Should I feel guilty for enjoying the Fiesta Bowl on its own merits?

If I had to list my five favorite college football bloggers, Matt Hinton would certainly take a spot.  And I know he’s an impassioned (in a sane way) proponent of a D-1 football playoff, which doesn’t detract from the enjoyment I take from his writing in the least.

But (you knew there was a “but” coming, right?), I can’t help admitting that it bugs me to see him succumb to the “kids’ table” dismissal of the Fiesta Bowl matchup and ponder how much more meaningful it could all be in the right kind of postseason.

… Imagine the interest, instead, if the Broncos and Frogs were squaring off in a national quarter- or semifinal. How do playoff opponents who tout “the most exciting and meaningful regular season” in sports justify the exclusion two teams that were barely challenged en route to perfect regular seasons from any shot whatsoever at the all-important crystal ball? By telling them “you had a great season”? TCU and Boise have had great seasons, obviously: The Broncos beat the eventual Pac-10 champion and scored at least 42 points in every WAC game; TCU beat eventual ACC Coastal champ Clemson and massacred two ranked Mountain West rivals, BYU and Utah, that closed the season with bowl routs of their own over Pac-10 foes to (probably) move both the Cougars and the Utes into the final top 20.

That’s as many wins over ranked opponents as Texas managed, neither of them nearly as harrowing as the Longhorns’ last-second reprieve to hold off Nebraska and collect their tickets to Pasadena. For any team in any conference, that’s a great regular season. But obviously it’s not BCS Championship great…

Notice there’s something missing there.  Doesn’t Texas have, like, an opponent or something it’ll be playing in the title game?

Pardon the snark, but that’s the thing about making a resume ranking argument here.  It cuts both ways.

Any way you look at it, Alabama, which has beaten five top twenty five-ranked opponents this season (including three in the top ten), has a resume that towers above every other school in the country.  The 13-0 Tide boasts Sagarin’s #12 SOS ranking; TCU shows up at #83 and Boise State is ranked an even more anemic #98.  (Texas checks in at a less mediocre #49.)  No remaining undefeated school is in Alabama’s class.  So why argue in essence that Alabama should have to prove itself any further in a multi-round tournament?

27 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

27 responses to “Should I feel guilty for enjoying the Fiesta Bowl on its own merits?

  1. MT

    I think there were a cpl ESPN articles on this angle of the Fiesta Bowl…

    I think the correct view is to view that the fact that a Boise St-TCU matchup can stand on its own is noteworthy on itself. If TCU wins, it will most likely end the year ranked #2, which is nothing to laugh at. Both teams will benefit in the pre-season rankings next year from this year’s run, with most key players on each team returning.

    A Florida-TCU matchup would have been sexier, true, but I’m sure the ratings and the attendance at the stadium tonight will be impressive on its own

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  2. rbubp

    Some ESPN radio people were pointing out that TCU could have a chance at the MNC, still. Let’s say this happens:

    TCU beats the living tar out of Boise.
    Texas beats Alabama in a close game that looks like the Cotton Bowl–lots of turnovers and penalties, 12-9 final score or something like that.

    Could happen in one of the polls, no?

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  3. birddawg capital

    I love the bowls, always have, hopefully always will. I would propose though that the BCS be adjusted to have its Championship game participants named after the Bowls are played. It would be a plus one system that would still have everything in doubt going into New Years Day. We would then have the same kind of excitement on January 1st that we get on Conference Championship Saturday. Let the BCS poll come out on January 2nd and then match #1 vs # 2. in a championship game on the Saturday a full week following New Years Day. All the Bowls would still be in play with this set up. Plus we would all have the added perspective of how each conference does against the others as well.

    Just an idea, that just might work.

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    • NM

      This is the system I would most support. I think T. Kyle King is an advocate of this too, if I’m not mistaken. Basically it’s like adding an extra (good) non-conference game to everyone’s schedule. With what we know now, we can make better decisions about 1 and 2. Won’t solve the problem every year but it preserves what’s great about college football while also making an even fairer system.

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  4. You’re right: it wouldn’t be particularly fair to Alabama to force them play an extra game*. But it’s even _less_ fair to exclude TCU from the possibility of a national championship completely at the expense of a team that hasn’t accomplished one damn thing more than they have. If we’re weighing injustices, forgive me if I’m not on the side of the team that would have to work harder for a title than the team that’s functionally prohibited from getting a shot at it at all.

    *Note that I’ll totally agree that _two_ games (in an eight-team bracket) would be a bridge too far, but one? Especially if they’re as good as they’re supposed to be, the Tide’d survive.

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    • Jerry, I agree with you that a four-team playoff is a fair trade off of priorities here.

      Of course, that would mean that from a group of, say, Texas, Cinci, TCU, Florida and Boise State, you’re going to have two schools on the outside looking in – and complaining.

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      • Hackerdog

        And you have hit upon my gripe. Playoff proponents want to dismiss SOS and focus on wins. Of course Cinci deserved to be in a playoff. They went undefeated in the regular season. Well, we saw what happened when they faced the SEC runners-up.

        Can somebody explain exactly how Boise State is more worthy of title consideration than the Cinci team whose butts still hurt?

