Post title game BCS roundup

I thought everybody was done slagging/commenting on the BCS until March Madness rolled around, but here are a few stragglers worth mentioning:

  • I guess if you can ignore the regular season, there’s nothing for a playoff to devalue.
  • A commentator from Utah goes there“Polls show a large majority of college football fans want a playoff system, but can fans expect ESPN to be anything other than a cheerleader for the biggest roadblock to a playoff when it’s in bed … er, uh, in business with BCS?” If things ever broke that way, ESPN would be in there bidding on a D-1 football playoff so fast it would make your head spin, bubba.  The only thing the WWL would be fighting to preserve would be the profitability of the minor bowls it broadcasts.
  • Joe Posnanski thinks the fans are the only ones jonesing for a playoff.  If that’s the case, what is it about a playoff that’s so attractive to us?  More specifically, what kind of playoff format do we really like?
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44 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

44 responses to “Post title game BCS roundup

  1. Toom

    So … in the never-ending discussion of playoff vs. bowls, it seems a fundamental issue with the playoff idea is that there isn’t one clear, compelling model and since we won’t be able to arrive at a consensus, we should stick with the bowl system.

    I’ll use this analagy. I know I need a new car because the old one is a piece of crap. I can’t decide on which car to buy because I don’t know which is the best choice. I stick with the old car.

    • Almost, You can’t decide on which car to buy because you can’t decide on which car is better than the old car.
      I think many are afraid of getting something that is worse than the BCS.

    • Castleberry

      I’m not sure I like the analogy. Maybe if you were shopping for another used car that had issues of its own. You’re sticking with the devil you know.

    • Nice straw man.

      I’m simply curious what fans want in a college football playoff format. The opposition to a playoff that Posnanski cites has nothing to do with that.

      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        The “Plus-One” game (essentially a 4 team playoff) solves most of the problem, keeps the bowls in place and does not devalue the regular season. It is the only compromise solution that realistically is do-able in the current climate.

      • Toom

        I like 8. I guess that is simple enough. But I understand those who fear the ‘inevitable expansion’ that would come behind it.

        • Joe

          And how you pick the 8. You would assume that conference champions would be a requirement. That would include UConn being involved in an “elite” tournament. The disparity from one conference to another is too great for all conference champs to get in. A “super-conference” model would be neccesary for anything beyond a plus-one. Even then, a plus one would probably be the answer (four 16-team conference champs competing).

  2. Paul

    OT, but I’ve had a thought that has nagged me since the title game and the Dyer-not-down run to seal the game. If an Oregon player knocked the shit out of him during the second that Dyer was just standing around, I have the suspicion that an unsportsmanlike flag would have flown. Conversely, if he was ruled down and a defensive player tackled him because he thought he may not be down and didn’t hear the whistle, you can be sure he would be labeled a “thug” and “dirty” a la Fairley.

    Neither here nor there because they didn’t tackle him and Dyer wasn’t down, but just curious as to everyone’s thoughts.

    • Regular Guy

      On the first point, no, if none of the referees had blown the whistle, then they wouldn’t/couldn’t have thrown a flag for somebody coming in and hitting him, unless of course it was a helmet-to-helmet hit or something like that. But as long as it was a clean hit, no matter how hard the hit, I can’t see any scenario in which a flag would have flown since the play was still live.

      On the second point though, yeah, I can see how that could happen.

      • Gravidy

        I disagree with your first paragraph, Regular Guy. I remember a play when UGA tacklers had bottled up an opposing running back to a near stalemate, but the whistle hadn’t blown. Then Reshad Jones (who had his arms around the runner’s waist) picked the guy up and slammed him to the turf….and the whistle STILL hadn’t blown. Then one of the zebras blew his whistle and threw his flag simultaneously. He was flagged for a 15 yard personal foul simply because he was Reshad Jones. And then the announcers piled on saying how there was ‘no place in the game for that sort of behavior’…you know, because he was Reshad Jones.

        Does anyone remember that play and what game it was in? I’m drawing a blank.

        • X-Dawg

          Did this happen just once? Seems like it (or close enough) happened multiple times over Reshad’s career.

          • Gravidy

            Well, in my opinion, Jones got a several personal foul calls for late hits that were questionable. But I don’t remember any others that were of this specific type, which I think contradicted Regular Guy’s point about refs not throwing a flag for a late hit in instances where the action has stopped but no whistle has blown.

