College Football Conference Expansion

Since 2011, the College Football landscape has begun to change rather dramatically. A couple of dominoes here and there and suddenly one conference may be non-existent soon while other conferences will continue to dominate.

We take a look at the changes and shuffling that have occurred over the past year and some of the expected changes that will occur over the next few years as well.

2011 Changes:

Big Ten added Nebraska from Big 12

Adding Nebraska gave the Big Ten 12 teams (makes sense?) which meant they could hold a conference championship. The B1G (as it is referred to from their new logo) would divide the conference into two divisions – Legends and Leaders.

In 2011 Nebraska lost in the Capital One bowl to South Carolina. Give them a year or two to recruit the right players and Nebraska should become a yearly threat in the Big Ten.

Pac 10 became PAC-12

PAC-12 added Utah from Mountain West and Colorado from Big 12

The PAC-12 commissioner Larry Scott had grand aspirations for expansion. Ultimately the conference settled for Utah and Colorado, two nice additions. But they pursued Texas, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, Texas Tech as well. That would give the conference 16 teams. However, due to Texas creating their own channel, the Longhorn Network, the deal fell apart, those four teams remained in Big 12 and the Pac 10 became 12. Like the B1G, the Pac-12 now gets to have a conference championship game.

Utah and Colorado both had rough first seasons, although Utah actually finished the year one win shy of a PAC-12 title game appearance (that says more about the PAC-12 south than Utah).

Colorado got their first PAC-12 win over Arizona, who had fired Mike Stoops.

Big 12 lost Nebraska and Colorado

Losing Nebraska hurts for rivalries and tradition. Texas and Oklahoma were both big rivals of Nebraska. Colorado won one Big 12 championship in 2001 and other than that were never much of a threat. The conference already has replacements lined up. Contrary to the Pac 12 and Big Ten, the Big 12 lost their conference title game and did away with divisions for 2011.

Without Nebraska and Colorado the Big 12 played a round robin schedule. There was no championship game for the first time since the conference existed. There was, however, a de-factor title game featuring Oklahoma and Oklahoma State the final week of the season. The winner of this game won the Big 12 and went to the Fiesta bowl

Mountain West added Boise State, lost Utah and BYU

The Mountain West is not a “BCS conference” but has always been highly respected. Utah has been to, and won, two BCS bowl games so losing them hurts the conferences credibility a little as does BYU. BYU decided to declare their independence from conferences while Utah bolted to Pac-12. They added Boise State from the WAC. A big gain as the Broncos, like Utah, have also won two BCS games so they added some instant credibility right back. Their stay won’t last long though as Boise State is expected to bolt for the Big East. TCU was due to go to Big East but will instead go to the Big 12 in 2012. The conference could have included Boise State, TCU, BYU, and Utah – and been a very legitimate conference. By 2013, none will remain.
Boise State went 11-1. Their one loss came in conference to TCU, due to a failed field goal attempt. The Broncos would go on to win the Las Vegas bowl against ASU

WAC lost Boise State

As documented above, this is a big loss for the conference. They still had Hawaii, Fresno State and Nevada in 2011, but losing Boise State is a big deal. Especially because they provided BCS revenue to the conference and its team.

2012 Changes:

Big 12 adds TCU and West Virginia, lose Texas A&M and Missouri

Texas A&M bolted the Big 12 for the SEC the first chance they got. The SEC needed an even number of teams so they took Missouri as well, despite the fact that Missouri is not relatively located to any of the teams. Texas A&M has a long-standing rivalry with Arkansas. TCU is a perfect addition for the Big 12. TCU can instantly create natural rivalries with fellow Texas teams – Texas, Texas Tech, Baylor. TCU has proven in recent years they can play with the big boys. They knocked off Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl in 2010. As for West Virginia, they don’t exactly fit the geographic bill but they provide a rabid fanbase and a good bit of tradition. West Virginia will embrace their southern roots and ultimately be a better fit in this conference than playing Big East teams. Head coach Dana Holgorson was Oklahoma State’s offensive coordinator a few years ago so he has experience in the conference and should be able to guide the Mountaineers to success.

