Some Cinderellas are more equal than others.

While this whole NYT piece is a marvel to behold, this paragraph is the most awesome of all:

Andy Glockner of SI.com and Jeff Goodman of CBS Sports are not fans of what Glockner terms the “small conference entertainment complex.” They argue that sending a team that wins a tournament rather than an entire regular season isn’t necessarily fair and that a worse team is more likely to emerge from a tournament rather than a regular season.  [Emphasis added.]

Well, yeah.  But brackets are fun!

Honestly, I don’t know how these people keep their stories straight.

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35 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

35 responses to “Some Cinderellas are more equal than others.

  1. BGD

    They’re right. It should be the regular season champion. Conference tournaments are a sideshow.

    I do believe that every single conference, no matter how prominent, should have its champion represent it in the tournament. But it ought to be the team that won it over several months, not a weekend hot streak.

    I could even go for a best two out of three series format to replace the conference tourney, taking the top two teams and having all of the games be at the home of the top seed, something like that. But putting it all on the tournament is just stupid, always has been.

    • And how is that any different from what people like me say about how an extended playoff in football will diminish its regular season?

      • Hackerdog

        Man, Senator, you just haven’t been paying attention. College basketball is entirely different than college football. For one thing, the balls are shaped differently. Basketball is played indoors on a court. Football is played outdoors on a field. Need I go on?

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        Because the “small-mind sports writers entertainment complex” is Goldilocks. Football isn’t enough. Basketball is too much. They don’t know what just right looks like. They just know they get more hits when they whine.

        • Heathbar09

          “They don’t know what just right looks like. They just know they get more hits when they whine.”

          Bingo.

          They had it right with MLB. Play 162 games. The winner of each division played each other. And those winners went to the World Series. Then, we needed a Wild Card! Woohoo! And now, we need a Wild Wild Card! What the hell is the point of having the longest regular season in sports if 1/3 of the teams make it to the postseason?

          My guess, is that change generates interest in our society. People are so simple minded, that they get bored with something easily, even if it’s the best possible scenario. Everyone thinks the grass in greener in this glass half-empty society.

          • “Play 162 games. The winner of each LEAGUE plays the other.”

            Seriously: kill inter-league and get rid of playoffs. 162 tells you all you need to know.

            And while we’re at it, can we move the Astros back to the NL please?

      • Just Chuck (the other one)

        And, if the regular season champion gets the bid there is less incentive for a conference to have a tournament, little incentive for fans to buy tickets to a tournament, and, especially for the larger conferences, no incentive for teams to take the conference tournament seriously. Think that probably happens already for teams who know they’re in regardless fo their performance in the conference tournament.

      • PTC DAWG

        Well Duh….

        IF you included every team, odds are you will get a different champion..

        Why even have a MNC game? #1 in the regular season might be beaten.we certainly can’t have the “perceived #1″ go down in flames…..

        Some shy from competition..that is what PLAYOFFS are all about. It brings out the best of teams, or the worst..

        Just like the Bama/UGA game, that was a seminifinal game….UGA/UF was a quarter final game….

        Under the newer scenario, ND would have had to play at least a semifinal game, and thus they would have been culled….

        • Heathbar09

          Then why even have the regular season? Let’s just start the season where everyone is in a bracket and he’ll see who the “true” champion is.

          I disagree about playoffs bringing out the best or worst of teams. The regular season does that better than the playoffs. You can better determine how good/bad a team is by 12 games better than you can by 1.

          I think people need to realize that the regular season is a playoff, just not in bracket form.

          • PTC DAWG

            Well than we do not even need the MNC game we have now. Just vote on it, kind of like we do now and how figure skating does it.

        • “Just like the Bama/UGA game, that was a seminifinal game….UGA/UF was a quarter final game….”
          The examples that shoot holes all through that theory are countless. See Bama/LSU in 2011, FSU/Miami in 2001, Colorado/Nebraska in 2002, and on and on and on.

      • How far do you extend it? And does a 2 team tourney not diminish the regular season as well? When the field is that small, and the resumes so conflicting where you have to weigh one teams’ loss and the timing of it vs another’s (Miami beating FSU, but having them make the Orange Bowl Heupel and Stoops won, Nebraska losing to Colorado and not being in the Big 12 big game when they made it in 02, the clustermonkey that was 2007, weighing Bama’s loss to LSU over Okie St’s loss to Iowa St two years ago, etc).

