John McCain doesn’t run the BCS.

John Swofford currently does.  And here’s his polite reponse to President-elect Obama’s call for a D-1 football playoff (gosh, that’s almost as dramatic as calling to put a man on the moon in ten years):

“First of all I want to congratulate newly-elected President Obama and I am glad he has a passion for college football like so many other Americans. For now, our constituencies — and I know he understands constituencies — have settled on the current B.C.S. system, which the majority believe is the best system yet to determine a national champion while also maintaining the college football regular season as the best and most meaningful in sports. The college presidents, conference commissioners, athletics directors and coaches have continually considered ways to improve the system in keeping with four primary objectives, among others: protecting the unique significance of the regular season, preserving the bowl system for the thousands of students and fans who participate each year, keeping football as a one semester sport and doing what’s best for the student-athletes. We certainly respect the opinions of President-elect Obama and welcome dialogue on what’s best for college football.”

Translation:  bring it on, sucka.  The Republicans were a walk in the park compared to what you’ll be getting into here.

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UPDATE: Matt Hinton, aka Doc Saturday, makes his pitch to become Playoff Czar.  Bastard!

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UPDATE: Oy.

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29 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Political Wankery

29 responses to “John McCain doesn’t run the BCS.

  1. NOBAMA

    I’m just glad Obama has his priorities. “Screw the economy, I’m gonna finally determine who the real national champion is,” BO.

    And he said he is gonna start throwing his “weight around a little.” About a cfb playoff??? We’re in for a long 4 years folks.

    DISCLAIMER: I realize this is not a political site, but I had to voice my opinion on this guy.

  2. That’s OK.

    Personally, I think it’s idiotic for any politician to involve himself (or herself) in sports issues this relatively trivial.

  3. Christ almighty, people, the transcript of the interview goes on for ten pages, and Obama’s statement about a CFB playoff — made in response to a direct question from Steve Kroft — doesn’t come until literally the very tail end of the interview.

    Obviously, as an Obama supporter I’m somewhat biased here, but if you think Obama is ignoring the economy and the Iraq war to focus on setting up a playoff system, you’re going way out of your way to look for something to bitch about.

  4. Well, I’m not biased here at all. I don’t think politicians of any stripe need to be involved in the vast majority of sports issues. That includes idiots like Westmoreland and Abercrombie on college playoffs and McCain on steroids in pro baseball.

    At best, it’s a trivial distraction. At worst, it’s a waste of resources that could be better spent on a host of more serious issues.

    BTW, the reason Kroft brought up the matter was because Obama raised it in the first place on Sunday Night Football.

  5. This is completely inaccurate:

    “maintaining the college football regular season as the best and most meaningful in sports”

    After you lose one game, your season is then meaningless in terms of the national championship, unless you happen to be fortunate enough to have a year where USC and the Big Slow Ten champ happen to each have one loss. Even then you have to have some luck to get to the national championship.

    If you have 2 losses and you’re not USC or the Big Slow Ten champ then forget it, your season is basically over.

    Sure, you can take pride in the consolation prize of winning your conference championship or beating your hated rival, but other than that your remaining games are now reduced to the significance of two mules fighting over a turnip. Yay.

    Besides, would the significance of your heated rivalries or your conference championship be reduced in any way if there was a simple 8 team playoff? In actuality, those games would actually GAIN significance as they could mean the difference between going to the playoffs or not. If you were out of contention, you could defeat your hated rival to keep them out of the playoffs, etc.

    I could see Swofford (who is so brilliant that he added BC to the ACC… one look at the stadium for last year’s ACC championship game illustrates what a crap move that was) as having a valid point if we were talking about going the NFL route and having a playoff that includes damn near 50% of the total teams in the league. In that case, every game’s importance before the playoffs would be drastically reduced. But we’re not talking about that, we’re talking about taking about 5% of the teams in NCAA Division 1-A (AKA FBS) and using a 2 week playoff to seed the top four Bowls including the championship game. In this case there simply is no evidence that the significance of any regular season games would be reduced.

    The myth that “every game counts” in college is very unfounded and in this day and age, just plain stupid.