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        • As a team who didn’t win their conference and a second team whose schedule was just too much of a joke, I think Florida and Boise would be easy cuts out of that group, bowl result be damned. It would suck for Boise, but one game’s not enough to make up for the WAC. Still, I think if you asked them, they’d much rather be a serious candidate for a four-team playoff and not get in than not be a candidate for anything past TCU’s punching bag.

          As for Cincy’s no-show at the Sugar, their coach left and their interim coach was pulling double-duty between the Bearcats and his new job. Obviously it’s hard to see Kelly making THAT much of a difference, but there’s no way to know. What we knew (and is still true) is that at the end of the regular season, Cincy had a conference title in a BCS league (such as it is) and more wins over top-25 teams (two) than Florida did (one).

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        • rbubp

          I don’t think anyone wants to completely ignore SOS. Certainly in a very limited playoff with only four teams it would be a powerful tool to determine who moves on.

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  5. Last year’s MNC was Utah imho, and they still didn’t get the AP votes. They beat Alabama more convincingly than Florida did, and Utah (unlike Florida) was undefeated.

    Make no mistake, this is a kid’s table Fiesta Bowl. It is a crying shame that the winner of this game is not going on to play the winner of Ala-Texas for the title.

    Actually, it should have been Ala vs. Boise, Texas vs. TCU, and the winners play for the title.

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    • JasonC

      It’s easy give those match ups now, but before the Sugar Bowl how would you justify Boise over Cincy?

      I don’t have a problem with a plus 1, but the problem that the Senator often cites is expansion of playoffs, which has happened in almost every sport out there. Then, you have issues like they do in the NFL with teams resting players.

      Frankly, I don’t think it is the post season that needs a lot of fixing, it is the conferences and regular season.

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      • Put Cincy in there then. That wasn’t the point.

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        • Hackerdog

          Sure it is. We now know that Cinci was a pretender. Maybe if Kelly hadn’t left for greener pastures they only would have lost by 17. Either way, playoff proponents were demanding that a team that was over matched should be given a shot at the national title.

          I’m thankful that we have a system that excludes teams like Cinci.

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          • rbubp

            Which “system” suggested they were worth a shot?

            Which “system” determined that they weren’t?

            What would have happened if Cincinnati and TCU were the only undefeateds and everyone else had two losses like ’07? You’d rather take a chance on a team like that actually winning an MNC. Brilliant!

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            • Hackerdog

              The “system” that suggested they should be in a playoff would be every playoff system I’ve seen proposed.

              The “system” that determined they should not play for the title is the current BCS.

              As for your hypothetical situation, the BCS would probably match TCU & Cinci in the title game.

              Since we’re playing the what if game, can you tell me what would happen if a frog had wings? 😉

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              • rbubp

                The only problem with the wings issue is that one of the frogs does have wings…the one that put Cincinnati at number 3 in the country and will have Boise State in the top 5 to start next year and very possibly playing for an MNC.

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                • Hackerdog

                  Given that the BCS #3 gets as much title consideration as #25, I’m not worried about Cinci being ranked that highly. I’m just grateful that the BCS did its primary job and we don’t have to watch Alabama wax Cinci or TCU in the title game.

                  Now Alabama may still wax Texas, but Texas has the best pedigree of any team to face Alabama.

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  6. Joe B.

    Got to admit, I have not seen TCU play this year, so I have a question.

    Are these abominations they are wearing their normal uniforms? If so, I give them even more credit for going undefeated.

    It is not easy to go out in front of thousands of people wearing Jake Roberts’ pants. How embarrassed they must be.

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    • Silver Creek Dawg

      No Joe, those are their Nike Pro Combat uniforms, similar to the white helmeted uniform the GayTurds wore against FSU.

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      • JasonC

        I wonder how long the ProCombat is going to stick around. Did Florida wear it during the SECCG? If so, you have 2 programs losing in ProCombat… fake juice and all.

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    • rbubp

      I thought the same thing. Those have got to be the worst I’ve seen in some time, or, since the last time I saw Oregon play.

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  7. The game looked like a matchup of two mid major schools because that is exactly what it was. It was amateur hour(s) at the Fiesta Bowl. Alabama or Texas would have trounced both of these teams much like UF trounced Cincy. Seriously…..this is not a bad dream….Cincy, Boise and TCU ALL played in a BCS game in 2010.

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  8. Reptillicide

    Senator,

    after watching that “game” last night I don’t think the term “enjoyed” is really applicable. What a terrible mess. Left me wondering how either team was undefeated.

    The only enjoyment I got out of it was laughing at the 200+ lb. Boise “dancers” rolling around on the turf like pigs in a sty, and then the stark contrast of the hot-ass TCU dancers making me think all sorts of dirty thoughts. Everything else in between was forgettable.

    And on a sidenote: I am now fully convinced that gingers should never play QB.

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  9. Reptillicide

    A recap of last night’s game for you all

    More shots of the BSU dance team:

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  10. Castleberry

    I’ve been thoroughly confused by the notion that the BCS would be better with two David vs. Goliath matchups.

    I think both schools were very strong and probably would have handled Tech, Iowa, or Natti.

    It bothers me that a “David” would be disappointed with the opponent. If you really feel like you belong, should you believe the other “Davids” belong too.

    Maybe I still burned that we didn’t get a shot at USC after 2007…

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