Tuesday, December 8, 2009

John's Monday Washington Post Column:

Here is this week's column from The Washington Post --------------

Let us begin today by turning to John Swofford, the commissioner of the ACC, a football conference that might -- might -- have one good football team. As it happens, this is Swofford's year to be the spokesman (read: spinner) for the BCS because the six commissioners who run the so-called power conferences take two-year turns trying to defend their indefensible system.

After Sunday night's BCS "selection show," -- which had all the suspense of the tallying of the electoral college -- Swofford said this about the fact that undefeated Texas Christian and undefeated Boise State had been so graciously included in the BCS bowls -- actually one BCS bowl, since they will play one another in the Fiesta Bowl.

"I think it certainly shows that there's more access than before in terms of the BCS system," Swofford said. "If you look back in recent years, there's a consistency in that access that is evident and very healthy for college football."

Click here for the rest of the article - BCS again proves its worthlessness


Anonymous said...

What all you playoff-backers fail to understand is that a playoff would kill college football as we know it today. College football is so exciting each and every week of the regular season because just one slip-up has an impact on the entire season. If we add a playoff, then the regular season loses its magic. Tell me, other than a few key matchups each year, does anyone care about college basketball until March?

Kevin Cropper said...

John, it seems a playoff system would be win-win. Right now, we have about five weekends from Bowl Announcements to the Championship Bowl. What if we picked the top 8 teams? That would be enough to ensure the best ones are in, and while the 7,8,9,10 might get sticky, you would know you had the top 5 in there. This weekend, there are four games (1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5), they could even be in the big bowl stadiums. In two weeks, there are two games (W1v8 v W4v5, W2v7 v W3v6). Then two weeks later, the final match up. In total, we get seven huge games, with top teams. It all ends on the same weekend in January as the current system. Fans get more big games to attend ($$) and watch ($$) and advertisers get more real meaningful big games to advertise on.

As for the comment above about making the season meaningless, well, I think that being in the top 8 would still require a bit more luck and meaning, especially after just 12 games, than being in the top 1/2 (64) after 30 games.

I can't see why we haven't done it. If the BCS conferences are worried that a TCU will mess things up by a lucky win over one of their teams, well, this would require TCU to beat THREE of their teams to really make a mess. And at that point, obviously they would deserve it.

Daniel said...

Anonymous, is your real name John Swofford by chance?

College football is not exciting because in the end because very few teams have a chance at being the BCS champion. TCU and Boise won every single game and in the end it didn't matter. What sense does that make?

The regular season games might be slightly less exciting, but the difference would be very small because you still have to play to be ranked highly enough to make the playoffs.

The way college football is right now people like me do not care at all. At least with basketball there's a reason to care during March Madness. With college football there is zero reason to care ever because the BCS champion is not the actual champion of college football. The fact that the BCS gives us some glorified exhibition games doesn't prove a thing.

Sooner or later there will be a playoff in college football. That's what the fans want. It will happen and it will be better if it happened sooner rather than later.

DrBear said...

I prefer a comment I heard the other day that TCU-Boise should be renamed the "Separate but Equal Bowl" and urge this be made unanimous.

Anonymous said...

The best thing the BCS conferences did for themselves by having TCU and BSU together was that when Florida kills Cincinnati, it will be #1 Alabama, #2 Florida (with a fresh victory over a previously undefeated BCS team), and #3 an undefeated TCU/BSU. They won't have the Utah problem (killed an SEC powerhouse Alabama) again where voters are tempted to place #1 votes for teams other than the BCS champion.
The back up plan is that ifCincinnati wins, and TCU/BSU still don't make it in the top 2. An undefeated Cincinnati beat a team that Alabama already clubbed, so they won't get any #1 votes either.
And in the instance where Texas wins (upsets are always possible in college football), it doesn't matter what else happens, because Texas will have beat a team that beat Florida, so there will be no additional claims on #1.
You see, the BCS system does work. An undisputed champion will be named come January 2010. Who knew that the Fiesta bowl would play such an integral roll in making that happen?

elprofe said...

The current BCS system exists solely because of the money involved in the bowl system. The playoff system works quite well at all levels and, contrary to Anonymous' assertion, does, in no way, detract from the importance of regular season games. Indeed, the teams from the West Region of Division II were not decided (excepting numbers 1 and 2 -- Central Washington and Northwest Missouri) until the evening of the final day of the regular season. Just as exciting and a whole lot fairer to the schools and (more importantly) players involved.

J-Slay said...

elprofe what planet are you from? Nobody I know watches but a couple of college basketball games until the tourneys begin. It's the exact argument for why a playoff makes the regular season less relevant.

Anonymous said...

Well, at the beginning of the year, the 5 non-aq conferences basically had their seasons mute, then after week 2 when all D1 teams probably have played another D1 team, about 3/4 of the country was out of the National Champ hunt, if you listen to the BCS's argument of the regular season being a weekly playoff is true. By October, really, only about 10 teams have a shot at a national title. How is this good for football, for the rest of the season for the 100+ teams out of the hunt?

Seems to me it seriously DETRACTS from the season to have the season as the playoff.

Michael said...

John wrote, “For the moment, let's forget all the questions that surround Texas being selected over Cincinnati, TCU and Boise State to play Alabama for the so-called national championship. Is Texas, which did not beat a team all season that finished in the top 20, better than the other three unbeatens?”

