O tempora o mores!

Let me see if I’ve got this straight.  8-8 San Diego is in the NFL playoffs, while 11-5 New England isn’t.  Even better, that San Diego team gets to host a game against the 12-4 Indianapolis Colts.

Where’s the outrage, I ask you?  I mean, last year Illinois gets into the Rose Bowl and you’d have thought based on all of the pants wetting we saw that the Republic’s very fate hung in the balance.

Granted, I am exaggerating somewhat here.  But amidst all of the hyperbole, there’s a valid point that I’d love to hear all you playoff proponents address:  how is this “settling it on the field”?

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51 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

51 responses to “O tempora o mores!

  1. ugafish

    Its not perfect, but its better than guessing on who the top 2 teams are.

  2. Texas_Dawg

    “Its not perfect, but its better than guessing on who the top 2 teams are.”

    No, it’s really not.

  3. dean

    If that’s not a mockery of the system then I don’t know what is. Well played sir.

  4. Munson's Call

    AMEN! Do people even realize how screwed up the selection process is for the divisions that DO have playoffs is?

  5. The Realist

    Take the NFL playoff template and superimpose the college football conference system, and you have basically the same thing. Conference wieners that have no business in a playoff like Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, and Utah duking it out with Oklahoma, Florida, USC, and Penn State. Texas still gets left out. Alabama still gets left out. This solves nothing. Nothing, I say.

  6. ugafish

    “No, it’s really not.”

    So you would prefer to have the Super bowl next week after a vote between 2 of the Titans, Steelers, Colts, Panthers, Dolphins, and Giants? What a load of fun for the postseason. ONE meaningful game.

  7. ugafish

    “Take the NFL playoff template and superimpose the college football conference system, and you have basically the same thing. Conference wieners that have no business in a playoff like Virginia Tech, Cincinnati, and Utah duking it out with Oklahoma, Florida, USC, and Penn State. Texas still gets left out. Alabama still gets left out. This solves nothing. Nothing, I say.”

    Texas and Bama would be “wild card” teams using the NFL playoff template. Letting UF, OU, PSU, and USC alone battle it out solves a ton. A ton, I say.

  8. papadawg

    Exactly!

    Did the 2007 NFL Playoffs settle things on the field? They crowned a champion with a losing home record! Not counting the game at Wembley Stadium, the Giants were 3-7 at home. They got blown out by the freakin’ Vikings for Pete’s sake! And they are supposedly the best in the NFL?
    I don’t think so.

    If that is “settling it on the field” then I say No, thank you!

  9. keith

    I guess you all enjoy the politics and biases that settle the college football landscape yearly. A prime example of it was seen in the Heisman balloting in which Tebow was left COMPLETELY off of over 100 ballots by voters in the mid-west in order to ensure one of their boys(McCoy,Bradford) would win. Now, I don’t mind that Bradford won, but you can’t tell me that Tebow isn’t one of the top 3 players in the country.
    This are the same people that vote in the polls. Thats how our MNC is decided. Biases and politics. If that is the way you want it then you are in luck. Some of us prefer it to be decided on the field. If you are 8-8 and can beat a 12-4 team, then you deserve to move on.

  10. ArchDawg

    I don’t know Keith, one could argue for Graham Harrell of Michael Crabtree, in addition to Bradford and McCoy, taking up the three names on those ballots.

    As to the matter at hand, that’s why we should probably just go back to the old system–several big games (and good) games that would all have a say in the MNC, instead of just one.

  11. Texas_Dawg

    So you would prefer to have the Super bowl next week after a vote between 2 of the Titans, Steelers, Colts, Panthers, Dolphins, and Giants?

    I couldn’t care less. The NFL is extremely boring (largely because of its playoff system). I haven’t watched a full game in years.

    What a load of fun for the postseason. ONE meaningful game.

    Who needs a post-season? If it looks anything like the NFL’s… then no thanks.

