Tag Archives: Plus-one

Pavlov’s Commissioner

How pure a knee-jerk response is this?

Not surprisingly, SEC Commissioner Mike Slive opposes Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott’s suggestion of a football “plus one” championship game after the bowl season.

Slive said today the plus-one would narrow the postseason “in a way that’s not necessarily in the best interests of all of the conferences.”

Slive knows what’s best.

“It’s interesting because clearly what we did (with the SEC/Big 12 bowl) created a lot of thinking by a lot of people,” Slive said during an interview from the SEC baseball tournament. “I appreciate people thinking about that. But I think what’s in the best interest of college football is a four-team playoff. I think it’s better for everyone involved in the game.”

Here’s the thing.  Slive says he’s willing to talk about the selection process.  No doubt he is.  Problem is whether anyone else is willing to listen to him.  In the end, his choice may not be between a plus-one and a four-team playoff.  If these people can’t reach a consensus, it may wind up being a choice between a plus-0ne and doing nothing.  Which of those options would set Slive to drooling?

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Game changer

Be still my heart.  The ACC is apparently pursuing something I mocked the other day, according to Tech AD Dan Radakovich.

Regarding a possible bowl alliance for the ACC champion, Radakovich said that will be a topic of discussion for a conference call of league athletic directors this week. He said that league associate commissioner Michael Kelly has been working on “trying to set something up similar to what you had seen announced last Friday with the Southeastern Conference and the Big 12.”

“Similar” is an amorphous term.  Unless you think matching up against Boise State in the Orange Bowl every year is something that will change D-1 football as we know it.

One thing to keep in mind as these lock-ins proliferate – if the postseason does go to a plus-one format, the more bowls that match up teams based purely on conference affiliation and not rankings, the harder it’s going to be to achieve a consensus on the top two teams after the bowl games are played.  Now there’s a formula for stability.

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Don’t bury the plus-one, ’cause it’s not dead yet.

About a month ago, I posted this, about the postseason debate between the conference commissioners:

… While I don’t believe they’ll throw up their hands and stick with what they’ve done – that’s not where the money is, after all – it would surprise me less and less if they don’t fall back on a true plus-one, a title game after all the bowls are played in which the top two teams face off, as their default.  The fans get a new shiny toy, the schools get another game from which to generate revenue and the commissioners get to put off all the hard decisions that can’t reach agreement on for another day.  Which will no doubt come.

Guess what?  The plus-one is still ticking.

“I’d say before Friday that idea of a plus-one didn’t have much traction, but I think the announcement on Friday’s a game-changer,” Scott said. “We’re pretty far down the path on four-team playoff options, but given the very positive reaction to what the SEC and Big 12 have done, it’s possible that (a plus-one) could get some traction.”

Scott’s not the only one saying that.

“At this point in the process, the discussion and momentum seems to surround a four-team, three-game approach,” Atlantic Coast Conference commissioner John Swofford said in a statement. “As we continue to focus on finding an option that leads to a consensus among the group, we’ll have to see if that involves the consideration of other models, including the simplified plus-one.”

You can see why it’s attractive as a short-term solution.  It preserves the bowls’ importance.  It lets the lock-ins with the Rose Bowl and the new Big 12/SEC bowl game serve in many years as national semi-final games.  But it still throws a lifeline to the Big East, ACC and the mid-majors (as well as the rest of the BCS bowls).  And it adds one more postseason game to the mix.  Cha ching!

Most importantly, nobody has to make any hard decisions about selection committees, game sites or eligibility.  That’ll make Notre Dame happy.

Problem is, what they’re left with is an unstable mess.  There will still be situations when there will be a huge debate over which teams should play in the title game.  And there will be all the attendant problems with which teams get into the playoff pool – the eligible bowls – in the first place.  In other words, this approach doesn’t really settle any of the issues which have led to the situation the decision makers find themselves in now.  It simply puts off judgment day, albeit with an additional check for the trouble.

A month ago I said it wouldn’t surprise me if they wound up adopting the plus-one as the new format.  Now, I’d say it’s at least 50-50 they do.  A month from now I’ll probably be saying I’ll be surprised if they don’t.

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UPDATE:  While some sound as if a consensus is still uncertain, Michael Adams says the SEC is about to wrap things up.

Adams said the SEC presidents had a “lengthy” teleconference last Thursday, and he expects plenty of “substance” to be discussed at next week’s SEC meetings in Destin, Fla. Adams indicated that the main issue is the SEC’s position on the changing landscape of the college football postseason. The presidents are approaching a “unified” take on the playoff, according to Adams, which should be voted on and announced next week.

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Friday morning buffet

You’re about to make it through another working week, so grab a plate and settle in.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Because Nothing Sucks Like A Big Orange, Big Ten Football, College Football, Mumme Poll, SEC Football

Sometimes, your honesty is refreshing.

The antidote to Bill Hancock’s BCS bullshit

… After conference commissioners met for almost 10 hours, a giddy Hancock emerged from a conference room and — for once — said something we can celebrate instead of mock.