        I agree, a 16-24/32 team tournament kills a lot of importance on the regular season, but does a 2 team field not do the same? The question is, do they find a happy medium at 4, or 8 teams? And does the payoff for a much larger field justify diminishing the regular season (and the money that goes with it, since you and I can both agree this is all about the money).

        • Obviously, I don’t think a 2-team playoff has a negative impact. And a 4-team doesn’t either, except for outliers like 2005. But it seems to me that there’s never a year in which there are eight teams deserving of a national title shot.

          As for your last question, my answer would be no. But I’m not the one getting the check.

          • The problem with a 2 and 4 team set up is as I mentioned, you make some games worthless. I’ve mentioned some of the problems in recent years with 2 teams and someone getting left out, and you add 2005 with Auburn. 4 teams come into being a problem with just this past year. Florida would have been in, despite losing to Georgia in the regular season, because Georgia had the better year and got the extra game in Atlanta. You’d have had to argue a 1 loss Oregon against the team that beat them in 2 loss Stanford for another spot. How big is the difference between teams 3 and 4 (say Oregon and Florida this year) vs teams 6 and 7 (Georgia, Stanford who were both behind K St in that last poll before bowls). Or take 2007’s final poll. You had Ohio St and LSU at the top,and #3 and 4 in Oklahoma and Va Tech, but you’d leave out Georgia and Southern Cal (#5 and 7) as well as teams like a 1 loss Kansas (8) and the undefeated Hawai’i (10th).

            You might not have 8 teams worthy, but you may have more than 4, so 8 covers the excess and allows for including a Hawai’i/Boise without removing a worthy major conference team. But my main problem is, aside from the differences in scheduling and weighing opponents across regions/conferences, is there has never shown a true solution. 2003, Miami and Ohio St were pretty clearly the class of college football. 2 teams was all you needed. In 2005, you needed a way to include a 3rd with Auburn. in 2007, 8 teams works best. There really is never an easy answer without 20/20 hindsight, from a +1, to straight bowls, to an 8 team deal. Until the regular season is over, it’s hard to say what would work best, and even then there’s the debate from different eyes seeing different values.

            • I’ve long thought a flex schedule for playoffs would be the best approach, but you’re never going to get TV to pay for that.

              And 2007 was the mother of all outliers. I wouldn’t point to it to justify a pool size, because we’ll never see its like again.

            • Cojones

              And besides, 8 teams constitutes a “playoff” and 4 teams selected subjectively to appear doesn’t come near the playoff we all wanted for years. Prediction: After the controversy of “picking four’ occurs on the first occasion of it’s use, everyone will be ready to go to the top 8 teams ranked in the country.

              Using other sports to predict when CFB will follow suit on a “slippery slope” has played to our fear more than reason. There is no reason whatever to predict a CFB playoff comparing the resultant to other-configured sports as a reason not to embrace 8 teams from the start and end the matter in the CFB world. Why would it rest at 8 and not go further? Because then you will have formed the first true “Playoff” and have satisfied most fans who would be on board to not let it go to 16.

              • Always Someone Else's Fault

                “4 teams selected subjectively” — Even 64 remains subjective. The number chosen is no guard against that.

                “everyone will be ready to go to the top 8 teams ranked in the country” – No, just you, Macallan, and all the others who hate 4 because it’s too controversial and subjective, but 8 somehow fixes all that.

                Love your posts, but you and I remain forever opposed on this one.

                Last point: Listen to sports talk radio for a week (and then spend the weekend reading some good philosophy to reactivate your brain). The talking point you keep hearing again and again: “None of this means anything. They just have to get ready for the playoffs.” Basketball, baseball, pro football: playoffs become the priority over everything else. Making money comes second. Regular season simply becomes a means to both of those ends.

              • But… the FCS went from 8 to a reasonable 16, but then inexplicably to 20. And, I think they want more. They have 24 in Div 2 and 32 in Div 3. But, surely reason would overcome a money grab in the morally superior and intellectually honest FBS, right?

              • Hackerdog

                You’ve got to love someone who absolutely believes, with a religious fervor, that Delaney, Scott, Slive, et al. actually care about what he wants rather than what is best, at least in the short term, for their conferences.

                Naive optimism for the win. What could go wrong?