  6. ArchDawg

    I disagree with you good sir.

    I’m not going to get too longwinded on this (now), but first, there is no way a playoff system will be implemented without the 6 BCS conference champs getting automatic bids. It won’t happen. That’s two at-large spots left, and they will always go to a BCS conference school. Think the mid-majors gonna be happy about that?

    A playoff system will make the bowls obsolete. Thus, you will have several high-profile teams whining about being left out of the postseason playoff–as well as pressure from the non-BCS conferences to get their champions in (to assuage anti-trust talk)–and thus that 8-team playoff will expand to 16 -then -32 teams…maybe even more.

    And that will dramatically reduce the importance of the regular season and conference championships.

  7. Hackerdog

    First, LSU was national champion last year with two losses. Actually, each of the top 6 teams at the end of the year had two losses.

    Second, it’s just plain stupid to argue that the significance of games would not be reduced by expanding the championship field from two teams to eight.

    Look at Alabama right now. They’re undefeated and only have Auburn left before the SEC championship. They could rest their starters, gain experience for their backups, get healthier, lose the game and still not drop below eighth in the BCS. If they win against Florida, they would be locked into the tournament.

    But under the current system, a loss to Auburn probably shuts the door on a national championship. So that Auburn game undeniably has more significance in the current system.

  8. Macallanlover

    Swofford is only correct IF his constituency is the school Presidents and ADs, and I think that is right in a myopic sense, but if he is talking about a majority of the fans, he is WAY off base, and it is the fans who ultimately become his constituency as they pay the bills for the Presidents, ADs, and even the Commissioners.

    The fans may disagree on which format to choose, but every poll I have seen has strong support for deciding a champion on the field and finding a way to take some/all of the bias out of the process. The BCS isn’t a horrible thing, but it just has not satisfied the public craving for a winner on the field. There is a better way.

    I cannot argue that politicians should stay out of this, but I appreciate everyone’s efforts to help correct this. Now that he has given his opinion on it, he should focus on bigger problems.

  9. Greg

    Hackerdawg, I don’t think that’s a very good example. Do you really think Bama is going to rest their starters and risk losing to Auburn because they are already locked into an 8 team playoff? Do you think UF would do that vs FSU? No, of course not. This whole “making the regular season less meaningful” is a crock of crap. Teams will be jockeying for position in the top 8 all year long and those that aren’t will be jockeying for position in the best bowl game they can possibly play in. There are 10 teams involved in the BCS bowl games now and that doesn’t render the remaining bowl games insignificant so why should an 8 team playoff? If those 8 teams started the playoff at the same time as the BCS games, it would extend the season for 2 more weeks….FOR FOUR TEAMS! Swofford’s first and foremost job is the commissioner of the ACC. He’s protecting their revenue in the current environment just as the Big 10 and Pac 10 commissioners are.

  10. Greg

    Correction: 1 additional week for 4 teams and 2 additional weeks for the remaining two. People like Swofford are insulting the general publics intelligence with their reasoning for keeping the existing archaic and non-sensical system intact.

  11. Boz

    “Look at Alabama right now. They’re undefeated and only have Auburn left before the SEC championship. They could rest their starters, gain experience for their backups, get healthier, lose the game and still not drop below eighth in the BCS. If they win against Florida, they would be locked into the tournament.

    But under the current system, a loss to Auburn probably shuts the door on a national championship. So that Auburn game undeniably has more significance in the current system.”

    That’s basically what happened last year with LSU – they lost their final regular season game and still got in to the MNC game. Alabama could lose to AU and beat FL, and still wind up #2 with a little help from the rest of the world.

    As noted by Greg above, there’s no way they sit players for the Auburn game. Do you think an Alabama head coach would last long taking that approach?

  12. Hackerdog

    I believe that those of you who believe that a coach would put a national championship in jeapordy in order to win a rivalry game are fooling yourselves.

    Under a tournament system, if UGA were #1 in the BCS, I would have no problems with Richt playing scrubs against Tech in order to be better prepared for a tournament.

