An alert reader e-mailed me with this note from Stewart Mandel’s Twitter feed:
College hoops regular season in a nutshell. Kansas won Big 12, beat KState three times. All anyone will remember is KState Sweet 16, KU not.
Filed under BCS/Playoffs
All anyone (not a GA fan) will remember about GA’s season ’09- nothing. ’08- nothing or big disappointment. ’07-almost nothing. ’06- nuttin’ Etc. Lot of value there.
Same for every team not in the title game. No one cares we beat Hawaii. No one cares we won the SEC yers ago. VALUE is what you make it. 50% of teams lose value the first week of the season.
If the only thing you recall from a season of college football is which team won the championship, then you are not a fan.
Even in Montana? LMAO. Considering their Grizzlies are part of the 1-AA playoffs just about every year and their hoops team made The Dance this year, I don’t think they were the state you wanted to reference in your subject line.
As for the basketball analogy and this continuous “devaluing the regular season” idea, you are doing nothing but embarrassing yourself by making that ridiculous comparison. Kansas State is a 2 seed that was in the top 10 all year. In what world do they not deserve to be in a playoff? And what about the 31-4 Northern Iowa team that knocked off Kansas…that was no fluke. Just like it was no fluke when St. Mary’s beat Villanova…or when Old Dominion beat Notre Dame…or when Cornell beat Wisconsin…or when Murray State beat Vanderbilt. All of those teams earned the right to play in the NCAA field based on their total body of work throughout the season. Every game is meaningful in regard to making the field and/or seeding….and seeding(what you did in the regular season) has a direct correlation to who ultimately makes the final 4 in most cases.
As the first response indicates, no one outside of a Georgia fan remembers or cares that we beat down a crappy Hawaii team in the Sugar Bowl. Could we have beaten the teams that played for the national championship that year – we’ll never know. Instead, we’ll settle things based on prejudiced voters and a computer program….yeah, that really adds value to the sport. Why settle it on the field like every other sport when we can keep the same archaic system “because that’s the way we’ve always done it”.
The SEC championship is, in effect, a playoff game. It’s conceivable that the two teams who meet in the title game could play in the regular season and the team winning the title game could be different than the team who won in the regular season. Doesn’t that devalue the regular season based on your Kansas State-Kansas example?
1. The Montana reference is a pointed joke at Mandel. Do a search and you’ll find a few posts here about that.
2. “Every game is meaningful in regard to making the field and/or seeding….and seeding(what you did in the regular season) has a direct correlation to who ultimately makes the final 4 in most cases.” I agree with you that the college basketball regular season has been reduced to being a delivery system for the post season. Your feature is my bug.
3. I guarantee you that the average college football fan remembers more from the regular season than the average college basketball fan does. Way more, if you throw in the people who don’t follow basketball until it’s time to fill out brackets.
4. “The SEC championship is, in effect, a playoff game.” You’re certainly entitled to your own opinion, as the saying goes, but you’re not entitled to your own facts. It’s considered a regular season game and it counts in the BCS calculus in that way.
Actually, the entire college football season is a playoff for conference titles and entry into the BCSNC game. It is when the powers that be ignore the results of the regular season games and make the BCS title game picks as a self fulfilling prophesy that things get out of whack. A “plus one” game with the participants having played their way in from 2 bowls made up of the top 4 teams is the best way to get a real champion decided on the field while still preserving the integrity of the regular season.
Greg, in a world where it matters if you win your conference. They’ll be hanging a sweet 16 banner in Manhattan, but they’ll be getting rings in Lawrence. But the better team isn’t playing for all the marbles because they ran into a buzzsaw and had a bad day on the court. Yes, they had their chance, but the system dictates that the ENTIRE regular season is only to prove that you deserve in the field of 65. Then, these 3 weeks of b-ball are more important than the previous 3 months.
I’m a football guy, so I’ll take the system where Sept. 5 is every bit as important as Nov. 28.
And you are remembered in B-ball for your shots in the tourney, the last second miracles or clutch shots when it really counts: Laettner vs. UK, Jordan vs. Georgetown, Smart vs. Syracuse. But every game counts in football, so legends are made during the regular season: The Bush Push, Bobo to Allen (twice), Flutie, Cal-Stanford…you name it. Florida hit 2 miracle half-court shots to win early season B-ball games and they won’t mean squat in history, really. In football, 2 hail maries would be talked about for decades.
It is what it is. A really exciting 3 weeks where there is no argument who the champion is except that you are susceptible to the best teams having a hiccup along the way. It matters most if you’re the best during that 3 weeks, not the best during the season. Carolina was both last year. But it doesn’t always work out that way.
