Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Here we go on the BCS - the Broncos are the horse we’re riding right now; Courier should be Davis Cup captain, Beretta is best call for Army AD

I’m not going to write here in any detail about Monday’s Maryland-Navy game because I wrote about it in today’s Washington Post. The column was posted here a short while ago. I sum the game up this way: Maryland deserved to win. Navy deserved to lose. You will not see the name Ricky Dobbs in the same sentence with the words Heisman Trophy at any point in the future.

The most important game of the college football weekend was the last one played (and played and played and played; my God is it time to do something about the length of college football games). That was the one between Boise State and Virginia Tech. I believe many people who went to the game will be reading this shortly after they arrive home at about noon today. Nothing quite like the parking lots at FedEx Field—especially at midnight on a school/work night when you are an angry Virginia Tech fan I would imagine.

Virginia Tech is a very good football team. It is well coached and resilient as it proved when it rallied from an early 17-0 hole to lead on several occasions in the second half. My guess is the Hokies—if they don’t get too down about this loss—will win the ACC for the fourth time since they joined the league. I’m still not sold on the Miami comeback thing or on Jimbo Fisher although we’ll have to see.

The point is this: We now know that Boise State is the real deal—if there was any doubt before Monday night. The Broncos traveled across the country, went into a hostile stadium and bolted to an early lead. Then, when the home team, led by a talented senior quarterback rallied and took the lead, they didn’t get frazzled. When they had to drive the length of the field late in the game to win, they did exactly that.

You fans at Alabama and Texas and Ohio State and Florida who are screaming that your team would whip the Broncos, that’s fine. Like I said last week—play them. (Note to the poster who pointed out that LSU HAS scheduled some very good teams home-and-home in recent years and on future schedules: you’re right—but they’re all from BCS Conferences).

If Monday night’s game had been played in Seattle, Washington instead of suburban Washington, Boise State wins by at least 10. The setting played a critical role in Virginia Tech’s comeback. Would Boise State beat those top-ranked teams on a neutral site? I don’t know, but I’d love to see them get the chance.

And now, like it or not BCS apologists (that means you Kornheiser) there’s a possibility they might. If Boise State can beat Oregon State at home on September 25th, there’s a good chance it will run the table—just as it did last year when the BCS hypocrites stuck them and an equally undefeated (I know there’s no such thing) TCU team in the Fiesta Bowl to ensure that neither would get the chance to beat someone like Georgia Tech or Iowa or Cincinnati in one of the BCS games—which they surely would have.

The best-case scenario for the BCSA (BCS apologists) now is that two of their schools go undefeated. Then they can use the, “tougher schedule,” excuse to leave Boise State out of the championship game. If, however, there’s only one unbeaten or even worse if no one goes undefeated, the BCS has a problem. Because if Boise State is left out of the championship game in favor of a one-loss BCS school, there are going to be a lot of voices a lot louder and more influential than mine screaming fraud. Because that’s exactly what it will be.

Don’t get me wrong, the problems with this system go well beyond Boise State. Unbeaten teams from Utah and Hawaii and TCU have also been denied the chance to play for the national championship. In 1998 Tulane went unbeaten and didn’t even get to play in a BCS Bowl. That was before Congress began throwing the term, “cartel,” around and all of a sudden a formula was found to “allow,” non-BCS schools access to the BCS Bowls (read money) though not—as yet—to the title game.

If you go unbeaten in any sport, you should get to compete for a championship. Period. That’s why some form of playoff should have been in place years ago. That’s why Boise State’s win Monday night was important because even though it isn’t going to bring down the BCS, it is another brick in the wall. This is sort of like the plagues of Moses. It took ten to get to Pharaoh but he eventually had to capitulate. Don’t get me wrong: I am NOT advocating the death of the first born of All BCS, just extreme discomfort for all who defend it. I think watching ‘Around the Horn,’ on a non-stop loop forever might be appropriate.