Big East loses West Virginia, adds Temple

West Virginia was consistently one of the top teams in the Big East over the past few years. Their success and reputation is a crushing blow to a conference that already gets very little respect. The top teams in the Big East entering 2012 are Cincinnati and Louisville, two teams who joined the Big East 6 years ago. West Virginia’s departure was not simple. They demanded an immediate exit to join the Big 12. Pittsburgh and Syracuse are leaving the conference after 2014, they are following the 20-month exit rule the Big East has. West Virginia basically sued to avoid that rule and are now gone.

So moving on, the Big East needed an immediate replacement so they can remain at eight teams. Temple, who used to be part of the Big East until they got kicked out, has rejoined the conference. The Owls football program is very respectable now, unlike the past where it was more of a joke.

Mountain West: Add Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada. Lose TCU

The conference, as we discussed earlier, could have had several BCS contenders. Losing Utah, BYU, and TCU hurt and they are expecting to lose Boise State in 2013. But the Mountain West aggressively raded the WAC. Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada, all friends of Boise State’s from the past, have now joined the Broncos in the Mountain West. All three add a little more credibility and compeitiveness and leave the WAC fairly dry.

MAC: Add Umass (previously FCS). Lose Temple

Temple has been rather competitive the last few years but losing them is not a major loss. Adding Umass is an interesting move. It opens the MAC up to the New England area market and adds a brand new team. The Minutemen likely won’t be very competitive for a few years.

Sun Belt: Add South Alabama (previously Independent)

WAC: Add Texas State and UT-San Antonio. Lose Fresno State, Hawaii, Nevada.

The WAC lost Boise State in 2012 and now losing Fresno State, Hawaii, and Nevada might kill the conference.

2013 Changes:

ACC adds Syracuse and Pittsburgh

There is a strong possibility this move happens in 2013. The Big East wanted to hold them to a 20-month exit clause but after letting West Virginia leave early, the conference may waive the clause. This is probably the one move that has more to do with basketball than football. Syracuse’s football program has been down for a few years now as has Pittsburgh, who are on their third full-time coach in three years.

Big East adds Boise State, San Diego State, Houston, SMU, UCF, and Memphis. Add Navy in 2015

The Big “East” will add a team from California, Idaho, and two from Texas. The Big “East” will have two divisions – East and West. There will be a conference called Big East West. Got it? No? We don’t really get it either. It’s all about money though and there is money to be had with television revenue in the Big East, more than Conference USA or Mountain West.

Boise State will provide the Big East with a constantly ranked team and BCS contender

San Diego State will simply provide headaches for teams like Rutgers, South Florida, Uconn who have a long ways to travel to play the Aztecs.

Houston needs to continue the momentum gained from QB Case Keenum. The Cougars lost the C-USA title game in 2011, had they won they likely would have played in a BCS game. Head coach Kevin Sumlin is gone and so is Keenum but the Cougars should be well-equipped to compete in the new Big East when they get there.

SMU is a storied program with a lot of history. After being down for a while, head coach June Jones has led the Mustangs to two straight bowl games.

UCF will instantly rival USF as they become the second Florida school in the Big East.

Memphis does not have much history as a football program and bring a lot to the table for basketball. The Tigers do re-unite with former C-USA foes Louisville and Cincinnati and can create rivalries with them.

Navy runs the triple option offense

Sun Belt adds Georgia State and Texas State

C-USA adds Charlotte (2015 fball), FIU, Louisiana Tech, UT-SA, North Texas

Present And Upcoming Trends In The Automotive Industry

Most of the people believe that there are prolific opportunities to improve and update old set of laws. Change is the greatest need of the present time. It does not matter about which field we are talking about, what matters is the progress in the existing technology. It is the wish of the customers which motivates the engineers and even brands to come up with something innovative. This makes people contended making their life easy. One such field, which always gains technology enthusiasts attention, is the automobile industry. Trends in the aftermarket automotive and automotive industry have changed a lot if compared with the previous year. There are certain changes that I have noticed about the varying trends.

