Monday, September 27, 2010

Washington Post column - Nothing pretty about the BCS beauty contest

Here is today's article for the Washington Post -------

For all the propaganda about how wonderful the Bowl Championship Series is because it gives college football's regular season so much meaning, here's what the 2010 season may boil down to: style points.

Sort of like in figure skating. The judges may have to decide whether Boise State's triple lutz - Virginia Tech, Oregon State and Nevada - was more impressive than Ohio State landing a triple salchow - Miami, Wisconsin and Penn State - even though it might have missed a double axel somewhere along the line.
As Brent Musburger might say, "Seriously, folks, this is what it's all about."

The constant derision of Boise State's schedule has become laugh-out-loud funny. (More on the seemingly invisible Horned Frogs of TCU later). Let's pause here for a moment to review this past Saturday's schedule in the all-powerful Big Ten.

The league had an 8-2 record. Pretty impressive stuff. Here were the eight teams its teams beat: Ball State, Central Michigan, Bowling Green, Temple, Eastern Michigan, Akron, Northern Colorado and Austin Peay - which at last glance was best known for playing pretty good basketball and for producing the greatest student cheer in college sports history back in the glory days of high-flying forward James (Fly) Williams: "Fly is open - Let's go Peay!"

That aside, while the Big Ten rolled up six wins over teams from the Mid-American Conference, it also lost twice to teams from the MAC: Purdue to Toledo and Minnesota to Northern Illinois. So while those who work for the four-letter network cluck on about Boise State facing New Mexico State, San Jose State and Utah State later in the season, are we supposed to be impressed by a Murderer's Row that includes Purdue, Minnesota and Indiana? For that matter, does anyone think Penn State is really any good or that Northwestern would seriously challenge any sort of serious team?

Click here for the rest of the column: Nothing pretty about the BCS beauty contest


Chris said...

What about the Pac-10, John. Road wins by UCLA and Stanford this week only underscore its place as the second-best conference in the country (and the one that plays the most legitimate non-conference schedule). The solid cadre of ranked teams and others that can challenge with a tough game (Cal, ASU) make it one of the most exciting leagues to watch on a week-in, week-out basis. Do you ever think Florida would travel across the country to Oregon, U$C, or Norte Dame for a non-conference road game like Pac-10 schools do each year in visiting Tenn., Boise St., Oklahoma, etc.?

Anonymous said...

John, how many years are you going to keep bringing up St. Leo's? I don't think Georgetown has played them in 12 or 13 years.

Anonymous said...

The PAC-10 is very strong this year, but I think a lot of teams are going to knock each other off. Stanford needs to beat the green zeroes(Oregon) this Saturday, college football cannot deal with the green zeroes winning a Rose Bowl (hasn't happened since 1917). If you think Dan Snyder is an arrogant, new money jerk, multipy it by 60,000 in Eugene.

qtlaw24 said...

I love it, the BCS clowns (who used to make $1M/yr figuring out how to put on the Cotton Bowl) sweating out Boise State and TCU. Keep up the drumbeat Mr. Feinstein.

Ayjent said...

John you're overstating the strength of the Air Force team, let's wait and see how they finish before calling them a tough opponent. Yeah, Oklahoma barely beat them, but Cincy also hung tough with Oklahoma as well.

Boise State's tough opponents that they've played so far are a combined (3-4, including Va Tech's loss to JMU). So are we to send BSU to the title game for playing out of conference pretenders and what looks to be a decent Nevada team, and overlook SEC/Pac-10/Big-12 teams with one loss that play more ranked opponents, higher ranked opponents, play title games and play teams the calibre of Nevada, Oregon State and Va Tech or better twice as many times? The fact is that any team that comes out of the SEC as Champions with one loss is much more impressive than an undefeated non-major conference school with three significant opponents and a bunch of cupcakes that the major conferences feast on in the early weeks of the season.

The knock on the SEC teams not travelling is somewhat true, but they play such a high level of competition throughout the year that even if they did accept a playdate with Boise St., TCU, or Utah, the fact is that it would be one of only a handful of tough games for BSU, TCU, and Utah, while adding an even higher level of difficulty for the SEC teams - leading to a very real scenario where more than half of their games would be against ranked opponents.

It's not just a shunning of the non-major schools that could, it is a reason for these non-major "powerhouses" to get more aggressive in their scheduling amongst themselves and figure out a way to make their schedules rival the level of difficulty of some of the major conferences. But if they did that, my guess is they would sink back into not being as relevant in the National Championship conversation, because they would have blemishes on their records at the end of the season. They like their lot, despite their whining, its a posturing position and they have their sympathists, like yourself.

Dana King said...

I never understood how BCS apologists could say they made the regular season so meaningful. You lose two games--maybe even just one--and the rest of your games are strictly exhibitions.

Thomas said...

John - did you get a forward copy of Dan Wetzel's book coming out about the BCS? Is it worth the buy and read?

Anonymous said...

in college basketball, I can guarantee that Duke will be in the tournament and play (in the tournament format)for the national championship. Given this information can you think of any reason to watch a Duke regular season game (other than to get ready for that 3 week lottery/national betting experience known as 'filling out brackets')

Style points = what mid-major bball programs have to do to get considered for entry into the tournament. Hmmm, kinda sounds like Boise St, doesn't it? Where are the columns about this?

John K said...

After hearing the Kornheiser podcast, I went and read your column. For years now my friends and I have been ripping the BCS. I'm so happy to see that someone with a national platform is finally driving the point home. The "emperor has no clothes."

Thanks for not backing down. Everyone knows it's a sham, but don't have the guts to fight the NCAA.

John Ann Arbor, MI