    Look at basketball. UGA’s squad tied for the worst record in the SEC. But we got hot and won the tournament. And everything else is forgiven.

    Football would work the same way. Do you think LSU’s fans more pissed at the UK loss last year than they are about the national championship they won? Of course not.

  13. HVL Dawg

    No tournament. No seedings. No dance. No brackets.

    Play the season. Play a quality schedule. Beat the-ever-living-shit out of your opponets. Win your bowl game. Be the champion.

  14. Hackerdog

    Correction:
    Do you think LSU’s fans are more pissed about the UK loss last year than they are happy about the national championship they won? Of course not.

  15. uttles

    “Play the season. Play a quality schedule. Beat the-ever-living-shit out of your opponents. Win your bowl game. Be the Champion.”

    Auburn says hi.

  16. Boz

    UGA basketball is a terrible example because it was a conference championship – a weak one at that – and it had no bearing on the NC.

    Please help me understand how an 8 team playoff (consisting of conference Champs + 2 TBD) will allow a team with a losing record to get hot and win the tournament? Yes, a team from a weak conference could win, but would anyone argue that there was a better team if Cincinnati beat Alabama, then Texas Tech, then Florida to win the NC?

  17. Greg

    Hacker, I suppose people can just make up any excuse when they don’t want to do something, but saying “you don’t care about beating GT as long as we’re in the almighty playoffs” is just not a very well thought out argument. If you think that way, then you’re obviously entitled to your opinion, but I think you are in a very small minority.

  18. Hackerdog

    “UGA basketball is a terrible example because it was a conference championship – a weak one at that – and it had no bearing on the NC.”

    It is the perfect example because it’s a playoff. Granted it was a conference playoff, but it was a playoff. Mean to determine the best team. And the worst team won it. UT went 14-2 in the SEC last year. UGA went 4-12. But UGA is the champion. Whatever.

    Now I never said that an 8 team playoff would allow a bad team to win the championship. I only said that it won’t necessarily crown the best team. Unless you really believe that 4-12 UGA was the best basketball team in the SEC last year. You don’t, do you?

  19. Hackerdog

    Greg, I guess some pro-playoff people are completely capable of sticking their heads in the sand and ignoring basic reality and logic.

    If you can honestly say that you would rather beat Tech than win the national championship, then I submit that you are in a very small minority of UGA fans.

    And if you simply can’t admit that coaches that have locked up position in a playoff would rest players to get them as healthy and rested as possible for a playoff, just look at the NFL. It’s what happens and you can’t deny it.

  20. NM

    I think Bama would rest starters against AU. They’d still try to win, of course, but it wouldn’t have the urgency. Would the fans be pissed if they lost? Ask them Jan. 9th.

    Yes, LSU did get in last year after losing to Ark. Did a single person at the time expect that? Did Les Miles game-plan based on that? Of course not! Nobody thought Pitt would beat WVU, and if that doesn’t happen, Miles would still be ring-less.

    Boz — Yes, I would argue that. Given that TTU had beaten OkSt, Texas, and (let’s say) OU… and Florida had creamed LSU and Georgia and every other moving object… and Bama had done what it’s done, and so had Texas, and so on… Then yes, I *would* say that Cincy wasn’t the best team. They’d still have been blown out by UConn and lost to OU (which might have losses to both Texas and TTech). And Cincy’s slot in the playoff could easily and more deservedly have gone to UGA, Utah, Boise, Ohio St or Penn St, USC (if Ore St wins out), or the 3rd/4th place teams in the Big 12 South. So you *could* argue they were the best, but I’d disagree.

  21. Boz

    Hacker-
    Why are you talking about a conference championship when the discussion is about a National Championship? Who was the national champion in basketball? It certainly was not UGA and they were not a factor in the NCAA Basketball Tourney. And in NCAA Football, the regular season is the Conference playoff.

    NM-
    First, there is no way any conference would agree to a playoff without representation, if nothing else because of revenue sharing, so I believe that the teams you mentioned that more deserve a slot are SOL unless one could land a wild card slot. Just not going to happen. Second, who are you trying to crown champ, the team that is the best all season long or the one that is the best at the season’s end… Most sports reward the team that is the best at years end (bless the Patriots’ hearts), and if a team could run the gauntlet I mentioned above, they would deserve the crown, IMHO.