Your argument is completely illogical. Why does your argument focus on where a team’s opponents finish the year? Why not focus on how many games featured a ranked opponent? Perhaps this list provides an answer:

Undefeated team v. Number of ranked opponents at time of game:
Alabama (5): Virginia Tech, Mississippi, South Carolina, LSU, Florida
Boise State (1): Oregon
Cincinnati (3): South Florida, West Virginia, Pittsburgh
Texas (3): Oklahoma, Oklahoma St., Nebraska
TCU (2): BYU, Utah

By this rationale, Texas is just as worthy as Cincinnati but more worthy than TCU and Boise State to play for the mythical national championship.

Instead of top 25 at time of game, we only consider opponents who were ranked in the top 15 as the criteria:

Alabama – 3
Boise State – 0 (as in ZERO)
Cincinnati – 1
Texas – 1
TCU – 0 (as in ZERO)

Same conclusion as if we considered only top 25 rankings.

By this rationale, Texas is just as worthy as Cincinnati but more worthy than TCU and Boise State to play for the mythical national championship.

Of course, Texas competed in and won more games than Cincinnati, TCU, and Boise State.

Finally, Texas played a harder schedule because unlike Alabama, Boise State, Cincinnati, and TCU, Texas did not play an NCAA Division I-AA opponent; a fact that your arguments fail to consider when expressing the opinion that Texas is a questionable opponent.

Why do you continue to assume that Alabama and not Texas is the questionable team for the mythical national championship? Your assumption is faulty and indefensible.

And since your entire argument begins with the assumption that Alabama is unquestionable team and Texas is a questionable team, your entire argument falls apart when that assumption is called into question. That is, your argument lacks validity.

I hope for your sake that Alabama wins. If Alabama loses, then your blog posts from Dec. 7 and Dec. 8 as well as your Washington Post on Dec. 7 will be wrong because you made an incorrect assumption.

SteveP said...

John, you said no one has the guts to stand up to the BCS bullies. That includes the fans - how many fans would simply be willing to not watch the games on TV thereby sucking the wind out of the advertising? That's how we can hit the BCS bullies in the stomach. But, I don't think the college football fans have the guts to do it - they couldn't possibly find the wherewithal to inconvenience themselves.

lightdee said...

John Feinstein - thanks for saying what needs to be said regarding the BCS. Your Washington Post article was right on the money - the BCS is truly worse than worthless. As a fan of college football, I hate the current post-season. Let the players decide on the field who is the best, not a bunch of cigar-smoking boss-tweeds.

John said...

Wow, even the sports writers in the media are in love with Obama! Don't worry, Feinstein - he'll fix everything!

Anonymous said...

The BCS did not conspire to put TCU and Boise together, each bowl gets a pick and they go around with certain conferences locked into certain bowls, the Orange Bowl is looking to sell the most tickets and so is the Fiesta and they "draft" their game with that in mind, not some dubious plot. You can't fit 3 into 2 so how would it work? You could legitimately have a final 4 this year with 4 undefeateds, what about years where there are just 2? Do you add 2 1 loss teams to have 4 or just have the 2 unbeatens play? Look at the 80s when Texas would be in the Cotton Bowl from the SWC, Bama would be in the Sugar, maybe playing Cincy, or not, and you would end up with a split like in 91, 97 etc before the conferences came together and set up the BCS, the only thing the BCS guarantees is 1 vs 2, the other matchups are all about money like they always have been. I know everyone wants to have a bracket to fill out like in March so that millions more people who could care less and don't watch will get into it cause there is a bracket to fill out and bet on, but those of us who are true CFB fans are gonna watch the games and enjoy it. The games in September matter, if Alabama had lost to V Tech back in September they wouldn't be here. The Okla-Tex game was huge in October looking back. Any of those NBA thrillers last night help determine a champ?

Robert said...

Supporters of a playoff system do not recognize the role injury plays in college football. Protection of marquis players is one reason the “big boys” in college football schedule up to 1/3 of their games as noncompetitive scrimmages against losing teams from non BCS conferences. A playoff system would add three more bruising games almost immediately upon the end of the regular season. Do I really want the National Championship decided on the basis of which team has the best third string quarterback?

The problem with the current BCS is the problem of all computer based analysis: “garbage in, garbage out”.
-- There are too few competitive, inter-conference games in a season, so during-the-season cross conference comparison made by the BCS system are worthless.
-- Conferences operate in an unequal way. One cannot compare a 12 game season ending in the third week of November with a 13 game season that concludes with a highly competitive conference championship three weeks later.
-- a team in December is not the same as the one in January. Recovery from injury, academic and disciplinary ineligibility, length of layoff all dramatically change a team. The result, too few competitive national championship games.

We can build a playoff-style system into the current bowls.

Round 1) No team can be considered national champion unless he has taken part in a conference championship. That turns conference championships into a quarter final round. Some conferences could expand and split into divisions as the Big Ten is considering. There could be cross conference playoffs for smaller conferences, such as an east/west playoff pitting the winner of the Big East against the winner of the Mountain West, or a west coast championship pitting PAC against WAC?

Round 2) Turn the bowls into a semifinal round. The bowls provide the only cross conference comparison.

Round 3) National Champion contenders are selected by a final BCS ranking after the bowls. A National Championship Game could be scheduled two weeks after the end of the Bowls, perhaps in the bye week before the Super Bowl. A final BCS ranking after the bowls, offers more accurate evaluation of strength of schedule, makes more bowl games relevant to the choice, and more bowl winners potentially eligible. Only in this kind of system can a team like Utah, TCU or Boise State ever be able to prove to the BCS that it is worthy of being in the Title Game. It would also increase viewer interest in more bowl games.

Therefore, without scrapping the current bowl system, a better, fairer, more competitive, and more inclusive selection of the final contenders for the national Championship could be determined.


Robert W. Atwood