Latest Technology In Use: Connecting vehicle through the mobile phones is what made people surprised when this idea was launched. This is possible through GPS/SAT-NAV and multi-media organization. It plays a major role in security and improved functioning of the automobile. The 4G internet access in the cars through Wi-Fi is the biggest innovation that GM motors and AT & T have made in the past year. This technology makes your cars a rolling Wi-Fi spot. Such innovation provides excellent streaming video pleasure in the rear seats, harmonized updates, quick application downloads and make available with the potential to use 4G service for improved vehicle protection. Cars are also equipped with sensors that will prevent collision by automatically applying the brake or alerting you with several signals.

Security of the automobiles has increased a lot with security software installed in them. The software makes these vehicles connected to customer care centers of the particular brand which help the driver anytime when they need their help. Moreover, ambulance and police will be automatically called if your vehicle is met with an accident. It is your car, which will dial the numbers alerting them to help you at the site of the accident. It seems like impossible, but it is actually possible. Several concept car ideas are also launched in this year by different brands. McLaren P1 and La Ferrari made people surprised with their beauty and grace. Several such cars with fantastic features were launched, but they were still lacking in some of the areas.

Expected Technology In Future: The things which were lacking in the cars and expected to come soon are like Run-flat tires with no boom. Making them is a dream of the manufacturers. Moreover, they also believe to make such tires that will make you reach the gas station by simply pressing the button which will give extra 50 miles. Although the cost expected is quite high, but it will surely improve later. There is an increasing demand of dual-stage smart airbags that will prevent your face hitting to these bags. Moreover, these air bags affect children and hurt them most of the times. The smart systems will be installed which will consider the weight of human being and do high and low stage deployment. Although many cars are equipped with navigation system in the car dash-board, but they have not reached up the expectations. Car buyers and manufacturers both aim at making a portable navigation arrangement that will give live traffic reports, weather reports, security control and many more.

Surround sound system with clear and luxury sound quality is what people looking for. There is another thing that is important for the safety point of view your vehicle. This is active cornering headlight system. An automobile with “smart” headlamps that can take automated data from steering angles and speed and twist the main beams of the car headlamps toward the turning road ahead. Such a thing is present in luxury cars, but normal cars with this feature are very much in demand. Rear view camera has become the need of the present time as it gives ease in driving and parking, of course. Some SUVs have been outfitted with this feature and customers are expecting other brands to take over it in their cars. Blind spot detection is like a need that car lovers want in their vehicle. It will warn you when you are driving close to the driver in the other lane. You will hear lots of beeps unless you bring it back to the correct place with proper distance between both the automobiles.

Luxury Features in Small Cars: What matters to brands is their pride and reputation. There were the companies which stuffed the ingredients of the superior automobiles in the smaller version and will also do the same in coming models. These include Mercedes-Benz stuffed S-class features into smaller new models such as the 2014 four-door CLC coupé, 2013 A-class and the 2015 Cadillac and CLC crossover and frolicsome wagon sidekick. In the same way, Audi and BMW are also planning the same breaking the taboo. The biggest challenge for these companies is to keep up the prices of these cars in the range of affordable ones.

Compelling Designs: Bruno Sacco for Mercedes-Benz, Claus for BMW and many more names are there which had excellent designing in the past year. Many brands had attention-grabbing decorative and pleasing to the eye elements that took priority over style and proportion. These include garish LED fireworks, influencing cut lines, in-your-face grille treatments, mix of chrome, matte and all-black paint. All these made a trend and cars with such colors are only seen on the roads. Audi has selected a bizarrely static, cookie-cutter, one-look-fits-all approach for the crossover and sedan lineups. On the other hand, Mercedes switched to refined timelessness for ostentatious tastelessness. Volkswagen is also not behind in the race of features as it is all about functional, straight-edged and nice-to-touch designs. One can see a great designing and styling in the Ford that is best represented through the elegant exteriors with flamboyant cockpits.

