The silver lining to South Carolina’s first national championship

… I know the BCS is never going to be a fan favorite, and I’m not suggesting there might not be a better alternative, but… when South Carolina wins the College World Series after dropping two of three to Kentucky and East Carolina during the regular season then scored a total of one run in the SEC tournament, how can you make the argument that a playoff ensures a more deserving national champion?

Hey, David Hale said it, not me.  But he’s right, of course.

70 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

70 responses to “The silver lining to South Carolina’s first national championship

  1. Mayor of Dawgtown

    It appears to be a “tongue in cheek” comment, Senator-a jab by Hale at a friend of his who is a USC grad.

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    • Only the shot that followed, Mayor:

      In fact, let me rephrase that: If South Carolina wins anything, how can you call it a legitimate national title? (Note: That little jab at the Gamecocks will earn me some disgusting shots this weekend from my buddy who is a SC grad.)

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      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        Then David Hale should be flagged for unsportsmanlike conduct. You could look at almost any champion in any sport and say the same sort of thing like, “The 2007 LSU team did not deserve to win the BCSNC because they lost to KENTUCKY.” or “The Marlins should never have won the World Series because they never even won their division.” Etc., etc.,…I am no Chicken fan but I’ll just say: “Congratulations to the University of South Carolina baseball team on winning the College World Series and thanks for representing the SEC so well.”

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        • Hobnail_Boot

          LSU didn’t deserve to even be in the ’07 title game.

          /blood pressure

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          • Mayor of Dawgtown

            +1. UGA got screwed out of the berth by a media campaign. UGA was ranked ahead of LSU but got jumped in the BCS standings the final week because of intense lobbying on TV for LSU by the WWL (Lou Holtz, Jesse Palmer, et al) because UGA “had not even won their conference championship” when there was no such requirement and 2 teams (OK and NEB) previously had played in the BCSNC game before WITHOUT being their conference champion.

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            • If I recall correctly, UGA’s omission was part of a strong reaction against previous non-league champs getting in.

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              • Mayor of Dawgtown

                Never was even mentioned. In fact, in 2006 ESPN’s Kirk Herbstreit was arguing vociferously for a rematch at that year’s BCSNC game of Ohio State and Michigan. Michigan clearly was not a “conference champion.” Didn’t happen and, instead, Ohio State had to play FLA and got blasted by the Gators. So much for the 2 Big-10 schools being sooooo much better than anyone else that a rematch was in order.

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                • But that was 2006, the year before the UGA’s situation. And, you’re citing a singular voice regarding a singular team — not to mention that it’s Kirk Herbstreit who is the very definition of a Big Ten homer. There were VERY vocal responses against OU getting in (remember, that was the year USC was left out despite being ranked #1 in the AP) in 2003

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                  • Will

                    We got jobbed. Imagine Alabama in the same situation. You’d be floored. We were clearly the best team playing football by the middle of that season, and we got jobbed.

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                    • I’m not arguing whether Georgia should or should not have been in that game (yet). I will say, however, that you cannot argue that a playoff featuring league champs would have rectified the situation. Some Georgia fans may feel that they should have been in the championship game, but they had the ability on the field to win the SEC and they did not.
                      As for your comment about Alabama, you’re asking about how I would handle it personally, and if you’ll recall there was a lot of conversation last season a la the OSU – Michigan conversation two years prior that the SEC Championship was the de facto national championship and a rematch should happen. I didn’t agree with that. Alabama had their chance and didn’t win. believe that since a conference championship is something that cannot be swayed by polls (at least in the SEC), it should have more merit than the other means of determining who is chosen.
                      As for “best team playing football by the middle of the season” I personally like the theory that the whole season should count. Georgia did nothing LSU didn’t do, but LSU won their division and the conference. There is no reason to suggest that Georgia’s two losses were more forgivable than LSU’s two losses.

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  2. The Realist

    I think South Carolina’s win completely undercuts the idea that baseball is a sport.

