You were serious about that? – Follow up thoughts on the MWC proposal

After reading the comments here in response to my post and the posts from Dennis Dodd and Matt Hayes, who attended the Mountain West’s teleconference on its playoff proposal, I’ve got some more observations to add:

  • When you’ve got guys like Dodd and Hayes dismissing your plan before the teleconference is even over, it’s fair to say that you need to fine tune your sales pitch.
  • The whole proposal really is nothing more than an elaborate contraption to get the Mountain West a seat at the big boys’ table.  You want proof of how jiggered up this is?  Check out this point Hayes makes:  “Under the proposal, the Pac-10 and Big Ten wouldn’t automatically qualify for the playoff because they played only 19 games against automatic qualifying conferences the last two years. Of course, at the bottom of the proposal, in small print, is an addendum that would give the two leagues a free pass in just such an instance.” What a joke.
  • The nightmare scenario this proposal would generate isn’t very far fetched.  Consider this train wreck:  the final committee seedings show Boise State at #5, Notre Dame at #8 and the MWC champ at #16.  Who gets left out of the playoffs?  Not the MWC champ, partner.
  • That the Mountain West thinks it will be able to sell the game between #9 and #10 as a BCS game to the networks, the bowl that pays for it and the fans that will be asked to buy tickets is nothing short of delusional.  The game will be the college football equivalent of finishing second on Jeopardy, as in “tell them about the lovely parting gifts we have for them today…”, while the winner pockets fifty grand.

The Mountain West tries to couch the distribution of money to the BCS conferences from the postseason in terms of equability, but the reality is that it would expect equality.  And that’s probably the biggest joke of all here.  The conference has tried to justify its inclusion in the group by coming up with a metric about having a threshold winning percentage over a certain time period against automatically qualifying conference members that conveniently adds only the MWC to the BCS conference group, but how does it fare under some other yardsticks?

  • The MWC only had one school finish in the top fifty in Division I in attendance last season, BYU.  Here’s the breakdown in the other BCS conferences:  Big Ten, 8; SEC, 10; Big XII, 11; Pac-10, 7; ACC, 9; Big East 3.  Oh, and Notre Dame finished eleven spots ahead of BYU.
  • TV revenue tells a similar story.  It’s hard to dig up exact numbers, but let’s put it this way:  The MWC as a conference roughly split as much money in 2007 as each SEC school will begin receiving in 2009.
  • Sagarin’s lowest rated D-1 team in 2008 was North Texas at 171.  Counting up 100 slots from there, here’s how the weakest teams in the BCS conferences broke down:  Pac-10, 3; Big East, 2; Big Ten, 3; SEC, 1; Big XII, 3; ACC, 0.  The nine-member MWC had five.
  • Per Sagarin, the strongest strength of schedule in the MWC belonged to New Mexico, at #54.  Here’s the number of BCS conference schools that had better numbers than that, by conference:  SEC, 11; Pac-10, 9; Big XII, 11; Big Ten, 5; ACC, 12; Big East, 4.  That’s right – every ACC team boasted a better SOS number than any team in the MWC.

Not too hot, in other words.

The best thing that could happen out of this proposal would be if the idiots in Congress jumped on it and used it as a vehicle to pressure the BCS conferences, which in turn would use that as justification to reorganize along the lines of a group of super conferences (say, eight ten-team conferences) and in so doing scoop up the cream of the MWC to add to the mix.  I wonder what the president of effing San Diego State University (Sagarin #136, 83rd in attendance) would have to say about that.

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18 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

18 responses to “You were serious about that? – Follow up thoughts on the MWC proposal

  1. peacedog

    I tend to think 6×10 would be ideal (at the largest boundary), but that will probably be too difficult to work out.

  2. Agree Senator. With six you’d have the issue of ranking two teams that would get a bye and that in itself would be no different than the hair-splitting we do now to determine which one loss team is better than the other one loss team.

  3. cookinandsmilin

    I like the part about having “a winning percentage of at least .400 in games against the current automatic qualifying leagues over a two-year period.”

    I know “technically” that is stated correctly, but to me, it would be more proper to say “a LOSING percentage less than or equal to .600?”

    When read that way, how does it sound???

    By the way… Has anyone calculated these for all conferences? If so, how close is the MWC to the “bubble”??? I’m sure they have to be the small man, even on that totem that they just “made up”…

  4. CincoDawg

    The MWC just embarrassed themselves with this proposal

  5. cookinandsmilin

    I found some stats… Shocking, to say the least…

    Inter-Conference Regular Season Records Against AQ Conferences (2007-2008)

    Conference Record

    MWC 16-13 (.552)
    ACC 22-18 (.550)
    Big Ten 10-9 (.526)
    Pac-10 10-9 (.526)
    Big East 14-15 (.483)
    Big 12 12-14 (.462)
    SEC 13-16 (.448)
    WAC 6-28 (.176)
    MAC 11-57 (.162)
    Sun Belt 5-43 (.104)
    C-USA 4-44 (.083)

    Inter-Conference Regular Season and Postseason Records Against AQ Conferences (2005-2008)

    Conference Record

    Pac-10 32-20 (.615)
    SEC 43-36 (.544)
    Big East 36-38 (.486)
    Big 12 35-37 (.486)
    MWC 29-32 (.475)
    ACC 45-52 (.464)
    Big Ten 29-37 (.439)
    WAC 13-62 (.173)
    MAC 17-109 (.135)
    C-USA 11-92 (.107)
    Sun Belt 6-78 (.071)

    I need to reflect on these stats some more… What is driving these numbers??? They don’t seem to mesh well with the Sagarin stats the Senator pointed us toward… hmmmm….