Automatic Character: The science fiction is also made possible in the past year as Artificial Intelligence application was employed in wheels. Now the fleet of the cars steers, accelerate automatically. There are several issues that have been resolved in the present cars, and now they have sonar, radar, cameras, and laser-based light detection and ranging technology. Moreover, there is no user-acceptance issue and they are ready to come into the marketplace top serve the needs of the people. The next aim is of autonomous driving where the companies want to make accident proof vehicles with the last goal of complete accident evasion.

There might me several other trends that are presently there in an automotive industry or about to come in the following years. People like to see changes with time and their expectations will keep on increasing. Auto experts and manufacturers have to cope up with the demands and bring something new every time. These trends do no stand still and keep on varying with time. They must be improved or altered keeping in mind the reasonable price as the top most priority.

Booklet Tips – Beyond Your World

Your tips booklet represents what you know. It mirrors the particular world you live in and the people in it, including your colleagues and consumers. It can be easy to get stuck in the world, forgetting there are many more people and opportunities yet to consider. In fact, more opportunities and people than you or anyone can reach in a single lifetime.

Let’s get practical. An often-voiced concern is whether anyone else has written on a particular topic an author is considering. What difference does that make? You will write based on your experience and your perspective. Even when some tips are similar to someone else’s, you will distribute yours in places no one else will, even if you happen to cross paths once in awhile.

Unless your area of expertise is so narrow and has so few people involved in it, your only real task is to continue exploring the vast range of possibilities. By the way, those narrow niches have yet to show up here, and if they have it’s been so quietly that no one noticed!

Back to the bigger picture. Consider the health and fitness world. That topic interests many people and may be your world. You see the same fitness trainers, conferences, equipment sales people, local gyms, healthy food resources, some of the same clients, and on and on within your geographic region however you define it. Even if that represents thousands and thousands of people, that still doesn’t scratch the surface of the population in your state/province or your country, much less the entire world. And that’s before looking at groups of people, by age, gender, culture, or other circumstance.

It can be easy to be blinded to what is beyond the wall around a particular world. After all, it’s a comfortable and familiar place. It’s comfortable as long as you connect well with those people and situations, where there is adequate flow of products and services in exchange for payment. Sometimes that flow slows to a trickle. You sell fewer tips booklets and sales are more difficult. It can play tricks with your self-esteem and drain your energy. You may be considering giving it up, thinking there are easier ways to make a living, throwing the proverbial baby out with the bath water. Sound familiar?

ACTION – Before you do that, there is at least one thing to explore. Take your information to one or more completely different audiences. See if the results are different. It might be that you need an infusion of energy into what you’ve been doing, who you’ve been talking to, and how you’ve been doing it. Have you been serving harried moms with their health and fitness challenges for the past bunch of years, and are no longer finding them a satisfying market? Are seniors less inspiring to you than you thought they would be? Decide who you would rather be around at least for the next while. Is it teens or singles or a certain culture or the other gender or, well, you define that for yourself. Test it until you see what feels right for you. It’s a big world out there and you get to choose.

Turn Your Tips Into Products, Your Tips Products Into Moneymakers TM”
© 2014 Paulette Ensign

Why The 2014 Mazda3 Should Be Your First New Car Purchase

Over the past several years, the entry level automotive market has undergone a massive evolution. New car buyers are expecting more from their vehicles. Simplistic “base” models are on their way out. Today’s drivers want more.

Much of this change is driven by the nature of the entry-level market. Most first car buyers looking at “small” entry-level vehicles have grown up having it all. They are part of a new generation-a generation raised with access to everything at their fingertips; an entire group of tech savvy consumers who expect do-everything features even in the most budget conscious and compact vehicles.

Are you in the market for your first new car? If you are a tech-savvy car buyer who is unwilling to make any sacrifices, the 2014 Mazda3 is should be your first new car purchase. Mazda understands that the automotive industry is changing. The new 2014 Mazda3 offers everything that modern drivers expect at a price that is right for everyone. Compact, fuel efficient and affordable no longer means that you have to have a cheap feeling, uninspiring vehicle.