“I can take status quo off the table,” Hancock said.

But this is the BCS. So, naturally, Hancock qualified his statement a few minutes later.

“The BCS as we know it — the exact same policies will not continue,” Hancock said. “That does not mean that there is definitely going to be a four-team event or a plus-one.”

… is this:

“Either way, everybody’s gonna be bent out of shape,” Richt said, laughing. “The way it is now, people will be bent out of shape if it’s just four.”

Ain’t that the troof.

I don’t get the celebratory reaction to Hancock’s statement.  Of course the status quo is going to get reworked.  The fix was in on that as soon as the conference commissioners took a close look at the attendance and viewership numbers from this past bowl season.

The problem now, as it has been all along, is achieving a consensus on what the replacement for the status quo will be.  And as Staples’ article indicates, as problems go, it’s a big ‘un.

Here’s just one example of what they’ve got to overcome.

… Scott would like to see a system that weighs strength of schedule more heavily. “If we go to a four-team playoff, then we’re essentially going to put more stock in the playoff,” Scott said. “The plan, from my perspective, would be a more credible, objective, fair system that balances strength of schedule. We all don’t play over the same course. Every conference has got different caliber. Some conferences play nine conference games. Some play eight. Some play stronger out-of-conference competition. Some tend to not. They just want to get home games.”

Take that, Mike Slive.  (My guess is he won’t.)

I don’t want to say a lot of the debate is insurmountable.  But what they’ve got to overcome in the next few weeks is certainly formidable.  While I don’t believe they’ll throw up their hands and stick with what they’ve done – that’s not where the money is, after all – it would surprise me less and less if they don’t fall back on a true plus-one, a title game after all the bowls are played in which the top two teams face off, as their default.  The fans get a new shiny toy, the schools get another game from which to generate revenue and the commissioners get to put off all the hard decisions that can’t reach agreement on for another day.  Which will no doubt come.

Meanwhile, nobody will listen to Mark Richt.

“Just tell me what the rules are. Tell me what the deal is and we’ll play by it,” he said. “I don’t know what is the right answer. But I would not want to change college football much. College football is a great sport. It’s an unbelievable regular season. Probably more exciting than any regular season in any sport. So we want to be careful to make sure we know what we’re looking for.”

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UPDATE:  A sixteen-team playoff is off the table.  For now.  Woo hoo!

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Jim Delany wants you to make him an offer he can’t refuse.

This is what Jim Delany means by “settling it on the field”, sports fans:

… The plans range from a long-discussed “plus one” format — after the bowls play out, selecting two teams to meet for the national championship — to a heretofore undisclosed four-team playoff proposal that could expand the semifinals to preserve an annual Big Ten-vs.-Pacific-12 matchup in the Rose Bowl.

In the latter plan, the four highest-ranked teams at the end of the regular season would meet in semifinals unless the Big Ten or Pac-12 champion, or both, were among the top four. Those leagues’ teams still would meet in the Rose, and the next highest-ranked team or teams would slide into the semis. The national championship finalists would be selected after those three games.

They could change the name of the postseason from “BCS” to “Preservation of the Big Ten’s Relevance in the Postseason” Series, if they need to make the point of this nonsense any clearer.  And don’t you love this spin?

… The “four team plus” concept could be a means of selling the Pac-12 and long-resistant Big Ten on stepping into the playoff waters. Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany, in particular, has expressed concern that a modest, four-team plan would whet appetites and inevitably lead to a larger-scale playoff down the road.

Yes, morons, Jim Delany is insisting that you have to sell him on a plus-one at this point.

The biggest joke of all here is that somehow Delany thinks if he gets this through, he’ll still be able to hold the line on limited playoffs.  There’s no way something this convoluted won’t lead to further playoff expansion after a few years of everyone bitching about the problems it creates.

Playoff fans are such suckers.

By the way, how can you tell when Bill Hancock is spinning?

“The underlying theme of all this,” Hancock said, “is to protect the regular season. That keeps coming up and keeps coming up and keeps coming up. We have the best regular season in sports, and we don’t want to mess with it.”

When his lips move, of course.

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The plus-one debate, in two quotes

Really, it all boils down to this:

“You should have to win something,” said Mountain West commissioner Craig Thompson. “You should be a champion to get into this type of system.”

“When you get to [limiting it to] conference champions, you’re not necessarily dealing with the best teams,” said SEC commissioner Mike Slive. “You’re creating more of a tournament than playing for the national championship.”

The bottom line is the bottom line here.  Is it good for college football to limit the SEC to one entrant to the title game?  Thompson prefers to spread the wealth, baby.  My bet is that Slive is going to find himself significantly outnumbered on this.

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Jostling for position around the grown-ups’ table at the post-BCS banquet

It looks like the Pac-12 wants to be the lead dog on the playoff debate sled.