Taking the example of Carolina last year, we don’t know that they were the best team during the season. The polls and the NCAA selection committee didn’t think so, and the polls were split between them and Memphis for #2. So continuing with the apples/oranges comparison, this would leave Louisville and maybe/maybe not UNC playing in a one-game football-style championship. The year before that, Carolina was considered the best regular-season team and Kansas the 4th, yet Kansas beat UNC in the Tourney and won the championship. That’s pretty much the deal with regular seasons: we don’t know who was the best once they’re played. It’s just that college football tries to draw championship-defining conclusions based off what teams have done playing completely dissimilar schedules whereas college basketball minimizes that.
I’m OK with leaving college football the way it is because it really is the greatest regular season of any sport. It’s just that we need to realize the converse side of that: college football has the most illegitimate national champion of any major sport.
I bristle when I hear the word “illegitimate” used in reference to the champion of college football. It is anything but. It is a different type of champion than basketball, to be sure. But I could easily call the basketball champion, a team that gets hot for three weeks with no regard for the three months prior, an illegitimate champion. And the word would be inappropriate in that context as well.
The champions are just different. The regular season matters to one and not so much to the other.
Understood. I’d like to replace my “most illegitimate” assertion with “least legitimate”. And I agree that we could find legitimacy faults with every other sport’s championships. It’s just that with every other sport’s championships (every one that I can think of), it is at least decided on the field in some shape or form. In any sport other than D-1 college football, a team at the beginning of the season can say “OK, if we do X, Y and Z on the field then we will be national champions. So let’s do it”. In college football, teams know know their regular season games matter in regards to national championship aspirations, they just don’t know how. Do we need to win our conference? Do we need to win all our games? Do we need to lose less games than everyone else? Do we need to lose at the beginning of the year instead of late? Do we need to look dominate in our victories instead of simply winning? These are all unknowns that very much matter, but change year to year. That’s the reason I say “least legitimate”, due to college football’s unique lack of being able to say “Well, so and so may have been the best team, but they knew what they had to do and had their chance to prove it on the field but didn’t”.
But basketball has some of the same issues. Sure, conference champs get automatic bids. Just like the BCS. But after that, it’s all up to the selection committee. Just like the BCS. The main difference is that basketball gives so much more room for error in the regular season.
They are similar but not the same due to one important aspect. Conference champions in basketball are guaranteed a shot at the national championship, whereas in football they are just guaranteed a really nice bowl. In basketball, each team knows that if they do what it takes to win their conference and then go undefeated in the post season, in the end they’ll be national champions. College football teams know that they might be champions, or they might have blown out a crappy team to win a bowl trophy six days before the only game that matters in regards to a national championship. But I definitely agree that one gives more room for regular season error.
Sorry Blutarsky, but Greg has the simplest analogy. Missed your point about Mandel as well. If you have too many “in” comments or forms of humor, the rest of us feel left out. If we feel left out then what’s the point of joining in? Just trying to help.
If your point is that playoffs devalue the regular season I could not disagree more. The SEC East and West opponent’s games are doomed to be insignificant and forgotten? Not with this Bulldog Nation ! Every SEC game is like a bowl game because of the competition. We won’t ever forget a win and some losses. Both categories keep us going. Besides, if you look at the last several years our team seems to mature late and tearass. That’s a handy characteristic in a playoff team. If you seeded teams, I’ll bet you the SEC would end up facing each other in the quarter-finals and finals since they would be deeded in different area tourneys.
By the way-I like your name as he was one of my favorite characters ever in Animal House. One year of college was spent in a similar fraternity and when the movie came out, friends told me that someone had made a film of my crazy stories. But reality was larger in adventures. We once had a frat party in a Greek Orthodox Church, music furnished by a nationally famous name(later) and the keg was on the pulpit. Yes indeedy, Blutarsky brings back memories of what Greek really means.
The Montana joke is not an inside joke. It’s about this article:
Lots of bloggers tore this article to shreds, it was talked about a lot, so it’s not “in” humor. Here’s one such posting that wraps up what a lot of bloggers said:
Anyway, just trying to help.
Cojones, the fact that extended playoffs devalue the regular season is a fact that is really no longer up for debate. The only question is whether the pros of a football playoff would outweigh the cons (the major one being devaluing the regular season).
As an example, one of the main reasons you can remember SEC games well is because those games are vital in determining the division, and ultimately conference, champion. If we played an SEC schedule, and then invited the top half of the conference to a playoff to determine the champion, then who cares if we drop a game early on to South Carolina? Just like in basketball, it would be only tournament losses that count.
Regular Guy- You did help and thanks! Didn’t have a clue we were referencing an article from 2007. Sounds like an “in” thing to me, but don’t get me wrong since I’m now in on it.
Hackerdog- I wasn’t referring to an SEC playoff, but rather a natl playoff where many SEC teams would be represented because they usually are ranked pretty high. An SEC playoff is called a tournament. I have never remembered UGA’s SEC games because of later hierarchical importance. Each is as important as a bowl game at the time it is played because it usually involves two championship caliber teams. I could never “dilute” an SEC game out of my mind, but rather I tend to forget some because I’m an old fart.
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