The first thing you’ll notice about the 2014 Mazda3 is that it stands out from the crowd. The long hood and cab-style back end is a breath of creative fresh air that you don’t see in other compact cars. The look is sporty. Gentle curves sweep up to the back, giving a sports car inspired look that screams speed. For many buyers, the styling is everything you can ask for in a price-conscious four door “economy” car. It’s anything but unassuming. The look “says” fast and expensive-and that’s a good thing; you can’t find anything that looks better in this price range.

The 2014 Mazda3 is built around a SKYACTIV four-cylinder engine that’s been around since 2012. The base model comes with a 2.0L engine that develops 155 horsepower with exceptional efficiency. Mazda rates performance of the base model at 4.7 litres/100km on the highway. The more powerful 2.5L is also available. It is slightly more powerful, developing 184 horsepower while maintaining an impressive 5.0 litres/100km highway efficiency rating.

Mazda redesigned almost every component of the 2014 Mazda3. Extensive revisions to the suspension system, shocks, and anti-roll bars promise improved stability, performance cornering capability, and overall ride comfort. All models come with disk brakes on all four wheels, creating impressive stopping distances that best most compact cars. The steering system is also revamped. Older Mazda3 models used an electrohydraulic steering system, the 2014 Mazda3 uses a new electric power steering mechanism.

Inside, the 2014 Mazda3 is not as spacious as it could be. The cabin is compact. The long hood and sweep-back design that creates smooth sporty curves on the outside sacrifice interior space. The front seats are adequately spacious and equipped with contoured seats with comfortably designed back and lateral support. Sleek styling steals space from rear passengers. The Mazda3 is tighter that other compact cars in this class. Headroom is inadequate in the rear for taller passengers-a problem created when Mazda decided to increase rear seat height to improve comfort. Overall, the Mazda3 has acceptable rear room for a compact-it is adequate for children but not comfortable for adults.

If safety is a primary concern, the 2014 Mazda3 has you covered. Each model includes multiple airbags-both front and side systems for the front seats and side-curtain airbags that expand over the entire cabin length. Mazda has consistently scored high in all crash test ratings with each generation of Mazda3-the 2014 model is no different. It is one of the safest compact cars on the road.

The 2014 Mazda3 GT includes a system called I-Activesense that incorporates adaptive front lighting, a lane departure warning, and blind spot monitoring. Mazda’s “Smart City Brake Support” system is an interesting addition on the GT model that monitors vehicle distances and pre-adjusts brakes automatically for optimum collision response time in city traffic. The car can alert drivers to imminent collisions at city driving speeds and automatically brake to a stop if there is no driver response to an upcoming obstacle.

It’s clear that drivers don’t want to sacrifice electronic features, even in compact affordable vehicles. The 2014 Mazda3 has “Mazda Connect” in all models-a touch-screen display on top of the dashboard that controls a variety of functions. The system includes a radio, CD player, a USB input, and an auxiliary audio jack. The GT model includes an upgraded Bose audio system and an SD card slot.

The 2014 Mazda3 ranges in price from an MSRP of $15,995 to $26,855. At the base price, there are no compact cars that can come close to matching the 2014 Mazda3’s styling and features. If you are looking for a new car in 2014, you can’t get much better than this.

The only major drawback to this impressive car is the cramped interior. Creating a compact car with sport-influenced style resulted in a cramped rear passenger area. Four tall adults cannot fit comfortably in the 2014 Mazda3. Rear seats are adequate for children. Aside from this drawback, the 2014 Mazda3 is a very impressive offering that matches performance, style, advanced technology, and full-features with affordability. Few compact cars can get this formula right.

