Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Mark Richt has lost control of the SEC’s BCS win streak.

And, yes, there is a certain amount of poetic justice in watching the game slip away from Auburn with thirteen seconds to go.

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“I think a lot of people still don’t understand how this is going to work.”

Shorter Bill Hancock:  The extra round of playoffs won’t be a burden on fans, as long as we can get Alabama and Auburn to play each other every year.

And by the way, what WTF is “the integrity of the bracket” supposed to mean?

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Just winging it.

Tony Barnhart’s got a useful list of things to know about our new college football playoff overlord here.  There are plenty of items there that, well, if they don’t outright make sense, at least raise some questions about what’s going on.  Like this, for example:

How is the selection committee going to work?

The committee, chaired by Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, will meet several times during the season to discuss the relative strengths and weaknesses of the teams that could be chosen for the national semifinals. With all kinds of data at their disposal, the committee will come up with a Top 25 ranking several times during the course of the year.

“We just felt that it was helpful for college football to have some kind of measuring stick out there from our selection committee,” Hancock said.

The committee will not in any way be bound by the rankings they produce when they make their choice of the four teams.  [Emphasis added.]

A measuring stick that doesn’t measure anything… what’s the point to that exercise?  Other than giving ESPN more meaningless programming fodder, that is.

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So, who you got tonight?

On paper, it shouldn’t be close.  FSU has been so dominant statistically this season that it pretty much obliterates any strength of schedule qualms I might have about the final record.  The Noles are now favored by 10.5 and I believe I saw something this morning indicating that the favorite has covered the spread in the last six BCS title games.

But I’m having a hard time shaking that whole team of destiny thing around Auburn.  A monster fluke to win the Georgia game, an even bigger miracle to beat Alabama and the last piece of the puzzle falling into place with Ohio State’s loss in the Big Ten title game (but Delany was proud, proud I tells ‘ya, of the TV ratings) sure makes me wonder what the football gods have cooked up for tonight.

In the end, I’m going with my gut instead of my head and picking Auburn to pull the upset.  Because it’s been that kind of year if you’re a Dawg fan.

And you?

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This is going to end well.

So, as well as not having control over its matchups under the new system, the Chick-fil-A Bowl will have to live with a significantly reduced ticket requirement for the conferences/schools.

They better hope the broadcast ad revenue jumps a bunch to cover the shortfall.  It’s either that, or eat mor chikin, bitchez.

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Tuesday morning buffet

Start digging in…

  • Mark Richt on Todd Gurley“I think he’s one of the best backs in America. I don’t think there’s any doubt about that. I think most people that have seen him play would say that as well, and I’m going to leave it at that because I’m really not going to be interested in talking too much about next year.”
  • Doesn’t sound like Pete Fiutak’s interested in talking about Gurley’s 2014 season, either.
  • Again, with all the injuries this season, it’s impressive to realize that Georgia will enter the Gator Bowl averaging 38.2 points a game, which is slightly ahead of last season’s school-record clip of 37.8.
  • Everybody at GTP loves a little Lexicon action, so you might want to give Holly Anderson’s a good look.
  • BCS to Fiesta Bowl:  all is forgiven, fellas.
  • You can probably guess what a bunch of head coaches who have done it in the NFL and at the college level say is the biggest difference.
  • Sure, there’s a certain shooting fish in a barrel aspect to this, but it’s still a fun read.
  • Can’t wait to hear Bo Pelini get asked about this at the bowl presser.
  • Chris Conley, on that 87-yarder in the Cap One Bowl:  “I was definitely out of breath when I finished that run. It was fun,” Conley said. “Anyone could have scored right there. There was no one within 20 yards of me. If I would have gotten caught there, I would have been ragged on by all the guys.”
  • And whatever else Conley has planned for Todd Gurley in his little movie, I sure hope there’s a scene with Gurley giving Darth Vader a stiff arm.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, College Football, Georgia Football, Recruiting, The NCAA

Is playoff stability an oxymoron?

If you’re somebody like me who really, really hopes the D-1 college football playoff never grows beyond the four-game format going into effect next season, you ought to take a moment to read Year2′s analysis of why he thinks that future growth is likely to take a long time to happen.  His basic point is one I made a long time ago, that the movers and shakers managing the postseason are going to be careful about killing college football’s golden goose, regular season revenue:

It’s fairly safe to say, based on those Big Ten splits, that regular season college football is worth on average about $1 billion or more to the five major conferences annually. As big a windfall as the playoff is, it’s worth less than half of that per year.

The best part about that regular season money is that it’s guaranteed. Some amount of postseason money will always be owed to these leagues provided they structure the contracts that way, but some part of it is always going to be variable based on who participates. Some part of it, in other words, is out of conference commissioners’ control. Mere loss aversion alone suggests that conference commissioners and university presidents will find it more palatable to lean more heavily on guaranteed regular season revenue than on variable postseason revenue.

After all, it’s not all additive. At some point, if you expand the postseason enough then the regular season will go down in value. The extreme example of this is college basketball, where March Madness is worth an average of $771.4 million annually. Extrapolating from what we know of the Big Ten’s annual basketball income, regular season basketball is worth nowhere near that.