    Does March Madness crown the absolute best team in college basketball? Not necessarily, but its generally a pretty good representation… better than having the debate we had following last years football season.

  22. NM

    “there is no way any conference would agree to a playoff without representation” — absolutely right. In your scenario, you ask if we could dispute that Cincy was the best team in the country (“would anyone argue there was a better team”) and I’m saying it wouldn’t even be among the best 8 or 12. I think “settling it on the field” loses its luster when you’re almost assured that a top 5 team and several top 10 teams would not make the field, while a couple 15-25 ranked teams would.

    It’s not a big deal having auto-bids in the BCS, because a L’ville-Wake Orange Bowl is just an exhibition, not a championship-determining game. But if we give whatever team climbs out of the ACC mud pit this year a title shot, we do a disservice to the sport.

    As for rewarding the team that’s best at the END, that’s *exactly* the problem I have with a playoff. You can’t have it both ways — either it does that and massively devalues the regular season, or you keep an important regular season by rewarding the team that had the best one. I don’t really care who the champion of late December-early January is; I wanna know the champion of the season.

    I think other sports go quite wrong on this, actually — did the 83-81 Cardinals in 2006 deserve to be “champions” of anything? Did the 10-6 Giants last year really deserve to be the “champions” over the 16-0 Patriots, despite being 1-1 head to head? I mean, maybe we should adopt the Little League model and let every team make the playoffs, because hey, gotta finish strong, right?

  23. S.E. Dawg

    Anything to get rid of this BCS mess. Even if it takes a politician to do it.

  24. Macallanlover

    You “anti guys” really stretch to find some way to support your fear of the regular season being neutered. Fuhgetaboutit already, here’s why:

    1. This isn’t the NFL where we are talking 38% of the teams getting a spot. We are talking 6% here (and please, don’t use NCAA basketball…it is irrelevant to the discussion and obviously used to be a distraction only.)

    2. The top four teams would get a homefield advantage for the first round mid-December games in my scenario. That is a huge edge, a moneymaker, and a chance to have a playoff game before your “regular” fans in your own stadium. Plus, if Bama rested players against Auburn and lost, they could lose to Florida in the SECCG and fall below the Top 8 and miss the playoffs all together. Ain’t gonna happen because of the homefield edge alone, but it shows why you still cannot take a game off.

    3. How different is saving players for a NC opportunity in a few weeks than UGA playing GT the week before the SECCG? Did Richt hold anyone out of a non-conference game against Tech in 2002, or 2005? That game had no bearing on UGA’s chance to win a title and was just 7 days before a much more important game. I don’t think you would see Saban or Meyer do so either in their final game if they already clinched .

    4. Now maybe, just maybe, those strange folks up North might try to diminish the regular season if they had clinched a conference spot already. Let’s say Michigan had clinched the Big 11 before its game with Ohio State and rested a RB that had a sore hammy. I am not sure they would, but IF they did, does that one instance make your point? Do you really think an entire season of college football is lessened by that one instance? Even if it happened in two games, it is beyond weak guys. Thousands of meaningful games against the chance that 1-2 could (just maybe, but not every year) be played with less intensity does not make a decent case….even if you s t r e t c h extra far.

    Making the top eight is REALLY, REALLY, hard. You need to find another reason to be an obstructionist because the regular season of college football will still be part of the playoffs, and every game is still critical. Rivalries will not be undercut, or diminished.

  25. NM

    1. It’s not 6%, it’s more like 13%, assuming 7 of the 8 are among the 56 BCS league teams… the non-BCS teams are irrelevant except for the one token team. And if only 8 teams make it, even that one team is less likely — it only happened once in eight years under the 8-team BCS.

    3. The SEC is great and all, but winning that and losing to Yech would be bittersweet. National titles are a horse of a different breed. Do you think Fulmer or Carr held on as long as they did because of conference titles?

