Daily Archives: January 2, 2007

Is the BCS no better than a ’63 Corvair?

Yep, Ralph Nader, author of Unsafe At Any Speed, has set his sights on the Bowl Championship Series. (h/t DawgSports)

Displaying the same sensitivity and insight that contributed to George Bush becoming (as opposed to being elected) President in 2000, Nader urges the creation of a playoff system run by the NCAA because there “… should never be so much power in the hands of so few without accountability as the BCS demonstrates each year…”

No doubt there are many thousands of Alabama fans who think highly of the accountability of the NCAA.

According to Nader,

…The BCS is responsible for concentrating the wealth that comes from the major post-season events (Fiesta, Orange, Rose and Sugar bowls, and the National Championship game) among the schools in conferences with BCS influence, and leaving the other Division I-A, non-BCS schools at a competitive, financial and recruiting disadvantage…

Silly me – I thought that the fact that the mid-major school with the highest average attendance (BYU) ranked only twenty sixth overall in college football attendance might be an indication that fan support is a significant factor in why some schools traditionally enjoy advantages in finances and recruiting over others. Instead, Ralph claims it’s just them damned, ee-vil bowl games.

Nader thinks we need a playoff system because teams with equal records don’t get treated equally by the BCS:

The biggest area of controversy with the BCS system is unquestionably the disputed method for deciding a national champion. For starters, since the creation of the BCS in 1998, the convoluted mix of polls and computers to decide what schools should be appointed to play in the title game has succeeded only twice without controversy.

But no system could succeed that has to ”decide” among schools with equal records and valid claims of inclusion when only two spots are available. And no system could succeed that leaves such a remote chance for a non-BCS school to compete for the championship, even with a perfect record.

Record attendance, record TV exposure, record revenues… somehow that fails to equate to “success” for Nader who thinks we’re getting royally screwed by ‘Da Man:

… Excluding deserving teams and student-athletes from the chance to compete also amounts to consumer fraud for the fans.

Consumer fraud? Wow, here I’ve been worried about the conference commissioners, the school presidents and the networks duking it out over the BCS/playoff battle, and I’ve totally ignored another front – trial lawyers.

I, for one, would welcome our new shark overlords. After the lawyers milk the schools, bowls and networks for tens of millions in a lawsuit, we fans would probably get a class action settlement equivalent to the price of a Diet Coke at the stadium.  Or this:

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January 1 thoughts

The SEC didn’t exactly cover itself in glory yesterday. Houston Nutt again showed me why he’s overrated as a head coach. Fulmer again showed me that he can’t motivate his team to play in a non-BCS bowl game. Tommy Tuberville got lucky by going up against a coach who’s willing to take even stupider risks than he’s ever thought about (a reverse on a fake punt?).

Stewart Mandel notwithstanding, the Fiesta Bowl was one of the most entertaining college football games I’ve ever watched. Stoops can’t blame the outcome on the officiating, either.

And how ’bout them Jackets? I figured going in that the Gator Bowl was a win-win proposition, as either Bennett would have a fabulous game leading GT to a win and have every Jacket fan question Chan’s loyalty to “Dog”, or Bennett would demonstrate that there was a reason he was on the bench as Georgia Tech took it on the chin. Instead, I got the best of both worlds: Bennett started out hot and led Tech out to a big lead and then got defensed well by a mediocre D-1 pass defense as the Jackets blew the game and lost. Georgia will finish ranked. Tech will not. All that’s left to finish the trifecta is for Calvin Johnson to declare for the NFL. Do it, CJ!

So far, the most impressive looking team in the bowl season has been Southern California, which flat out demolished Michigan, much to the surprise of the pundits at ABC/ESPN (and Herbstreit needs to get off his blogger hatin’ shtick, by the way). I loved the way Pete Carroll went for the jugular with the playcalling on offense to put the game away late. I’m not prepared to read anything into the Rose Bowl result in terms of whether it lessens Ohio State’s standing going into the BCS title game, but USC sure looks to be a powerhouse going into next season.

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Positions available

With Charles Johnson’s decision to make himself eligible for the NFL draft, Georgia faces the daunting task of rebuilding both its offensive and defensive lines for 2007.  Coach Richt certainly has his work cut out for him, starting with naming an offensive line coach.

Protecting Stafford from getting killed and trying to ensure that there will be a effective ground game behind an offensive line that will most likely have at least two starters that have never taken a snap in a D-1 football game should be a challenge, to say the least.

And if the last three games of the season have shown us anything, it’s that Martinez needs a stout pass rush from his defensive linemen to make his defense go.

All in all, it should be interesting to watch.

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Stewart Mandel hyperventilates.

First, Michael Elkon nails Mandel on his “springboard” piece.

I want a turn, too. Let me take a moment to talk about Mandel’s “Landmark Moment” post on his blog. It was posted at 2:00 in the morning after what was the most exciting game of the season (with the best capper ever in Ian Johnson’s marriage proposal after he scored the game winner), so maybe we should cut Mandel some slack.

But, then again, some writers were able to analyze the results of the Fiesta Bowl more rationally, so maybe not.

Mandel begins promisingly with his first line: “It takes something pretty special to leave a writer at a loss for words.” Talk is cheap, though, and it’s all downhill after his third paragraph -

… And how do you sum up what will one day be viewed as one of the most significant moments in the history of college football?

I’m not exaggerating…

He is exaggerating; he just doesn’t want to admit it.

Where he’s going with this breathless prose is to argue that this game may sound the death knell of the BCS:

… Like it or not, Boise State 43, Oklahoma 42 just became the single biggest argument to date for a college football playoff.

He never gets around to saying why, though.

… You’re going to hear it a lot in the coming weeks. If Boise State can beat Oklahoma, why shouldn’t it get a shot at Ohio State? And while the BCS commissioners can offer any number of general arguments against a playoff, the fact is there is no reasonable answer to that specific question.

Let me give you one to start with. Here’s the list of Boise State’s regular season opponents in ’06: Sacramento State, Oregon State, Wyoming, Hawaii, Utah, Louisiana Tech, New Mexico State, Idaho, Fresno State, San Jose State, Utah State and Nevada.

Not the most impressive group you’ve seen, is it?

Let’s face it – the Broncos feasted on a rather unimposing bunch during the regular season to amass an undefeated record and used that to roll into a BCS game (created by a blackmail threat from a number of mid-major schools) against an opponent that didn’t look like it took them as seriously as the Sooners should have, played like they had nothing to lose and pulled off the win.

And even Mandel admits that “…this was not the greatest of Oklahoma teams the Broncos beat.” No kidding.

Was the Fiesta Bowl exciting? Sure. Did it justify having Boise State in a BCS game? Since the Broncs won, I’d have to say yes. But it’s a huge leap to go from there to saying that BSU deserves a crack at a national championship game.

Because if you go down that road and grant that reward, you’ll do nothing but make sure that every college team loads up its schedule with patsies to get the same payoff.

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