        • BMan

          Man, I’m struggling to remember the few times Reshad Jones wrapped his arms around anyone. He was usually the shoulder-bump-and-push tackler.

        • Beelzebubba

          That was in the Okalhoma State game at OSU. Reshad was flagged and one of their linebackers sidewalk slammed our fullback about 10 minutes later and was NOT flagged.

    • Castleberry

      I agree. You don’t know whether or not they wouuld have thrown it, but in general the defender cannot win. The officials don’t always blow the whistle right away. I’ve definitely seen guys get flagged for late hits that were after the guy was down but before the whistle.

      • Macallanlover

        That is the way I see it as well. I don’t know why the whistle had not blown in that case either, had the defender pulled Dyer backwards 2-3 yards you can bet the spot would have been where Dyer’s forward progress was at that moment. Either he had stopped going forward due to defensive effort or not, the offense should not get it both ways….but they do.

        Same thing happens on the sideline, the defender gets flagged for momentum launched to prevent the runner from making additional yardage. If the runner steps out, it is flagged for a hit out of bounds even though the commitment of the runner was unknown at the time of the decision. Offense gets the advantage in both situations. These two situations need to be addressed, especially the one on the boundary which occurs every game.

  3. NolaDawg

    I somewhat agree with toom, but my bigger concern is the inevitable evolution of the playoff. While some may complain about the ever increasing number of bowls, those do veery little harm. As the senator has elucidated several times, an expanding playoff can degrade the regular season.

    I think the demand for a playoff simply comes from a desire to see more college football from the top teams. Id love to be still watching football, and while a lot of the arguments make sense, I think a lot are merely justifications for wanting more football.

    • Toom

      8 is the right number in my mind and from there, an evolution to 16 might be “inevitable” and bothersome but mildly so when you consider the BCS. Shoot, based on widespread bowl apathy this season, the market may soon decide for us.

      • Biggus Rickus

        I much prefer the BCS to a 16-team playoff. I probably prefer to an 8-team playoff for that matter. Anything beyond 4 and I’d rather just stick with the 2-team playoff we have now.

        • Mike

          Really? The college world series and March madness are great fun and afterwards we have a true champion! Surely with all the bowls there are we can use them for a playoff system. That way we keep the bowls and instead of two 6 and 6 teams playing and enduring fan apathy we get to watch and go to games that mean something. Plus the deciding game won’t match two teams that have not played in thirty seven days!

          • Joe

            Because all other sports in pro and college use a playoff many people use the term “true champion.” In reality what you are describing is a “tournament champion.” I suppose a “true champion” would probably involve a 118(or maybe 119, I can’t remember how many FBS programs are currently out there) game schedule and whomever emerges with the best record would be the champion. Obviously a “true champion” will not be determined. I choose a BCS “poll champion” to a “tournament champion.”

  4. hassan

    I think there should be some litmus test to determine if someone is a “real fan” or not before weighing in on this issue.

    I catch a half dozen English Premier League matches a season and check in now and then on how Arsenal is doing, but if I miss a few matches I don’t lose sleep. It would be asinine for me to argue with the devoted fans how that league should be run.

    These folks that only watch a handful of bowl games a season shouldn’t be allowed comment. They only like March Madness because from start to finish it’s like a mini season for them. 80% of the office pools are filled out by people who watched very few regular season games.

  5. Macallanlover

    Co-champs TCU could argue their regular season was totally devalued, as AU did in 2004, Boise last year…. On the other hand, a limited, yet more inclusive, playoff would actually ADD value to the season by giving meaning to beyond just conference championships. Devaluation of the season in a field this large only occurs above 8-12 range (less than 10% percent), methinks!

    • HackerDog

      TCU did have an impressive season. Just not as impressive as Oregon or Auburn. Because of the premium placed on the regular season, only the two teams with the most impressive regular seasons get to the title game. Expanding that pool is the definition of devaluing the regular season. You can argue that expanding it a little only devalues the regular season a little. But there’s no argument that expanding the playoff actually adds value to the regular season. The Seattle Seahawks would beg to differ.

      • Macallanlover

        I beg to differ. A playoff of limited inclusion (more than two, my preference is 8 ) would absolutely increase the value of the regular season. If teams truly had something to play for, beyond conference titles, that didn’t require winning a “political lottery”,you would see a tremendous increase in enthusiasm. While a significant percentage of posters here are anti-playoff, the overwhelming majority of CFB fans want a playoff. If you can give them a clearly defined method of inclusion, with minimal reliance on polls, you can bet winning the conference championship to earn a slot, or being ranked in the Top 10 at year’s end for the single Wildcard slotwould take CFB to another level. Currently, there are no guarantees regardless of what you do.

