College football will have a 4-team playoff in 2014

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College football will have a 4-team playoff in 2014

From Comcast SportsNet
WASHINGTON (AP) -- Playoffs and tournaments long have determined champions of every college sport from baseball to bowling. The exception was major college football. That ended Tuesday. Come 2014, the BCS is dead. A committee of university presidents approved a plan for a four-team playoff put forward by commissioners of the top football conferences. For years, the decision-makers had balked at any type of playoff because they said it would diminish the importance of the regular season. If only two teams had a chance to win a championship in the postseason, even one loss could be too many. That made for some very high stakes regular-season games. As recently as 2008, Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive proposed the type of plan adopted Tuesday, and it was quickly shot down. Four years later, minds changed. The 12 university presidents stood shoulder to shoulder on a stage at a news conference in a posh hotel in the nation's capital and delivered the news. "It's a great day for college football," BCS Executive Director Bill Hancock said. "As soon as the commissioners realized they could do this and protect the regular season, the light went on for everybody." The move completes a six-month process for the commissioners, who have been working on a new way to determine a major college football champion after years of griping from fans. The latest configuration is certain to make even more money for the schools than the old system -- and not satisfy everyone. "There were differences of views," said Virginia Tech President Charles Steger, who headed the BCS presidential oversight committee. "I think it would be a serious mistake to assume it was a rubber stamp." Nebraska Chancellor Harvey Perlman was the most notable holdout. He had said he preferred the status quo or a tweak of the Bowl Championship Series. Perlman said the playoff still wouldn't be his first choice, but he was not going to stand in the way of progress. "This is the package that was put forth and we will strongly support it," he said. Instead of simply matching the nation's No. 1 and No. 2 teams in a title game after the regular season, the way the BCS has done since 1998, the new format will create a pair of national semifinals. Many college football fans have been clamoring for a playoff for years, and the BCS has been a constant target for criticism. Lawmakers have railed against it. A political action committee was formed, dedicated to its destruction. The Justice Department looked into whether it broke antitrust laws. Even President Obama said he wanted a playoff. Now it's a reality. No. 1 will play No. 4, and No. 2 will play No. 3 on Dec. 31 andor Jan. 1. The sites of those games will rotate among the four current BCS bowls -- Rose, Orange, Fiesta and Sugar -- and two more to be determined. One of the new sites will likely be wherever the newly formed bowl created by the SEC and Big 12 is played, Slive said. The Cotton Bowl, played at the 1.1 billion Cowboys Stadium in Arlington, Texas, has long wanted to be part of the BCS and is expected to make a strong push to be in the semifinal rotation. The winners of the semis will advance to the championship on the first Monday in January that is six or more days after the last semifinal. The first "Championship Monday," as it was called in the BCS release, is set for Jan. 12, 2015. The site of the title game will move around the way the Super Bowl does, with cities bidding for the right to host. The teams will be selected by a committee, similar to the way the NCAA basketball tournament field is set. The men's tournament has 68 teams, and 37 at-large bids. The football committee will have a much tougher task, trying to whittle the field down to four. This season, 125 schools will play at the highest level of college football. Among the factors the committee will consider are won-loss record, strength of schedule, head-to-head results and whether a team is a conference champion. The selection committee will also play a part in creating matchups for the games at the four sites that do not hold a semifinal in a given year. "I think it's tremendous progress," Washington State coach Mike Leach, a playoff proponent, said in a telephone interview. "Five years ago there wasn't even dialogue about a playoff. Instead of diving in the water, they dipped their toes in. I think it's' going to be ridiculously exciting and it's going to generate a bunch of money. I wish they dived in." The BCS had given automatic qualifying status to six conferences, the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Atlantic Coast Conference, Pac-12 and Big East. That allowed those leagues better access to the big, high-payout games than the other five conferences, such as the Mountain West and Conference USA. Automatically qualified status is gone and the commissioners believe the new system will create more interesting games beyond the ones that determine the national title. "What the system now is, several semifinals, championship game and some access bowls. By creating a couple of access bowls, people will be able to play high-quality opponents in big venues with big brands," Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany said. No one has put a hard number on it yet, but this new format figures to more than double the TV revenue of the current BCS and Rose Bowl contracts. Those pay out about 155 million annually. The commissioners want to lock in this format for 12 years with a television partner. The current four-year BCS deal with ESPN runs through the 2013 season. The new format will be presented to potential TV partners in the fall, starting with ESPN. "I think we have found what we think is the right place and it stabilizes the postseason for a length of time that I think is healthy for the game," said Slive, whose members have won the last six BCS championships. There are still some details to work out -- such as who will be on the committee and what new bowls will be involved in the semifinal rotation -- but all the decision-makers are on board. Lower divisions of college football already have a playoff, but the highest level has always used bowls and polls to determine its champion. Those days are coming to an end. "We believe this new format will be good for student-athletes, for the alumni and for our institutions," Steger said. "It's a best of both worlds result. It captures the excitement of the playoff while protecting the regular season."