Leaders of the Pac-12 Conference agreed in principle Saturday to try to end college football’s Bowl Championship Series, proposing its replacement with a playoff system that would allow only conference winners to play for college football’s national title.

“I don’t hear anyone saying business as usual is acceptable,” said Edward Ray, Oregon State University’s president and chairman of the Pac-12 universities’ CEO group. “We need change.”

The size and shape of the new postseason are some of the kinks left to be worked out – how the Rose Bowl fits in with a four- or eight-team playoff, particularly when there appears to be some disgruntlement over the bowls, looks like a sticking point – but there seems to be clear sentiment to follow Larry Scott’s path towards a conference champion-only format.

“The BCS polls have had unintended consequences that are very negative in terms of the culture around football that places a premium on not losing,” Scott said. “The BCS system really doesn’t have any value around strength of schedule. It’s about won-loss records. It’s encouraged by coaches and conferences to want to schedule games as easy as possible and to pay hundreds of thousands of dollars and sometimes more to buy games and easy wins.”

Well, duh, Larry.  Like your proposal is going to stop that.

But the real 800-pound gorilla in the room with Scott and the Pac-12 isn’t Mike Slive and his conference (and don’t think Scott’s quote wasn’t pointed in the specific direction of the SEC).  It’s Notre Dame.  Dennis Dodd describes the dynamic accurately when he writes,

There is a way Notre Dame could be allowed special access into the new postseason. The question is, should it? With the apparent end of automatic qualifiers, what is the line between the haves and have-nots? Will there be one at all? Notre Dame is the only single entity in the room deciding the future of college football. But the other partners control the football future of Notre Dame.

I have no doubt there will be a full court press put on the Irish to join a conference.  I also have no doubt that Notre Dame will resist.  What is Swarbrick going to hear now that he hasn’t already heard before?

Those of you who think that Notre Dame’s on the field results have made it an irrelevancy which can be conveniently brushed aside in the rush to give the people what they want (hey, don’t forget Michael Adams “feels frustrated for the fans”) are missing the point.  Notre Dame still draws viewership in a way that no other school really does.  Why do you think Swarbrick is the only AD allowed in the room with Slive, Delany and Scott in the first place?  Hint:  it ain’t because they want to discuss the finer points of Brian Kelly’s public etiquette.  He’s there for the same reason that major bowls fight over extending an invitation to an eight-win (hell, seven wins will do nicely, sometimes) Irish squad.  It’s where the money is.

Swarbrick’s no fool, by the way.  He knows why he’s there.

Which is why Dodd’s plus-one format suggestion of the top three ranked conference champs along with the next-highest ranked team getting the last spot screams successful short-term compromise.  I bet Mike Slive would sign on to that.  So would Swarbrick.  Would it last?  Hell, no.  What’s your point?

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Nobody’s gonna tell Mike Slive what to do.

It should come as a surprise to exactly no one that Mike Slive is less than enamored with Larry Scott’s conference champs-only plus-one format.

“I’m willing to have a conversation about (only conference champions), but if you were going to ask me today, that would not be the way I want to go,” Slive said. “It really is early in the discussions, notwithstanding what some commissioners say publicly. There’s still a lot of information that needs to be generated.”

Translation:  if you think I’m giving up the advantage of having the only conference that seems capable of having two schools in the title game without a battle, you’re crazy.

That being said, I think he’s off base with his complaints about playing the semifinals on the campuses of the higher ranked schools.  Sure, there’s a competitive advantage.  That’s the whole point.  You’ve got to build some incentives into the system to make sure that schools don’t overload on cupcakes or, even worse, decide to take a regular season game off to prepare for the postseason, à la the NFL.  That’s an even bigger concern if you adopt Scott’s proposal.

And, turning to the current state of affairs in the SEC, this is too cute by half:

… Meanwhile, as the SEC prepares to welcome Missouri and Texas A&M into the league, Slive said the conference is content with 14 members.

“I still view 14 as an extension of 12,” Slive said. “Going beyond 14 is no longer an extension of 12. Maybe the Pac-12 and Big Ten scheduling alliance may be their way of answering that question. I can only speak for us. I think it’s going to take us some time to absorb these two institutions. At this point, I don’t see us adding more. We’ve never been trying to get 14 so I don’t see us necessarily trying to get to 16.”

Slive said the SEC is currently in future TV discussions with CBS and ESPN and that finalizing future football schedules beyond 2012 does not impact those talks.

“They know who we are and what we have,” Slive said. “None of our schools will be hurt financially (in 2012-13). But that’s just today. It’s tomorrow that’s the real issue. The discussions are very important. They’re longterm. We’ll leave it at that.”

Right.  This whole thing just sort of fell in Slive’s lap.  And the TV negotiations going on simultaneously?  Mere coincidence.  If you’re buying this, I still haven’t been able to unload that beachfront property in Hahira and would love to talk with you.

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The audacity of a plus-one

And you guys thought I was kidding about Republican objections to Obama’s opinion about a D-1 playoff.

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