        The BCS is better than the old system in getting non-traditional pairings, but it is widely regarded as a joke. So the one system that has a chance to provide a legit NC is a laughingstock, and the one positive people can say is it is an improvement in pairing teams in a game versus a system that precluded those match-ups. Wow! Is that the best we can do? Methinks not.

        I have heard all the “devalue arguments” about the regular season. I think the exact opposite is true if the spots were kept proportionate to a standard of excellence. Bottomline, when you exclude legitimate contenders you leave room for a lot of criticsm. Why not include just a select few and take it up a notch? Winning those conference games would become even more important. With eight participants, and only four home stadiums for the 1st round doesn’t allow ANY chance of lack of effort from a single contender…..none.

        • Macallanlover

          How did that yeller thang get into my post? Spooky. Couldn’t have been me, I don’t know how to do that.

        • Hackerdog

          Devalue. You keep using that word. I do not think it means what you think it means.

          If you want to define value of the regular season as having a chance at the national championship, then you have jumped the rail from anything that has been argued here. But along those lines, I agree. This season, Florida International had no chance, at any point, at a national championship. With a playoff of 16 teams, they’re in the mix. So by your definition of “value,” their season has become more valuable. By my definition, and everyone else’s, the value of their regular season games (FIU lost 6 of them) becomes much less significant.

          That’s what devaluing the regular season means. Not that we might be able to devise a system to increase attendance or ratings, but that that system would probably result in regular season games that don’t matter. And you have to admit that games that decide admission to a playoff are much more valuable than games to decide seeding once a team is assured of entrance to that playoff.

          You may not like the BCS, but you can’t argue that Oregon and Auburn did not have the two best regular seasons this year.

          And your final argument of an 8-team playoff not allowing any games off is obviously fallacious. An 8-team playoff allows for the 6 BCS conference champions to be admitted. If a team locks up its conference, or its division, early, then it is free to rest starters and sacrifice games for the purpose of playing well in the playoff. Look to the NFL for examples.

          • Macallanlover

            I know people use the NFL example Hack, but it simply isn’t applicable to this discussion. With 8 teams (I would not give more than 5, perhaps four, AQ spots), and the top raated four getting to host the 1st round at their home stadiums, there simply isn’t a chance the teams take a week off. Loss, or unimpressive performance, with others winning in championship games is going to cost them a ton of revenue….and the edge. As to why teams don’t take the week off in CFB at the end: did SC back off of Clemson? Auburn against Bama (slightly different)? FSU against UF? UGA in 2002 0r 2005 against GT? Appreciate your not buying the concept, but that is a true apples and oranges. Not just the rivalry game point, but the exclusiveness of the club. NFL, NHL, NCAA BB, NBA, etc., but way too many teams in the mix. My size playoff recommendation prevents what we saw in the NFL last year.

            • With 8 teams (I would not give more than 5, perhaps four, AQ spots)…

              That makes your proposal DOA, Mac. The Big Six aren’t going to volunteer to give up AQ slots.

              • Macallanlover

                Yeah, I really didn’t think they would but the BE was so pathetic this season that the time is right for discussion about them losing out. I never thought voluntarily. As you know I have called for the 6 BCS conferences, a play-in between the two highest rated non-AQ the 1st weel of December for the 7th spot, and a wildcard entry for the highest rated team that doesn’t have one of the other 7 spots. Just got greedy wanting to ditch the Big East winner.

            • Hackerdog

              The fact is that you can’t pick and choose your examples. You want a playoff, like the NFL, FCS, and college basketball have. But you insist that none of the drawbacks of those systems would be possible in FBS. That’s the definition of naive. If you copy a system, you get the pros and the cons.

              In every playoff system, teams treat the postseason as more important than the regular season. You can’t wish that fact away. In the current system, you have to be one of the top 2 teams in the country. That means there’s very little margin for error. If you double the field to 4 teams, you have increased the margin for error. If you quadruple it to 8 teams, you have increased the margin for error again. If you go all the way to 16 teams, then 6-6 FIU gets in. I don’t think margin for error is the correct term for a 6-loss team having a shot at the MNC.

              As for why teams currently don’t take a game off at the end of the year, why would they? Teams that aren’t playing for a championship play for pride. But if you think that coaches, players, fans, and everybody else wouldn’t put championships ahead of pride, you’re deluded.