Or maybe listening to Colin Cowherd too. (This is a new one for me. I’ve always thought the guy was just kind of a clown, another ESPN guy made a star by ESPN promoting him non-stop, but Monday when I heard him blaming the people who went bankrupt and lost their homes for the fall of the economy, that was it for me.)

My favorite BCS team for the rest of the season will be Virginia Tech. Because the more the Hokies win, the better it is for Boise State. And if you believe at all in what is right and good for America, you are a Boise State fan. And a TCU fan. Throw in Utah while you’re at it if you want. But the Broncos are the horse we’re riding right now.


Completely different subject: Patrick McEnroe stepped down as Davis Cup captain yesterday. He’s got three kids and a lot on his plate and figured that ten years was enough.

The leading candidates to replace him are Jim Courier and Todd Martin. This is a no-brainer. Martin is a good guy who was a solid player but Courier is a four-time major champion who was a Davis Cup stalwart. He’s also very bright and wants the job for all the right reasons. The USTA should put Martin on hold, keep him involved with the work McEnroe is doing with young players and name Courier as the captain. It’s an easy call.

One other easy call: Bob Beretta should be the next Athletic Director at Army, replacing Kevin Anderson who left for Maryland. Beretta has been at Army for 20 years and gets the place. He’s smart, he’s been Anderson’s right hand for six years and can hit the ground running. What’s more, he won’t see the job as a stepping stone to a bigger job the way Anderson did and the way Rick Greenspan did—even though Indiana’s decision to hire Greenspan was right up there with New Coke when it comes to disasters. In fact, Army STILL hasn’t completely recovered from Greenspan’s Reign of Error. (See Berry, Todd for details).

Beretta is an easy choice and the right choice. My concern is that Army will conduct a ‘nationwide search,’ hired one of those God-Awful headhunting firms and screws it up—as it did with Greenspan.


Anonymous said...

Yeah, Cowherd is insufferable from time to time like the rest of them. Musburger and Kirk Herbstreit must have gotten the ESPN memo last night on Boise -- they spent the entire night discussing their courage and heart and effort in a condescending manner, giving the impression that they were shocked that Boise had players capable of being on the same field. Why are media companies, announcers and BCSA's so scared to admit someone else MIGHT be pretty darn good?

Anonymous said...

Hey John how come no love for GT. I know VT looked like a great team last night, but GT is the defending ACC champion and has Paul Johnson (the reason Navy reclaimed relevance nationally). It's also an excellent academic institution and a far cry from the football factories that are the Alabamas and Texases of college football.

Anonymous said...

John, what can you tell us about the Terps new AD? Any insights on the process and why he was taken over Hathaway?

Anonymous said...

Last night reaffirmed the fact that Boise State is GOOD. But as a through and through BCSA (Bowl Championship Series advocate) the win isn’t GOOD for college football. Boise deserves to be in a BCS game and if that happens to be the BCS National Title so be it, only if they deserve it more than another team. But it paves the way for other teams to think they warrant a spot in the mix when they don’t. It gives team like Hawaii two years ago that plays a weak schedule and doesn’t play the same competition on a week to week basis to go to a BCS and get absolutely crushed.
Unfortunately the combination of conferences is a step on the road to a playoff system. Making them play someone better than Tulsa and Louisiana Tech in November will be a good thing. Boise State does, says, and plays the right way, but may be bad for college football.
[Last note: Home field advantage on a neutral site does not mean much. So what that Va Tech is 10x closer to Washington than Boise State. That stadium was jam packed with Blue and Orange Broncos fans and had no effect on the game. Also I tried to pick all the Bowl games last year, I didn’t do so well, but sometimes when it came down to it I looked at the location of the game in relation to where the schools were located. Most of the time the team that traveled the furthest won. Ie Wisconsin over Miami in Orlando, Rutgers beat UCF in St Petersburg, Air Force beat Houston in Fort Worth, and UCLA beat Temple in Washington just to name a few.]
-Andy McD

Mr. X said...

Damn John,

You went Old Testament today! Nice. I was hoping you'd call into Tony's show to smack him upside the head with a stone tablet.