  12. If the Patriots wanted to be in the playoffs they should have won their division. That would have “settled on the field” that issue. Every team controlled their own destiny. Tell me how that 2006 Boise State team controlled theirs. I’m not saying they would have been national champs but they will never have a chance under the current system. There are weak divisions and that goes with the territory. Nobody said playoffs were perfect. But they are not subjective.

    I actually thought it was great the Giants won last year. Most people anointed New England the champion (not “settling on the field”) before the playoffs. Through the existence of the playoffs the Giants regular season stayed meaningful (despite an awful home record). And the way they turned things around and stormed through the playoffs “settled on the field” IMO who the best team was. They don’t look too bad this year so I think they were legit. By the way, what was their road record? That almost sounds like our team.

  13. Senator, where are these CFB playoff proponents you speak of who propose a 12-team tournament in which eight of the slots are chosen by the winners of four-team “conferences”? The selection process for the NFL postseason is clearly insane, but the two sports are so different I can’t see how it’s analogous to any serious CFB playoff proposal (which are eight teams at the largest and usually have some sort of barrier to the likes of Va. Tech.). Just my two cents, but I think “college football can’t have a playoff because the NFL’s playoffs suck” is a bit of a red herring when the two systems would by necessity look so dramatically different.

  14. SCDawg

    NFL playoffs are not subjective based on the fact they have created the NFC and AFC, with divisions of each, from which playoff teams eminate. Then the winner of the AFC plays the winner of the NFC. Everyone knew the rules going on, so it is technically totally objective; flawed this year, but objective.

    If we have a playoff of any substance in CFB it will be subjective, not objective, because we don’t have the NFC and AFC, much less, East, West, North, or South Divisions within each. The only way to make a CFB playoff totally objective is to blow up the conferences and shift teams around, something that has been talked about, on this blog, I think. If we did that we could also shift conferences and schedules every year based on the previous schedule, even have a HS draft. We would only play FL, AU, or GT in some years. We could also rename CFB NFL Lite.

  15. Wolfman

    But if you think about it, divisions are similar to conferences, especially this year. Care to compare San Diego to Cincinnati, or Arizona to Va. Tech? Alabama and Texas Tech should clearly be in the BCS. If you propose then, Senator, that the NFL system is garbage, would you propose the eradication of the Conference Champion element of the BCS?

    But I guess if we’re talking BCS, we’re, in reality, talking just another bowl game. Cincinnati can’t win a national championship, but the Chargers can feasibly win a Super Bowl. Ugh. It always makes me sick when a team that won less than 12 games in the reg. season wins a Super Bowl.

  16. Jim

    Not to bash Tebow but the reason he was left off ballots was that 64 quarterbacks in NCAA had more yards passing than he did per game. He had around 43 yards rushing per game. If you were not able to watch what a great fullback he was on TV and only looked at stats you probably did not include him on the ballot. With these numbers, you have to wonder why he got as many votes as he did.

  17. Pat

    Hey PNWDawg,

    The 2007 Giants-Patriots matchup WAS ‘settled on the field’ in week 17 of the regular season and the Patriots won (in New York no less). Why did they have to ‘settle it on the field’ again? How many times must a matchup be ‘settled on the field’ before it is indisputable?

    Answer: there is no such number.

    People freak out over computers and votes, but actual matchups ‘on the field’ are as fluky as any rouge voter or head-scratchable computation. Everyone in the universe (computers included) says that Florida is a better team than Ole Miss, but a handful of players and coaches managed to screw that one up in September.

    This is SPORTS. There will never be certainty so just accept the chaos and enjoy the ride.

  18. stone cold dawg

    I would much rather have two NFL teams voted into a championship game. The rest of the teams, even those with .500 records, can play some Exhibition Games. We’ll call them Bowl Games. We’ll give them Corporate Sponsorships. We’ll have little parades. Yeah. That’s the ticket.

  19. keith

    Jim, I respectfully dissagree with your postion on Tebow. It isn’t about stats. He is a winner and a leader, bottom line. Like I said above, I have no problem with McCoy winning or Bradford for that matter, but I do have a problem with those voters leaving Tebow off their ballot. We all know why they left him off.