              • Macallanlover

                Deluded? So UGA would/should have laid down against GT? The championship game was the very next week. No player was withheld. Even GT played all their players against UGA in 2009 with their championship game seven days later. If GT can get it, I am pretty confident anyone would. Four home field spots from a 120 team field and you think they would slack off. That is a much better case for delusion. Think about it. The final game would be mid-January, no room for slippage….none. And you think players are going to be held out in November? Sorry, I am not the one off base here. Those are precious spots, unlike the NFL, very rare. I am not a fan of the NFL, or FCS, playoffs; just respect they decide a winner on the field. I do not support a 16 team playoff for D1. It is just too unwieldly and would not work schedule wise, or logistically.

                • HackerDog

                  Perhaps you’re not deluded. Perhaps you’re just not familiar with playoffs. If you think that a coach, after securing a playoff berth, wouldn’t rest players in order to have those players ready for the playoffs, it seems that you are one or the other.

                  Look around in the real world for numerous examples of this. That’s what carries weight with me. Your insistence that, despite actual examples of teams positioning themselves for the playoffs at the expense of the regular season, that could not happen in your perfect, imaginary, FBS playoff world carries no weight.

                  • Macallanlover

                    I just gave you several examples of coaches doing exactly that, in the real world, not in our speculative discussion. Believe as you wish, facts say otherwise.

                    Doesn’t really matter. Short of a four SuperConference set-up the status quo will deny the majority of fans their wishes. Conference titles are great, but there are workable solutions that would work better by lifting the value of both the regular season, and the post season.

                    • HackerDog

                      How can you give examples of how FBS coaches have behaved in a playoff system when we don’t have a playoff system? For actual examples of teams treating playoff games as more important than regular season games, you have to look at sports that have playoffs. I thought that was obvious.

                      As for playoffs increasing the value of the regular season, I think you’re just back to your own definition of “value.” By the commonly used definition of “value,” playoffs (especially expanded playoffs) necessarily diminish the value of regular season games.

                    • Macallanlover

                      Because you said “teams that aren’t playing for championships play for pride”. That infers teams that are would rest players. SC had a championship to play for seven days after Clemson. The SECCG was undoubtedly the most significant game in that program’s history. Spurrier played all out. So did PJ in 2009 against UGA. As did FSU against UF. and UGA against GT. And on, and on. In fact, I cannot think of an example where it doesn’t hold true in college. Plus, your argument ignores the value of the four home-field slots that no team in the nation could afford to risk.

                      There may not be a playoff system in effect but I don’t think it is logical to not recognize the existing behavior as relevant. All of those involve champioships to be earned. National or Conference, it is the highest honor available. And, those conference championships mentioned are just 7 days away, not weeks where injuries could have time to heal. Clearly no one can predict 100% what could happen, but the best source of predictive behavior is solidly on my side. The NFL is a misrepresentation of what would happen in CFB, imo.

                    • Hackerdog

                      Obviously, behavior can vary by coach. Bill Belichick chose not to rest players when he had secured home field advantage in order to try to go undefeated. Tony Dungy faced the same situation and chose to rest players because the games that really count are playoff games.

                      You can’t look at these two examples and conclude that college coaches would all fall into the Belichick camp rather than the Dungy camp. Some would fall into each camp. But the important fact is that the Dungy camp is completely justified because the value of regular season games is much less than the value of playoff games.

                      As for 4 teams having home field advantage, which means that 100% effort is guaranteed, forevermore, you’re just assuming. I have looked at playoff systems in several sports, including college football, and seen regular seasons with diminished value in every case. You may be absolutely sure that FBS football would be the one sport that bucks the trend, but you’ve given no evidence to support that argument.

                    • Macallanlover

                      Naturally there can be no evidence of what has never existed, for either position. We are unlikely to ever agree but I am surprised you assign more value to what happens in a different sport (NFL), where playoff positions, including home field advantage, can be locked in, where 30% of the teams qualify for a playoff spot, and where the games at the end of the season are not even “set” opponents.

                      I am very confident the better evidence is how all coaches in CFB have played the games in similar situations, where only 6 percent qualify for the playoffs and just 3% get home games in the first round, and where the final weekend is characterized as “rivalry weekend”. Sorry, but respectfully I just don’t even see that as a close argument. I hope one day I get to prove how reliable an indicator those factors are. Sadly, I am afraid we will never know.

