Falcons

Pac-10 bowl projections

November, 29, 2009
UCLA (6-6) may slip into a bowl game but its situation is precarious.

This is the best primer I've seen on where things stand with potential at-large berths in bowl games. Bowling Green, Northern Illinois and Middle-Tennessee each have to be selected before the Bruins because they own winning records, and there appear to be only five open spots.

Because Stanford beat Notre Dame, the Gator Bowl will be a Big East game. That means all six bowl-eligible Big East teams will play in contracted bowls, so that's one less at-large team ahead of UCLA.

Ah, but that also puts the Fighting Irish (6-6) in the middle of this. Even with the likely firing of Charlie Weis, Notre Dame's national standing is appealing. The Irish likely would be picked ahead of the Bruins, but it's also possible Notre Dame would take a pass on a middling bowl game. This projection has UCLA going to the GMAC Bowl in Mobile, Ala, for that very reason.

A bowl can only select a 6-6 team for an at-large berth after all winning teams have been accounted for.

That means UCLA fans wanting a bowl berth should root for Wisconsin over Hawaii on Saturday.

And then cross your fingers.

As for our projections, there are no changes from last week. I'm sticking with UCLA in the Humanitarian Bowl because it seems like the most humane choice for the bowl, but know that it appears I am alone projecting this. So, I'm probably wrong.

Here's a handy bowl schedule. And other bowl projections.
  • Rose Bowl Game presented by Citi: Oregon vs. Big Ten
  • Pacific Life Holiday: USC vs. Big 12
  • Brut Sun: California vs. Big 12/Big East/Notre Dame
  • Emerald: Stanford vs. ACC
  • MAACO Las Vegas: Oregon State vs. Mountain West
  • San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia: Arizona vs. Mountain West
  • Roady's Humanitarian: UCLA vs. WAC

Will UNLV or San Jose State hire a Pac-10 assistant?

November, 18, 2009
Most assistant coaches want to be head coaches, but it's hard to make that jump because there are only 120 FBS jobs and only 66 of them are in BCS conferences (and Notre Dame).

And only half of those BCS posts are any good.

So when head coaching jobs open up, even for perennial losers, most assistant coaches will raise an interested eyebrow.

That's why the openings at UNLV and San Jose State may cost a Pac-10 team an assistant.

UNLV fired Mike Sanford this week, and California offensive coordinator Andy Ludwig and Washington defensive coordinator Nick Holt are potential candidates, according to this article.

Serious candidates? Probably not. But still.

Here's a guess that San Jose State, which just accepted the resignation of Dick Tomey, also might vet a few Pac-10 assistants.

The problem for Ludwig or Holt -- or Arizona's Sonny Dykes or Oregon State's Mark Banker -- is knowing when to pull the trigger.

If you wait too long, you might never get a shot -- "old" assistants struggle to get respect from programs looking for "hot, young, up-and-comers." But if you jump at a bad job, it may ruin your reputation when you inevitably fail.

Bob Stoops was so highly thought of as a defensive coordinator at Florida that he was able too wait around for programs like Iowa and Oklahoma to fight over him.

Urban Meyer did the steady climb -- Notre Dame assistant, Bowling Green head coach, Utah head coach, multiple national title winner at Florida.

Former UCLA defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker was so convinced that he had bucked the "great coordinator but not head coach material" label that he took the top spot at New Mexico State, which is like betting you can survive a tumble into a black hole.

Of course, I thought the same when former Washington State defensive coordinator Robb Akey was hired at Idaho, but Akey's Vandals are 7-4 and likely headed to a bowl game.

That surprising success might get some bigger-name programs to take a look at Akey.

So succeeding in a supposed black hole could lead to a big opportunity later.

Or it can lead to your disappearance from head coaching candidate lists for the rest of your career.

Stay tuned, because there are sure to be other openings -- and other rumors. And possibly a hiring.