    The point is that voters are full of biases and the system reeks of politics and I for one don’t acknowledge the MNC or the system that runs it. It will change eventually, just when it will change is the question.

  20. Al-D

    actually the playoff for college everyone seems to want (at least in the media) is either an 8 or 16 team playoff based on conference champions… ugh just like the NFL where crappy ass teams who mailed it in for 3-6 games get a fair share at the table as the ones who played well almost every week. I love the NFL just as much as college, but they are different games, they really are. 48 person active gameday rosters in the NFL vs 80+ if the big college team is at home. The only way a playoff is ever fair in college is if they just do the top 8 teams or top 16, no conference affiliation, which will never happen. There is something you can do in the NFL that you can never do in college….. make every game worth the same win or lose. The differences in the best team in the NFL and the worst is about a dozen guys. There are whole rosters of guys who play major college ball at crappy schools who wouldnt even make the rosters at some of the biggest programs.

  21. “The 2007 Giants-Patriots matchup WAS ’settled on the field’ in week 17 of the regular season and the Patriots won (in New York no less). Why did they have to ’settle it on the field’ again?”

    If you want to be the champion you have to ‘settle it on the field’ and win when it counts. I’ll admit I still think the Patriots were better than the rest of the league. But they had complete control of whether or not they wanted to be the champions. I thought that UNLV basketball team that went undefeated up until the final four was far better than the rest of the competition. But Duke won the championship and I have no problem with that.

    “…but actual matchups ‘on the field’ are as fluky as any rouge voter or head-scratchable computation.”

    I have to disagree with this. Unless someone puts liquid heat in the opposition’s jock straps then I see no fluke. If your star player is hurt and you lose then you have to accept that’s part of the game.

    And as far as voting goes, maybe we should just go ahead and vote on who wins a game. For example, I think we had way more yardage than LSU when we played them down in Red Stick, LA in 2003. Should we vote on who won that game despite them having scored more points?

  22. Texas_Dawg

    Blutarsky,

    Check it.

    (If the CJ forum at the Rant isn’t in your regular blogs/sites rotation already, it should be.)

  23. john

    Keith,
    Weren’t Bradford and McCoy left off over 100 combined ballots?

    Your outrage is selective.

  24. ““When it counts”? For D-1 football, isn’t that the regular season?’”

    Tell that to the 2006 Boise State team, the 1994 Penn State team, and the 2004 Auburn team.

  25. Jim

    Keith,

    I agree we are all biased to some degree. You may be right on their motive. I live in Texas and out here they do not believe any of the SEC quarterbacks are that good although some give Stafford credit since he is from Dallas. Given their bias and the stats, they may voted as they truly believed. It does not change the fact that Tebow is the heart of the Gators and a very good leader and athlete. With regard to bias, I am still unhappy Hershel did not win his freshman year as he changed a 5-6 Team into a National Champion.

  26. The Realist

    1) Having a playoff and omitting conference champions of the major BCS conferences is laughable. That ain’t gonna happen no matter how many times people wish it so. Why would conference commissioners go from having their conference champions in guaranteed BCS bowls to possibly having them left out of the big bucks and spotlight of an 8-team playoff? Nope. Not happening.

    2) There are 6 current BCS conferences. One non-BCS qualifier mandated by Congress (if certain criteria are met), and Notre Dame is still skulking around. There may not always be room for a Texas or Alabama, and most likely not both (like this year or last) without expanding the darned thing to 16. If you do that, you’ll be hard-pressed not to allow the conference champion from all of the conferences including the WAC, MAC, Sun Belt, etc. in the playoff. Do we want Oklahoma playing Florida Atlantic in the first round?

    3) 1994 Penn State would have gotten its shot to play Nebraska to determine the national champion under the current system. The Rose Bowl’s non-participation in the Bowl Coalition ultimately led to the BCS. Send “thank you” letters accordingly.

    4) If 2006 Boise State is one of the two best examples of a team getting hosed, then the system we have works just fine, thanks.

