• Spend the day with us, and only us. With the Cotton Bowl moving to Jan. 2, only three non-BCS games remain on New Year's Day: The Outback, Capital One and Gator bowls. Last year, two of those three featured their "traditional" Big Ten vs. SEC match-ups. As of Wednesday, the nation's two richest, most popular, most powerful conferences have taken over the third, as well:
The Konica Minolta Gator Bowl is on the verge of announcing a deal that will bring a Southeastern Conference team vs. a Big Ten team to the New Year's Day bowl game at the Jacksonville Municipal Stadium, from 2010-2013.
... The Gator Bowl will be in line behind the BCS, the Capital One Bowl in Orlando, the Cotton Bowl in Dallas, the Outback Bowl in Tampa and the Chik-Fil-A Bowl in Atlanta for an SEC team. The Big Ten choice will come after the BCS, Capital One and Outback Bowls.
As if the exodus of half the big-name games and the presence of South Carolina and Clemson hadn't degraded the hallowed Jan. 1 smorgasbord enough: Under this arrangement, last year's game would have featured noted powerhouses Vanderbilt and Northwestern. Adjacent to the Rose Bowl.
But the fact is, aside from the academic outliers, the Big Ten and SEC travel, almost without fail, which the ACC and Big East cannot guarantee. This works for the bowls, but the idea that Jan. 1 is the day for top-notch college football has been rapidly relegated to a relic of the 20th Century. Just one more reason to love the BCS.
• Whose strings can T. Boone pull around here? All signs from the university and the initial reports Wednesday suggested that Oklahoma State's star receiver, Dez Bryant, is done for the season for apparently lying to the NCAA about his (probably above-board) relationship with Deion Sanders. There's no dispute so far about the lie being behind the suspension, and local columnists certainly don't expect to see Bryant again in a Cowboy uniform, assuming he's draft-bound at the end of the year.
But Bryant himself suggested on his Facebook page that his season isn't over:
"This is why I’m suspended…..I went to Deion sanders house ….and the NCAA found out…..they ask me if I been to his house I told them no…I thought it was a violation…but it wasn’t… so I told them I went to his house… I lied to …them and I shouldn’t have….and I'm not suspended for the rest of the season….I’m sorry osu!!”
The emphasized line contradicts pretty much everything that came out Wednesday, which gave no hint Bryant was scheduled to return unless he wins an appeal to the NCAA -- that process is reportedly underway, and Bryant is scheduled to fly to Indianapolis next week to plead his case. Either he's that confident it will be resolved in time (good luck with that, kid), or he knows something the school wasn't willing to reveal to reporters. The glowing red date on the calendar is Oct. 31, when Texas comes to Stillwater, but even a best-case scenario doesn't put Bryant back in the lineup for Missouri's visit next week.
• Looking for members of the Facebook group, FSU Recruits Against Bowden. Florida State went a long way to putting the turmoil over Bobby Bowden's short-term future to bed Wednesday by affirming that there won't be any official changes before the end of the year. That's fine, unless you're a prospective recruit, and you have a specific preference:
First Coast high school defensive tackle Tavaris Barnes has been committed to the Garnet and Gold since June. However, the recent drama surrounding the program and possible coaching changes has the four-star lineman re-thinking his decision.
"I don't know, it's crazy," he said. "He's (Bowden) a good coach with a good history, but it's time for Jimbo to take over."
The chair of FSU's Board of Trustees things that's a pretty smart kid.
• Pac-10 quarterback comings and goings. Quarterback roles will likely be reversed Saturday in the Rose Bowl: UCLA starter Kevin Prince, out the last three weeks with a broken jaw, has been cleared to play and plans to reassume the starting job from senior Kevin Craft against Oregon. On the other side, though, Duck quarterback Jeremiah Masoli's resurgence from an early slump was cut short last week by a bruised knee at Washington State, which Masoli himself acknowledged Wednesday will probably keep him on the bench against the Bruins. Masoli did practice in shells, but Nate Costa -- who entered last year's camp as the presumptive starter before going down with a season-ending ACL injury for the second year in a row, opening the door to Masoli -- is expected to get his first career start. In the Rose Bowl. Finally.
Oregon has other injury issues: Having already lost three-year starter Walter Thurmond for the season, Oregon also lost his replacement, Willie Glasper, to a knee injury in practice. The job now falls to sophomore Anthony Gildon.
Quickly ... Florida backup offensive lineman Matt Patchan is out for the season with a torn ACL. ... Washington will play Eastern Washington in 2011, cutting the number of programs that have never scheduled a I-AA opponent to three (USC, UCLA and Notre Dame). ... Texas A&M is preparing to start two true freshmen on the offensive line against Oklahoma State. ... Big East officials in the replay booth have remained mum on the controversial calls in Notre Dame's win over Washington. ... BYU safety Siloah Te'o, kicked off the team earlier this week, was arrested for driving under the influence and two other traffic violations in August. Apparently his dismissal came after he lied about the arrest to coach Bronco Mendenhall. ... Tennessee may be flirting with more no-huddle looks after Jonathan Crompton came to life with the faster tempo in the fourth quarter against Auburn. ... Georgia Tech and Georgia are not moving to the Georgia Dome. ... And long lost blue chip Mitch Mustain's latest bid to get on the field at USC could take him to the baseball diamond.