Keep stickin' it to the NCAA.

GB said...

Just wanted to highlight another interesting consequence of the game last night. As John has mentioned dozens of times in this space before (perhaps hundres by now), the BCSAs consistently make the claim that the regular season is more meaningful than in any other sport. While BSU-VT was as important as a first weekend game you'll see, the irony is that the loss rendered the rest of the Hokies' season meaningless given their pre-season aspirations. This is a team that has a space in their locker room reserved for the BCS Trophy, so I don't think another ACC title is really going to appease the VT fan base too much. But, I guess as a likely top 10 (or 8) team come December, it's a nice consolation prize knowing that you'll have a chance to make another trip to Miami to face the daunted, #25-ranked Pitt Panthers in the Orange Bowl. The BCS is a joke, and the sport is suffering because of it.

Momus said...

I was waiting for it, knowing it had to come, sooner or later. I mean, there were just too many targets-of-opportunities.

I was thinking perhaps some stream-of-consciousness when you made a glancing reference to LSU. "LSU. Tigers. Speaking of which ..."

Surely the old guilt-by-assocation would be too tempting to pass up, especially when it involves the four-letter world-wide leader. "Of course, when it comes to jerks and ESPN, ..."

Becoming more desperate, I thought there was a glimmer of a chance you would slide in a reference, on the sly, as a black-and-white (figurately speaking) juxtaposition. "Martin is a good guy, unlike ..."

The post coming to an end, it was hail Mary time, when there looked to be a chance to riff on the whole corporate suit issue. "...hired one of those "God-Awful headhunting firms and screws it up. Sort of like certain athletes who fall-from-grace and feel compelled to pay for some 'media strategy.' I mean, when it comes to 'God-Awful, who can't help but think of ..."

But in the end, like a Mets fan in September, I came away with nothing but disappointment. So sad was I that I would have gladly settled for a parting shot, apropos of nothing, at the sainted earl.

That's the great thing about sports, there's always tomorrow, where hope springs eternal....

Anonymous said...

Mr. Feinstein you don't fool me for a minute. The reference to LSU was just a disguised slam of "Tiger" Woods. I get the code. LSU Tigers =Tiger Woods. BCS = PGA. And at first I thought you made it through an entire column without going off on another Tiger tirade.

bevo said...

Bob Beretta would be an outstanding choice for AD. I worked with him a couple times while I was working in that neck of the woods.

He is professional, competent, and thorough. I fear Army will want a fundraising, increase the profile kind of AD though. Too bad.

Beretta would make a great face of Army athletics.

Tim said...

Any thoughts to the Heisman committee keeping the light shown on the bad side of college sports, the Reggie Bush mess? Why in the world would any of the keepers of that trophy leak info that keeps it in the news, coming off the first weekend of the season leading into arguably the best week of the season (at least 5 good cross-over games, usually unheard of).

College football needs a commissioner whose job it is to start controlling the associated businesses, to shine the positive light on what they do. Outside of the NCAA, and Ari Fleischer (sp??) of course. Maybe they'll hire Bud Selig?

Pete said...

It's hard to blame anyone for not scheduling Boise State or TCU for home and home series. Who would want to go play on that ridiculous field. Sure, money is a big factor, but so is the fact the the best conferences are so tough that there is little for them to gain by scheduling non-BCS teams. The problem is the non-play-off system. It's that simple.

As for Cowherd, you are right on the money. He has become unlistenable for me with his pontificating and his social commentary. I even agree with much of his personal accountability philosophy, but his presentation of it is grating.

As for Anderson, one thing is for sure. Maryland really doesn't care about building great football and basketball programs. He is a budget guy. He hasn't won anything important anywhere. That's from a Maryland Alum who is tired of mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

Since BSU 'would surely have beaten Iowa' last year, BSU would 'surely have won' at Penn State, at Wisconsin, at Michigan State, taken Ohio St. to overtime at the Horseshoe, and dominated the ACC champion. Right?