  27. Macallanlover

    That isn’t just an exaggeration Senator, it is a “gross exaggeration”. Preposterous to to take an 8-8 team and use that as an example of what an eight team playoff would bring. Only the conference champions could possible have a “weak” record, and I don’t think I have seen a conference champion in the six BCS conferences have more than 4 in the modern era of CFB. So you conceivably have an 8-4 team occasionally, that would be worth it with another 8-12 teams shut totally up about being excluded. I will take my chance with those six spots, and if the smaller conferences want respect for the other two spots, let them schedule 4 games against programs who will prove their worth.

    But I will concede, we deserve the crap we are being fed if the above comments are representative of how fans feel. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it should be changed so I have to admit, this is surprising. I have yet to hear one point made against a playoff that makes any sense to me, not one. It doesn’t matter, I will not live to see one implemented but I would have liked to have been a part of improving it for future fans. There should be a national champion for the greatest sport of my lifetime, but there isn’t, and there never has been one. There is something wrong with a system where there the elite programs every year end up in the same place as the Middle TN’s, UABs, UNLVs, etc. but that is how it is. You can win your conference, but that is as far as you can go. I remember that in little league type programs and sandlot ball, but a sport where billions are invested in it shouldn’t end this way.

    • Preposterous to to take an 8-8 team and use that as an example of what an eight team playoff would bring.

      Whoa, whoa, whoa, hoss! Go back and read my post again. My point is a simple one – all of those people yammering about “proving it on the field” should be outraged by the NFL playoff field this year, but they’re not.

      There should be a national champion for the greatest sport of my lifetime, but there isn’t, and there never has been one.

      There is one. You simply don’t like the criteria used to determine it.

  28. Ben

    “Do we want Oklahoma playing Florida Atlantic in the first round?”

    Well, that is basiscally what happens in the first round of the NCAA B-Ball tourney. Duke, UNC, Kansas, Florida, etc. all play crappy 16, 15, and 14 seeds, year in and out. And sometimes they are good nailbiters, sometimes and more often, not. At least those teams get a chance to make history and knock off one of the big boys, and also get to enjoy the whole March Madness, even if it is only for a weekend. When the playoff does come around, and we all know it’s just a matter of time, it will consistently be the same teams we have now playing in the big games. All we are all arguing about is just which teams will be in and which teams out. But once the games get started, everyone will move on, and the CFB postseason will be enjoyed.

  29. Joshgator

    Jim
    December 29, 2008 at 11:38 am
    Not to bash Tebow but the reason he was left off ballots was that 64 quarterbacks in NCAA had more yards passing than he did per game. He had around 43 yards rushing per game.

    Jim….you left out three VERY critical pieces of data. 1) Tebow only played THREE full games and sat out the 4th quarter in some games, the 3rd and 4th quarter in others, and even part of the 2nd (as well as the 3rd and 4th) quarter in one game. Therefore, his stats are of course reduced due to reduced playing time.
    2) He got these stats against 8 of the top 39 defenses in the country, while Bradford, McCoy, and Harrell got their stats against sieve-like Big 12 defenses with only Texas being in the top 39 (at #23) and all other defenses in the Big 12 at #61 or worse.
    3) Last year, Tebow had better stats than this year, but he had to as UF lacked a running game (other than Tebow), had a young defense that was struggling, and Tebow had to shoulder a larger portion of the load than he did this year. However, watch the UF-Alabama game from a few weeks ago when UF was down 20-17. Tebow engineered 2 touchdown drives with a mix of passes (including a 35 yard deep beautifully thrown pass at the fingertips of his receiver who was the ONLY person on the field that had a chance at catching it..the defender had no chance at it) and bulldozing runs to keep the drives going to defeat the #1 ranked and #3 defense in the country!!!