It’s a lucid, logical argument that I ought to find convincing (and, truth be told, did, once upon a time).  And it should be especially so, because the same players calling the shots are the ones who have found themselves futilely chasing an ever larger set of March Madness brackets.  Year2 sees something of the limit that was flashed when the networks rejected the proposal to grow to 96 teams…

… but we already see a hint of pushback from the TV guys in CBS’s new deal with the SEC. It takes two to tango, after all, and expecting an even larger windfall for an eight-team system requires assuming that the TV networks will shell out for it. The CFP deal ends a couple of years before almost everyone’s regular season rights deals will end. I’ll bet ESPN and Fox wouldn’t pay significantly more for an expanded playoff until then, when they at least have the option of bargaining down the value of the regular season rights deals a couple of years later.

… but, for a couple of reasons, I’m not so convinced.

First of all, I think that underestimates the degree to which guys like Slive, Scott and Delany are convinced they’re the sharpest people in the room.  I look at them and see a bunch of 21st century Jed Clampetts who just happened to be in the right place at the right time controlling access to a product that consumers want and are willing to pay for, while most simply see the size of the contracts and are dazzled by the numbers.  I suspect those on the college side cutting deals think they’re smart enough to know exactly how to calibrate the size of the postseason product to obtain maximum revenue generation.  The problem, of course, is if it turns out they overshoot, there’s no way to get the genie back in the bottle.  Let’s just say I lack confidence in the skills of a Mike Slive (who, let us remember, is getting the CBS pushback Year2 cites because he negotiated what turned out to be a below-market TV deal in the first place) to find that sweet spot.

Second?  Well, simply, these are people who don’t handle crisis well.  Heck, they don’t even identify crisis well.  Remember, one of the reasons we’ve got this brand-spanking new playoff is a panic over what they thought at the time were declining postseason revenues that were causing the conferences to bleed money, and that’s turned out to be non-existent.  So what happens when the next terrifying thing (another ratings drop, or an O’Bannon loss, perhaps) hits?

At this point, all I want is another five or six good years.  If they manage to leave everything alone through the entirety of the new deal, I’ll consider that a win.

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“A lot of teams are going to be at the mercy of their strength of their conference.”

We’re starting to hear a few things from the poobahs on the selection committee about criteria.  There’s a lot of talk about schedule strength, which is welcome, of course.  But it’s also one of those easier said than done things, too.  Or maybe not.

As an athletic director, one of Radakovich’s prime duties is making Clemson’s nonconference football schedule. He has to mix the right blend of teams with the Atlantic Coast Conference opponents to come up with a slate that draws fans to Memorial Stadium and gives the Tigers a chance to succeed.

He doesn’t necessarily see the implementation of the College Football Playoff as catalyst for sweeping changes in how teams schedule.

“There are certain times when people are going to say, ‘This team that we have coming back is going to be really good. We have a chance to really make a run. Is this schedule set up for us to do that?” Radakovich said. “Now the year following that the same AD may say, ‘I’ve lost all of this stuff. How am I going to make sure that this team has a chance to be successful?’ That’s the difference between football and basketball.

“In basketball you can change your schedule like that. In football it’s a lot more difficult. It could be something that’s an outgrowth of this new system.”

C’mon, Dan, it’s not that difficult to drop a 1-AA cupcake for a neutral site game to start the season against a D-1 opponent.  You pull out the ol’ Rolodex – or more likely, you’ve got the number on speed dial – call your friends at ESPN to make something happen, and voilà!, instant schedule credibility.  (Plus, do it early, and even if you lose, you’ve got time to regain your stature with a playoff run.)

Expect to see a rise in spot scheduling like this as teams realize ways to game the new system.

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“I’m probably a little prejudiced, but it did what we wanted.”

Roy Kramer has not come to bury the BCS, but to praise it.  And you know what?  It’s hard to argue with what he has to say about it.

Plus, you have to chuckle at this back-handed epitaph:

Florida State and Auburn were the clear-cut choices to play in this season’s BCS title finale after Ohio State got upset last Saturday in the Big Ten championship game. A four-team playoff will debut next season, which would have been very difficult to determine had it arrived a year early.

Alabama, the SEC West runner-up to Auburn, is third in the polls, and a fourth team would have been selected among Big Ten champion Michigan State, Big 12 champion Baylor and Pac-12 champion Stanford.

“You talk about controversy,” Kramer said. “You tell me who that fourth team is. I’m not going to have to worry about that one.”

I don’t know about you, but I’m looking forward to the interview with whomever says the last rites over the eight-team playoff.

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For dessert, the BCS serves up a final helping of irony.

Relax and enjoy, peeps.  The media has proclaimed – nay, shouted it from the rooftops – that this year’s national title game is what the people wanted!  Woo hoo!

Gee, kinda makes all that whither BCS? hand wringing in the wake of the response to 2011′s Alabama-LSU’s rematch seem a little silly now.  Overreact much?

Of course, the cherry on top of this particular sundae is that if the four-game playoff were in effect this season, we’d have a major controversy over the fourth-best team (Michigan State!  Baylor!  Tastes great, Lou!  Less filling, Mark!).

Then again, that’s nothing that can’t be fixed with an eight-team playoff.  More awesome sauce, please.

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