      • Monday Night Frotteur

        In Glockner’s example, each team in the Sun Belt plays every other team twice. Comparisons between teams can be made with a solid body of evidence. Within a conference, relying on regular season results is rational.

        Between conferences (especially in college football), teams don’t play enough to justify depriving ourselves of the increased entertainment that the tournament provides.

      • BGD

        I’m not sure I understood your initial post to begin with. In my opinion college football and basketball shouldn’t be used as a basis for comparison to each other when it comes to postseason format because of how disparate their initial setups are. And nothing like conference tournaments exists anywhere in football. It has nothing in common with anything in football.

        Comparing the NCAA Tournament bracket to a potential football bracket, now there is definitely a comparison to be made there.

  2. mike in orlando

    Senator, you are right: At the core, there is no difference. And once the NCAA football field is expanded to 16 teams and a school that went 9-3 in the regular season and finished third in its league wins the national title, everyone will start scratching their heads and saying, “Wait a minute here …”

    • PTC DAWG

      But a 2 loss LSU wasn’t questioned…

      • Heathbar09

        Yes they were. They were scrutinized everyday for weeks leading up to the game.

        http://blutarsky.wordpress.com/about-me/

        See point 2.

        • Cojones

          And after scrutiny they were selected. That’s the proof of the pudding against the “scare” of a hot team being included in a playoff if they were ranked in the top 8. If they end up being ranked that means they have undergone the CFB world scrutiny and selected by strength of team and get the chance to play for the NC as the best CFB in the country. Isn’t that what we are after?

          • Always Someone Else's Fault

            No, it’s not what the playoff proponents are after. They want more equity and more access and more games and more more. They simply argue that all these things will result in a more legitimate national champ, but a more legitimate national champ is simply the justification for what they really want.

            • Cojones

              Those who want changes for money will do so , with or without everyone agreeing. Those people don’t come close to the number of fans who naively voted long ago for a National Playoff in CFB to counter the subjectivity of selection influenced greatly by ESPN/Big10 for years. It will not ride on a “conference champions” subterfuge promoted by Delaney.

              We will get to 8 teams, I’m just advocating to skip the Pome ‘d Rue in between savored by the money interests and to begin sorting out how to realize that fan goal at the git-go.

    • Monday Night Frotteur

      Nobody would say anything if a 9-3 Georgia team beat the Pac 12 champ, the Big 12 champ, the top independent and the SEC champ in 4 consecutive weeks. That team would have a better resume than anybody else in football regardless what happened in the previous 12 weeks.

  3. I see what you’re saying in theory, but I do think there’s a big difference between how these basketball tourneys diminish the regular season and how a football playoff would. The biggest issue, to my mind, with the basketball conference tourneys is that they allow teams like Liberty or Western Kentucky to make the Big Dance. These teams aren’t even remotely in the same stratosphere as even the bottom rung of good teams. They’ll get blasted by 50 points by the Dukes and Indianas of the world. Absolutely no chance. This happens every year, because upsets happen frequently in basketball, particularly in the mid-major leagues that don’t have any truly dominant teams. All it takes is for one guy on a bad team to get a hot hand. It hurts the tournament, because the reason a lot of us tune in is to see the David-Goliath matchups. But the top seeds don’t usually have to play a David until the second round. Duke, Gonzaga, or whoever will get to play that 15-20 Liberty team. Wouldn’t we all rather see them play a team with more of a chance? The loss to doing away with the automatic qualifier system would be that we’d lose the excitement of “Championship Week,” but I think it would be worth it.

    I don’t see this kind of scenario applying to an eight-team football playoff.

      • Ha! Fair enough. I’ll admit I’m not nearly as familiar with the nitty-gritty of this debate as you are.

        One thing I do know is that I hate the argument that college football should try to capture what basketball has with March Madness. Two different situations.

      • Cojones

        Dan Wetzel’s argument there was pretty well beaten down by your readers when taken as a whole, Senator. Don’t think I’d use his reasoning as part of a defense for your side of the argument.

  4. Cosmic Dawg

    You could sort of have your cake and eat it too by simply having all your out-of-conference games in January, then have all your SEC games in February, maybe play every team twice.

    You could also sort of have a “rolling playoff” starting Feb 1st where you had a series of four or five small two-day tournaments that rotated through four or five conference cities each year, and teams would still pick up a Tues or Wed night game.

    Or, that could suck.