  30. Realist, good catch on the ’94 Penn State team. The BCS would have gotten that one right. And I tend to agree that teams like Boise and Hawaii can’t compete with the traditional powers. I just have a problem with putting schools in a division (i.e. FBS) in which they have no shot of a title regardless of whether they go undefeated. Should we just create another division with the BCS conferences only and have playoffs there? We already exclude the non BCS schools from title contention as it is.

  31. The NFL really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really, really should stop giving credence to division champions. Let them into the playoffs if you must, but no automatic top-4 seeding, and no automatic home game. The Cardinals shouldn’t be hosting a game against anyone.

  32. Macallanlover

    Senator, no, there isn’t one. The governing body does not sanction, nor endorse it. There has never been an NCAA National Champion for Division 1. There is a BCS Champion which is a contrived system developed by the six BCS conferences and the networks to put additional revenues in the pockets of those six conferences.

    To show how much respect it has, ask USC who was the national champion in 2003. As a conference, and a school, they had agreed to be bound by the BCS system. Now they claim a national title they didn’t earn by their own words. Even the national media, ALL of them gives them a title that year. What is different than in the years before that when multiple schools claimed titles?

    You are right though, I don’t accept it, and neither should other CFB fans, imo. SEC title is still the most meaningful title in CFB that is earned. (And frankly, that wasn’t the case before the playoff game was added because all SEC schools did not play one another, or have a divisional representative and there were many shared titles.)

    I don’t have any feelings about the NFL, or what they do. I only watch the NFL when there are no college games on. My gut reaction though is 25% of the teams in the playoffs is too many. I feel that is why there is such paranoia about de-valuing the regular season. With 8 teams from 119 in CFB that just wouldn’t be an issue.

    • SEC title is still the most meaningful title in CFB that is earned.

      And yet, just like the BCS, that title is determined by a single game tournament between two schools who don’t play identical schedules. And the chances for disparate levels of talent between the two are greater in the SECCG than in the BCS title game, I’d argue.

      This may be mere semantics, but I think that a conference like the Pac-10, which has its members play a round robin schedule against every other school in the conference, has a title that’s as least as meaningful as the SEC’s.

  33. The Realist

    PNWDawg–

    Now, THAT is an different discussion entirely. I’m not against creating a Super Division. In fact, I think we should strongly consider creating such while we are making wholesale changes to the sport.

    And, finally, I see no value in having an “NCAA-sanctioned” national title. As governing bodies go, the NCAA ranks up there on the least credible list.

  34. keith

    This discussion hurts my head because I just can’t see a true college football fan believing in their heart that the system we have now is the best way to determine a champion. I can’t even argue with you Senator because it just doesn’t do any good. Those that compare the NFLs playoff system to a proposed CFB playoff shouldn’t be allowed to participate in a discussion about this issue. There are too many disparities. I just can’t fathom that a football fan can agree with a system that allows college coaches to vote on who plays in a (mythical)national championship game. There are so many things wrong with this picture that there is no place to begin.

    • One more time: read my post.

      I’m not arguing for or against a D-1 playoff here. I am pointing out the hypocrisy of playoff proponents who like to toss out a concept like “settling it on the field” without defining what that really means.

      I’m not comparing the NFL to D-1 other than to the extent of trying to understand why those who want the colleges to do all that field settling don’t seem to have much of a problem with the NFL excluding a clearly superior participant from its postseason field.

  35. Macallanlover

    Senator, I feel the current SEC title game does require it to be won on the field and each of the 12 teams controls their own destiny. I concede there are differences in schedule strength due to rotating teams in the other divisions, but since you play every team within your division annually, you get your chance to earn it. Arguably it isn’t perfect, but I don’t know of a legit complaint. A division win trumps a conference loss to teams that are not in your Division. Much better than before. (It is interesting to me that because the three Eastern powers have Alabama, Auburn, and LSU as their annual Western Division rival, things are pretty neutral. Imagine if one of the three had Miss State while the other two had the more powerful team. That would cause some bickering.)

  36. ugafish

    Exactly!