    4. I don’t think resting players is what most people mean by devaluing the regular season. I think games like Ohio St-Mich ’06, Pitt-WVU ’07 and Mizzou-OU ’07 are what we mean. I just looked up “Bush Push” on Wikipedia — did you know 30M people watched USC-ND ’05? Both those teams finished in the pre-bowl top 8. Would that many people have watched, or anyone still be talking about, that game if it happened under a playoff system?

    Quick, name 3 important NFL regular season games in the last 5 or 10 years that didn’t involve your team. I can think of just one: NE-NYG, last game of last year, because NE was going for an undefeated season. Seeing as how that happens once every 36 years or so, I would call that an exception proving the rule.

  26. Hackerdog

    NM-
    First, there is no way any conference would agree to a playoff without representation, if nothing else because of revenue sharing, so I believe that the teams you mentioned that more deserve a slot are SOL unless one could land a wild card slot. Just not going to happen. Second, who are you trying to crown champ, the team that is the best all season long or the one that is the best at the season’s end… Most sports reward the team that is the best at years end (bless the Patriots’ hearts), and if a team could run the gauntlet I mentioned above, they would deserve the crown, IMHO.

    Does March Madness crown the absolute best team in college basketball? Not necessarily, but its generally a pretty good representation… better than having the debate we had following last years football season.

    Boz,

    I’m talking about a tournament because you want to talk about a tournament. The fact that the SEC conference tournament illustrates everything that is bad about tournaments is simply inconvenient for you. But it doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t discuss it.

    And I agree with NM. I think that UGA was the best team in the country at the end of last season. But the national champion is supposed to be the team who had the best season, and then won the title game. Since UGA lost two games and didn’t win the SEC, there’s no way we can argue that we had the best (or second best) regular season. So I don’t really have a problem with not having a chance at winning the national championship.

    That’s the problem I have with the SEC tournament, or any other tournament. UGA should not have had a chance to win the SEC last year because we had the worst regular season. Now an eight team playoff in football wouldn’t include the worst team in the country, but it would include some teams who don’t deserve a chance at the title.

  27. Hackerdog

    You pro-playoff guys really need to find a way to support a playoff rather than ignoring all the negative aspects of playoffs from every other sport and insisting the a college football playoff would completely different. I’m not buying it.

    The fact is that playoffs devalue the regular season. That is a fact and it is inarguable. It has happened in every other sport. Saying that it wouldn’t in college football “just because” is not valid logic.

    Now, if you want to admit the facts and argue that it is better to crown the best team (within certain limitations) at the end of the year than to crown the team with the best season, then that’s a different debate. And it’s one that I still come down on the anti-playoff side. But at least it’s a more honest debate.

  28. Hackerdog

    Whoops. My post above addressing NM was quoted from a Boz post. I meant to delete it. Please ignore.

  29. ArchDawg

    re: Maccallenlover:

    1. The problem with this is that it will not stay at 6%. This will escalate exponentially to include at least 16/32 teams, even more. And therein lies why a playoff will devalue the regular season.

    3. An extended playoff series is different than a one-game championship and then a month of rest and practice. Plus, a loss in the game before a championship matters b/c it can affect your national/BCS standing even if you do win your conference. In a playoff system, if you’ve already clinched you’ve already clinched. There is no real reason to play to win, so to speak, in that scenario, with so much more at stake coming up in an extended playoff.

    4. Completely agree with NM here. There are several games around the landscape of college football that matter now because there is no post-season playoff. Look at this week. Utah v. BYU is one of the bigger games of the weekend because a BCS spot is on the line. Under an (8 team) playoff system this game would not matter because no non-BCS team would have a shot at that, at least until the system inevitably expanded.
    And before someone says that Utah v. BYU would still mean something under an expanded playoff so my point is moot, remember that an expanded playoff–which is inevitable if and/or when it happens–will be detrimental because that will IN FACT devalue the regular season tremendously. That is the crux as to why I am opposed to a playoff in the first place.

    Sorry that was kinda longwinded there. It may not come across clearly at all. But it’s all in there somewhere.