Mazda has recognized the demands of modern first-time car buyers in the compact car market. Many young people are looking for cars that don’t skimp on style or technology. The 2014 Mazda3 represents the beginning of a new era in compact car design, function, and pricing. You no longer have to sacrifice style for price and “economy” compacts no longer have to represent pure function over form. The Mazda3 is a real-world driver’s car-it’s fun, sporty, affordable, and capable enough to fit the family. It’s a vehicle that demands serious consideration if you are looking for a new car.

Lotus in Shock Six Car Comeback

After a decade relying on the respected Elise and its more furious Exige stablemate, historic sportscar marque Lotus is back in the spotlight after unveiling a stunning range of new models.

Launching the Evora back in 2008 has clearly given the company a taste for expanding its sportscar offering, very likely due in large part to the sales boost the Norfolk-based firm has been enjoying this year as result.

Essentially a scaled up, more user-friendly Elise, the Evora is attractively styled and has won praise from road testers for its combination of precise handling yet refined ride. Utilising a variation of the Elise’s bonded, lightweight chassis together with a Toyota-derived, 3.5 litre V6 engine is thought to be key to the car’s ability to balance comfortable long-distance cruising with sharp performance on the racetrack.

The only serious criticism thrown at the standard Evora has been a lack of straightline power, but Lotus has responded to this most recently by launching the Evora S, its supercharged engine boosting power output by 70bhp. While the Porsche Cayman is probably the Evora’s natural rival, in supercharged form the newest Lotus looks to be a genuine pocket supercar, even nipping at the heels of the Porsche 911.

But the company’s plans to further expand its model line-up reveal that Lotus now aims to go from niche sportscar maker to supercar class leader in only five years.

To tackle this ambitious goal, Danny Bahar, recently appointed new boss of Lotus, has put together a highly experienced team from a range of performance car specialists that he calls the “Real Madrid” of the car industry. New chief designer, Donato Coco, is a former head of design at Ferrari, Lotus’s director of product engineering, Paul Newsome, used to work for BMW and chief operating officer, Stephen Pathenschneider, was head of production at AMG.

Until now, Lotus has been known for its stripped out, economical cars for people looking for a spirited trackday drive and Bahar has promised the marque’s concerned followers that Lotus will continue to follow its founder Colin Chapman’s core philosophy of performance through light weight.

The first of the fresh Lotus line-up to be revealed on Bahar’s watch will be an all-new Esprit and early details show that the company is aiming a great deal further upmarket and preparing to take on the premium supercar big guns like Aston Martin, Porsche and Ferrari.

The firm’s new mid-engined, two-seat supercar will continue Lotus’s links with Toyota, the range-topper being equipped with a powerful 4.8 litre V10 engine taken from the Lexus LFA that would have the potential at least on paper to rival the Audi R8 and its Lamborghini Gallardo cousin.

But customers will also be offered the option of the 5.0 litre V8 fitted to the Lexus IS-F, offering up to 620bhp, and entry level models will get an uprated 300bhp version of the Evora’s 3.5 litre V6 powerplant.

The new Esprit will be available as a coupe and convertible and will also feature as standard an F1 racing style KERS ‘power boost’ system to deliver a temporary extra 50 bhp on demand.

At this level of performance and specification, the car the Esprit will have to beat is nothing less than the Ferrari 458 Italia. Undoubtedly a tough goal, but if it successfully combines Elise and Evora style handling with those tried and tested Toyota powerplants then the Italian class leader could face a real run for its money.

Following the Esprit in 2013, according to Lotus, will be a smaller, two-seat roadster and two GT cars in 2014 and 2015, when an all-new Elise will also be revealed. Truly breaking the mould, there are even rumours that Lotus is planning a premium, all-electric city car.

The two GTs are expected to get hybrid technology utilising the Lotus-designed 1.2 litre Range Extender engine, designed for mating with an electric motor as most recently seen in action in the Jaguar XJ ‘Limo Green’ concept.

If the Evora indicates what Lotus can do when it comes to creating all-new cars, the prospects for the company’s future, expanded range seem on the face of it to be very good. But the final verdict will have to wait because, as ever, the proof of the supercar is ultimately in the driving.