    Did the 2007 NFL Playoffs settle things on the field? They crowned a champion with a losing home record! Not counting the game at Wembley Stadium, the Giants were 3-7 at home. They got blown out by the freakin’ Vikings for Pete’s sake! And they are supposedly the best in the NFL?
    I don’t think so.

    If that is “settling it on the field” then I say No, thank you!”

    A CFB playoff wouldnt be as inclusive as a CFB playoff.

  37. ugafish

    So you would prefer to have the Super bowl next week after a vote between 2 of the Titans, Steelers, Colts, Panthers, Dolphins, and Giants?

    I couldn’t care less. The NFL is extremely boring (largely because of its playoff system). I haven’t watched a full game in years.

    What a load of fun for the postseason. ONE meaningful game.

    Who needs a post-season? If it looks anything like the NFL’s… then no thanks.”

    Its not about if you like the Super Bowl or not, its if you would like the best teams in the nation to play each other on the field to determine who the best teams are. UF, PSU, USC, OU, Texas, and Bama all deserve a shot ON THE FIELD, but they dont get one.

    A CFB playoff wouldnt look like the NFL’s. Every other sport has a playoff as well. HS FB, D-1AA FB.

    • A CFB playoff wouldnt look like the NFL’s. Every other sport has a playoff as well. HS FB, D-1AA FB.

      A CFB playoff wouldnt include any 6-6 teams.

      ‘fish, with all due respect, neither you nor anybody else right now can say with any degree of certainty how a D-1 football playoff would ultimately look.

      You’re right when you note that all other sports have playoffs, but you gloss over my big concern, which is that all other sports have expanded their playoffs from whatever original format was adopted.

      It may not be commonplace, but the fact is that teams with .500 or worse records appear in playoffs on a routine basis these days. What is it about D-1 football that would make it the exception?

  38. ugafish

    “If we have a playoff of any substance in CFB it will be subjective, not objective, because we don’t have the NFC and AFC, much less, East, West, North, or South Divisions within each.”

    It can be both subjective and objective. Win your conference, get an auto bid.

  39. ugafish

    “I would much rather have two NFL teams voted into a championship game. The rest of the teams, even those with .500 records, can play some Exhibition Games. We’ll call them Bowl Games. We’ll give them Corporate Sponsorships. We’ll have little parades. Yeah. That’s the ticket.”

    A CFB playoff wouldnt include any 6-6 teams.

  40. ugafish

    “The 2007 Giants-Patriots matchup WAS ’settled on the field’ in week 17 of the regular season and the Patriots won (in New York no less). Why did they have to ’settle it on the field’ again? How many times must a matchup be ’settled on the field’ before it is indisputable?

    Answer: there is no such number.

    People freak out over computers and votes, but actual matchups ‘on the field’ are as fluky as any rouge voter or head-scratchable computation. ”

    As least results on the field are absolute. Votes are heavily biased.

    Guess the 2007 scenario isnt all that different than SECCG rematches and the Texas/OU scenario this past season.

  41. ugafish

    “ctually the playoff for college everyone seems to want (at least in the media) is either an 8 or 16 team playoff based on conference champions… ugh just like the NFL where crappy ass teams who mailed it in for 3-6 games get a fair share at the table as the ones who played well almost every week.”

    Cant mail it in if you are fighting for a bye.

  42. ugafish

    “There is one. You simply don’t like the criteria used to determine it.”

    Its basically VOTED on. Its so stupid on so many levels. NOT one other sport does it that way.

  43. MJ

    I must have missed the NATIONAL high school football playoffs…

    but if one existed, I’m sure there would be some public discussion regarding why educational funds are being used for travel expenses.

    Oh, wait a minute… that discussion has already been held in the House Ways and Means Committee about college sports.

  44. Macallanlover

    ugafish, VERY prolific 12 minutes, I am impressed. Please send me a list of the supplements you are on.

    Senator, Tylenol PM.

  45. San Diego won their division.

    New England did not.

    That’s perfect. That’s why you have divisions. That is what makes division games extra exciting – they have that extra bit of relevance that makes them special.

    Otherwise, its just 16 same 0ld, same old games.