  6. Paul

    “The conference has tried to justify its inclusion in the group by coming up with a metric about having a threshold winning percentage over a certain time period against automatically qualifying conference members that conveniently adds only the MWC to the BCS conference group,…”

    DING DING DING, we have a winner! This was the exact thought that ran through my head while reading the proposal.

    I’d like to see some further analysis on how well the MWC has held up to their standards on a longer basis. I just quickly glanced at the conference’s record against AQ’s in 2008. They were 9-5. That would put them at 7-8 in 2007, based on the proposal’s numbers.

    If they average 15 AQ games/year, which is reasonable from the proposal, they have to win 6 of them a year to stay at their .400 benchmark.

    2008 also includes UNLV going 2-0 [ASU/Iowa St] and Wyoming stealing one against Tennesee. I would think their average winning percentage is somewhere closer to the Ted Williams line.

    • As Doc Saturday pointed out,

      … the MWC’s bowl wins in question since 2004 are over UCLA (6-6), Pittsburgh (8-4), Iowa State (7-5), Georgia Tech (7-5), Oregon (7-6), UCLA (6-7) again and finally Alabama (11-2) — not exactly a murderer’s row until that last one.

      You’ve got to look closely at which schools the MWC’s been having success with. I suspect that it’s going to be a pretty obvious breakdown – the top three have done most of the winning and the bottom five have done most of the losing.

  7. Ben

    If everyone really wants some fun reading, head to the highlight Senator used about the SDSU President….read some of the comments on the ESPN page. Holy S*** what douchebags.

  8. kckd

    Aside from the MWC getting an automatic bid, it looks alot better than the current way.

    I’ve thought you’ve said in the past that you thought a four or eight team playoff was good as long as it doesn’t mulitply.

    I sorta thought you were full of it then though as I do now.

    • Aside from the MWC getting an automatic bid, it looks alot better than the current way.

      I’ve thought you’ve said in the past that you thought a four or eight team playoff was good as long as it doesn’t mulitply.

      I sorta thought you were full of it then though as I do now.

      Weak, weak stuff, man. If you’re trying to bait me, you’ll need to do better than that.

      But while we’re on the subject, help me out with something. You’ve carefully studied the MWC proposal, so I’m sure you’ve realized that if it were adopted, in a year with two undefeated Big Ten teams and an undefeated Notre Dame, one of those three would be left out of the playoffs entirely. As “Auburn 2004 – Never Again!” was your battle cry for playoffs, are you saying the MWC’s proposal is alot better than what we have now because it’s not the SEC getting screwed, or has your agenda changed?

      Maybe I should start calling you “Bracket Boy”. :)

  9. Paul

    kckd – I’m not a playoff proponent by any stretch, but I can’t see how this is any better than the current way or any other 8-team proposal.

    The MWC proposal creates a system where only 1 “at-large” bid is allowed into the tournament. Don’t pay attention to the #9/10 game since the winner doesn’t advance.

    Theoretically, the BCS has 2 spots to fill. In practice most years, the top teams are politicking for the last spot.

    It’s the same situation: Teams who feel slighted will vie for one spot. Instead of numerous pollsters, they now only have to convince 12 people who may or may not have league loyalties to overcome.

    So much for the objectivity in a playoff.

  10. kckd

    The Big 10 or Notre Dame could fix that problem. If they choose not to, that’s up to them.

    • That’s like saying Auburn could have fixed its problem in ’04 by playing a tougher non-conference schedule.

      Besides, Notre Dame doesn’t have to do anything – it’s guaranteed the status quo under the MWC proposal.

  11. kckd

    Any conference who still has the possibility of having multiple teams undefeated, gets what it gets.

    Pac 10 found a way to fix it. Big 10 could to if they wanted.

    I have no sympathy.

    • I have no sympathy.

      I didn’t expect you to. I simply expected some consistency.

      My scenario is problematic because the MWC, in its infinite wisdom to offend as few of the powers-that-be as possible, has done nothing more than create a playoff structure that is unstable. And the only way they’ll find to fix the problems that it will have created with this would be through further postseason expansion. Since you think the MWC proposal is an improvement over the status quo (other than the MWC guaranteeing itself a BCS game), I can only presume that you’re on board with something bigger than an eight-team playoff.

      I’m not.

  12. kckd

    And it’s not like saying Auburn should have played a tougher schedule. You can try all you want, that’s the lamest argument in the books. That schedule would not change the fact of where they started in the polls compared to OU and USC.

    • That schedule would not change the fact of where they started in the polls compared to OU and USC.

      I thought you said that the preseason polls didn’t make any difference over the long haul. Now they do? Hmmm…

      As for your premise that the schedule didn’t make a difference, keep in mind that Auburn dropped in the polls after winning its home opener against Louisiana-Monroe. A game against a more nationally prominent opponent wouldn’t have had that effect, IMO.