Jonathan Bullard Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

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Jonathan Bullard Chicago Bears NFL Draft Profile

As part of our coverage leading up to the 2016 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of more than 150 prospects, including a scouting report and video interviews with each player.

Jonathan Bullard (DL), Florida

6’3” | 285 lbs.

2015 stats:

63 tackles, 18 TFL, 6.5 sacks, 2 PD

Selection:

3rd Round, 72nd overall to Chicago Bears

Scouting Report:

"Where He Wins: Bullard tested like a great athlete, which was a bit surprising. I love his ability to win as a defensive end against the run and impact passing downs when lining up inside. Bullard can win with power immediately or can win with length to shed and make the tackle." - Josh Norris, Rotoworld.com

Video analysis provided by NBC Sports and Rotoworld NFL Draft expert Josh Norris.

Costly mistakes, Nolan Reimold's HR send White Sox to 6-3 loss vs. O's

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Costly mistakes, Nolan Reimold's HR send White Sox to 6-3 loss vs. O's

BALTIMORE — The White Sox haven’t given away many games this season, but Friday’s effort qualifies for sure.

Two innings after the defense made several costly errors, Carlos Rodon yielded a three-run homer to Nolan Reimold and the Baltimore Orioles sent the White Sox to a 6-3 loss in front of 19,912 at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Reimold’s seventh-inning, opposite-field homer off Rodon broke a 3-all tie and led to a second straight White Sox loss.

Following a defensive breakdown in the fifth that led to three runs, Rodon looked like he had things under control. He cruised through the heart of the Orioles order in the sixth inning and needed only eight pitches to retire the side.

But Baltimore’s bats heated up in a hurry in the seventh. Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy both singled and Reimold jumped on a first-pitch fastball from Rodon and drove it out to right field to put the Orioles ahead 6-3.

Rodon allowed six runs (four earned) and eight hits in seven innings while striking out seven and walking one.

The left-hander had been on cruise control for the game’s first four innings, using a strong slider to efficiently keep the Orioles under wraps. Rodon used only 55 pitches and had only allowed an opposite-field single as the White Sox led 1-0.

But Rodon issued a leadoff walk to Adam Jones in the fifth and Brett Lawrie’s error on Wieters’ potential double play ball put runners on the corners. Still, Rodon induced a grounder to third from Hardy and Jones was caught too far off third base, which led to a rundown and the first out of the inning. An infield single by Reimold then loaded the bases and Jonathan Schoop’s two-run single gave the Orioles a 2-1 advantage. Rodon induced another grounder off Joey Rickard’s bat but Jimmy Rollins’ relay throw wiped out another double play and reached the stands, allowing a third run to score. The Orioles’ rally would have continued had it not been for a perfect throw home by Adam Eaton to nail Rickard on Manny Machado’s two-out single.

The White Sox fought back from the two-run deficit but missed out on a big opportunity in the sixth. Jose Abreu’s one-out RBI single got the White Sox within a run and Todd Frazier walked to load the bases. But Jones raced in to catch Melky Cabrera’s liner and fired a perfect throw home to nail Rollins and keep the Orioles ahead 3-2.

Lawrie wiped out the lead in the seventh, however, with a solo homer off reliever Brad Brach. But the White Sox, who went ahead in the second on Avisail Garcia’s RBI triple, got no further against Brach, Darren O’Day and Zach Britton.

Bears shore up offensive line, select Kansas State's Cody Whitehair

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Bears shore up offensive line, select Kansas State's Cody Whitehair

Happy Birthday, Jay Cutler.

On the day that the Bears’ quarterback turned 33, the Bears used a second-round pick on a QB protector, trading down twice before selecting Kansas State offensive lineman Cody Whitehair with the 56th pick of the draft.

Whitehair, 6-foot-4, 305 pounds, was a four-year starter who has played both right and left tackle, starting all 13 games in 2014 at left tackle and performing well enough to earn first-team All-Big 12 honors as a senior.

The Bears have sounded pleased with Charles Leno at left tackle, backed up by Nick Becton, and signed Bobby Massie in free agency to settle at right tackle, backed up by 2015 sixth-round pick Tayo Fabuluje.

With Whitehair, Massie and signings of guard/centers Ted Lawson and Manny Ramirez, the Bears have set up the potential for nothing short of furious competition for two of the three interior-line positions on offense. Kyle Long has appeared set at right guard but center Hroniss Grasu and left guard Matt Slauson face major position battles, barring a shift of Long or Whitehair to tackle and inflaming the competition there.