  6. econdawg

    How about SEC champ vs ACC champ in Sugar, Pac 10/12 champ vs Big 10/12 champ in Rose, Big 12/10 champ vs. Big East champ in Orange, and two other at-large teams play in Fiesta. Winners play seeded 4-team playoff. Other teams go to bowls as today.

    • sUGArdaddy

      econdawg, it’s not that easy. Those would end up being completely empty stadiums over time, just like the early round March Madness games are. Do you really think that fans will travel to Tempe one week, Dallas the next and Pasadena the next? Does 8-4 UConn really get a neutral site game against a 10-2 or 11-1 team? That system would KILL the regular season.

      The bottom line is that any playoff that has more teams then are deserving of playing for the championship devalues the regular season. And, any playoff that awards champions of weaker conferences/divisions, awards mediocrity over excellence. There are rarely ever more than 4 teams that are deserving of playing for the national title. Then, do you just take the top 4 in the BCS and give #1 & #2 home field advantage in the semis? So, let me get this straight, Oregon might have to beat Stanford again in the finals? Just doesn’t seem right.

      That’s why I’ll stick w/ the BCS. I just don’t think they can get it right. Any of those scenarious would severely alter the regular season. If a team doesn’t have homefield to play for, or winning a conference championship becomes less important…it changes everything. Do you think Carolina fans care that Roy Williams sat Ty Lawson in 2009 during the ACC tourney while watching Duke win another ACC tourney title? Nope, because he got healthy and dominated the NCAA tourney and no one came w/in single digits of Carolina while they hung another banner. Would you be okay if Richt sat our banged up QB or Running Back against Tech after we had the East locked up and were playing the next week for a spot in the tourney? In the current system, every game, conference and non-conference matters. And TCU can gripe all they want, but they game really close in the current system. All Bama had to do was hold on and they’re in.

      I’ve always said if we could make the presidents and ADs sign in blood that it will be this till the end of time I’d be okay:

      -Every conference has a conference championship game (that way there’s not co-champions/ties)
      -Use the BCS formula
      -Take the top 4 conference champions
      -1 & 2 get home field advantage
      -Use the double host site. Losers of the semi’s go to the Jan. 1 version of the host site for #3 (hey, it’s better than #4!)
      -Winners play in the Jan 8-10 champ. game at host site

      This year?
      Wisconsin @ Auburn
      TCU @ Oregon

      Semi’s would always be sell-outs and be a boon to the local economies and reward excellence (i.e. undefeated seasons in power conferences). Losers aren’t shut out of a bowl entirely while 7-5 teams enjoy a week in Tampa.

      That’s my system, but I don’t think the powers that be are thinking about it with all that in mind. Which is why I’ll stick w/ what we’ve got.

  7. Connor

    I think the numbers for a playoff and against the BCS often get confused. No doubt most people against the BCS want a playoff, but it’s not an ideological block. That alone is going to keep anything from happening. Most people I talk to don’t want the 16 team version with FIU and UCF in and Bama or Boise out, even if they hate the BCS. I’d be interested to see a poll that asked people to pick their ideal post-season option from a range of 5 or 6, including the old Bowl system, the BCS, a plus 1, a 4 team, an 8 team, a 12 team, a 16 team… would be interesting.

  8. Dante

    Regarding the first article: “It was well received, the ratings the highest in the history of cable television.”

    What sort of company is it keeping? Does anyone have like a top 10 list or something?

  9. Anonymous

    A 16 or 8 game playoff may sound great, but the non-AQ schools aren’t going to vote for one unless those conferences get access. When that happens fans will see a playoff with 1 SEC team, 1 PAC 10 team, 1 C-USA team, 1 Sun Belt Conference team, etc.

    Fans who are licking their chops at watching Stanford v Ohio State, Auburn v Oklahoma, Arkansas v TCU, Oregon v Wisconsin in elimination tournament games will be sorely disappointed with the MAC v Mt West, and C-USA v Big East matchup while the other 7 SEC teams that they want to see are at home or playing in Shreveport with 9-3 records.

    Those same fans will wounder why their favorite SEC team’s revenues go down. Instead of the SEC getting half of 2 BCS bowl payouts and half of all of its other bowl payouts the conference will get an equal share of playoff revenue with all other conferences.

    If the fans who advocate for a playoff know what they will get, and it won’t be the teams they think they will see play “games that count,” and they still wish to pay to travel to Miami to see the MAC champ play the Big 12 champ in a quarterfinal, then fine with me.