Harris BCS Poll
For the fifth year in a row, Denny O'Brien is a member
of the voting panel
for the Harris Interactive College Football Poll
commissioned by the Bowl Championship Series. As a
service to readers of this site, O'Brien's ballot will
be published in this space each Monday throughout the
rest of the season.
columnist for Bonesville.net, Bonesville The Magazine
and The Pirates' Chest Magazine, O'Brien was nominated to the
Harris Poll panel by Conference USA. The
Harris Poll is a component of the BCS Standings.
View the panel
of 114 voters in the 2010 Harris
Interactive College Football Poll.
Denny O'Brien's Harris Poll Ballot
3. Texas Christian
6. Ohio State
8. Boise State
9. Virginia Tech
11. Michigan State
12. Louisiana State
14. Oklahoma State
18. Texas A & M
19. South Carolina
21. Mississippi State
22. West Virginia
24. Florida State
Final 2010 BCS Standings
Harris, AP, Coaches Polls
All Rights Reserved.
note: Column updated to correct the name of Delaware Athletic Director Bernard Muir.
Let's hope Bernard Muir is a straight
shooter. Otherwise, East Carolina could be heading down a road towards
In a recent blog entry from
delawareonline.com, the website
for the Wilmington News Journal, Blue Hens beat writer Kevin Tresolini
paraphrased Muir, the University of Delaware AD, regarding a rumor that
has been circulating the mid-Atlantic region for some time now.
The rumor? Delaware could be in
discussions about a future FBS conference alignment with several CAA
members, Appalachian State, and East Carolina.
Muir downplayed the legitimacy of the
possibility, so that's a good thing. At least for now. But the fact that
the scenario has been the subject of speculation in print and on talk
radio can easily lead you to the conclusion that somewhere, and to some
degree, the option has been discussed.
Hopefully the smoke in this case isn't
the product of an inferno.
Should East Carolina align itself with
those schools in a newly configured FBS conference, it would serve as a
major step back for the Pirates. Make that a one-way ticket on a time
machine back to the 1970s when the Pirates competed in the Southern
If not worse.
A new mid-Atlantic conference would
certainly provide monetary relief considering the Olympic sports teams
that must make occasional trips to El Paso and Tulsa. Trading commercial
flights for chartered buses would be a welcome change by the ECU
administration, but that simply can't occur at the cost of reducing the
Pirates' football profile.
Which is exactly what a league of Blue
Hens, Dukes, Monarchs, Mountaineers, and Spiders would do. While the
Pirates could certainly benefit from having one of them on their
schedule annually, having all of them encompass most of it could
potentially cause irreparable harm to season ticket numbers.
In addition to attendance, securing bowl
spots would present a challenge. Reaching an agreement with a notable
television partner would be a bigger one.
Imagine a league with only two bowls —
both of them held prior to Christmas — and having MASN as your major
A more favorable scenario definitely
being discussed includes some level of merger or partnership between
Conference USA and the Mountain West Conference. Among the ideas
believed on the table is the possibility that the champions of the two
could play each other in a title game, with the winner claiming an
automatic bid in the Bowl Championship Series.
Assuming the current BCS AQ leagues
agree, of course. And it could be beneficial for them to do so to avoid
the potential for further litigation.
Aside from a spot in one of the big
money games, such a merger could also provide additional bowl and
television benefits. Both C-USA and the MWC could pool all of their
resources to create an equation that drives an even greater return on
investment for each league's member schools.
That's a decent fallback option should
ECU not receive a bid to join the Big East. Given that Villanova has not
yet accepted the invitation — and there is plenty of resistance on its
campus to do so — you have to believe there is still a chance the
Pirates could become the tenth member.
So there still is hope.
A spot in the Big East is obviously what
ECU covets most. In the event the Pirates are left behind, you have to
believe that athletics director Terry Holland has alternatives in mind.
Fostering a new relationship with the
MWC might not be a geographic fit, but it could provide a competitive
boost. Forming the Little East would improve gas mileage, but
effectively deliver a major blow to the Pirates' athletics image.
ECU simply isn't in a position where it
can afford that.