    Tournaments are always about who’s hot right now. You don’t have to be the best all the time (i.e., the entire season). Just for the handful of contests that have been set aside to determine a champion.

    Just out of curiosity, I wonder what the Venn diagram of “current-structure” playoff proponents and those that believe Boise State is deserving of playing for the BCS title would look like. I imagine they have a significant overlap. It just seems like there are some similarities in the mindsets of both groups.

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  3. Charles D.

    Playoffs are not supposed to ensure a more “deserving” national champion.

    They ensure a true champion that has won the games on the field of play.

    If the 2007 Giants and Patriots played 50 times, the Pats would have won 49. But, the Giants won the game on the field, and that is not up for debate.

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    • But the Pats already beat the Giants that year. Why should a team be subjected to double jeopardy in the name of “winning it on the field”? Flukes happen in playoffs way too often and that’s why I’m against them. I want the best team to be the champion of my sport, not the team that played 4 good games in January/February, but was merely mediocre/average over the previous 16.

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    • Charles, that only makes them tournament champions, it doesn’t make them “true” champions.

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    • Playoffs are not supposed to ensure a more “deserving” national champion.

      They ensure a true champion that has won the games on the field of play.

      That’s funny. I thought they were supposed to ensure more revenue. 😉

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  4. JaxDawg

    Congratulations to South Carolina, a fellow SEC school, for winning the National Championship.

    They did what Georgia could not do two years ago.

    Good for them.

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  5. wes

    The reason they got in after dropping a few series and not scoring well (or at all) in the SEC tourney are because, in baseball, there are so many games. Whoever wins the world series this year will have lost a hell of a lot of games, and dropped a hell of a lot of series (series’?). A college football team that lost five games would never sniff the national playoff, nor a team that lost four, nor a team that lost three. Two maybe, every once in a while (I hear you LSU 2007) but that would be rare.

    Another difference is talent; on a football field, the disparity is much more important than on a baseball diamond. Baseball teams don’t throw out there best pitcher every day, and really good teams can loose to really bad teams all the time. It’s just part of baseball. It’s not part of football though. In football, when Alabama loses to ULM, it’s never forgotten.

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    • Which is why the thing the NCAA gets right with the baseball tourney is having a double-elimination format. The big problem is that it lets too many damned teams qualify for the postseason.

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    • Ding ding ding. We have a winner.

      Great baseball teams drop series to inferior teams all the time. Things like that happen over the course of a long season.

      South Carolina was a top 10 team all year, the top 5 for part of it, and was very much considered a national title contender. Carolina and UCLA have been neck and neck in the national rankings virtually all year. The ESPN coverage may not have been aware of that, but that’s because (1) they don’t cover college baseball and throw together a bunch of losers to do it at the end of the season (think Fox and the BCS), and (2) a USC win didn’t fit with the “do-it-for-Wooden” narrative they were trying to construct.

      Some of the lines in this comment thread are priceless. Pure UGA class, as always. I do appreciate those of you that could lay your desire to be more like Clemson fans aside for five minutes and congratulate us.

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      • Gamecock Man, I usually enjoy your writing, but I only saw one comment in here that might be considered demeaning to Carolina. Way to throw in the sweeping generalization of “UGA class”. I grew up in Augusta and I assure you Carolina fans are equally as assholish and obnoxious as you’d seem to think we are. Enjoy your win as your team was deserving and earned it, but save the petty BS for someplace else.

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        • Come on, Audit. To say nothing of the comments in the thread, the post by the Senator itself was a slam against Carolina, which has been more or less a constant theme on this blog all summer. You’d think we were the Gators or something. And not only was it a slam, but one that was misplaced. We weren’t undeserving of our title. It’s not like a 7-5 Carolina football team waltzed into a playoff and won a national title over Alabama, Florida, Southern Cal, etc. Our baseball program is a national power, and this team stacked up well all year against the nation’s best. Like I said, the ESPN coverage you watched might not have known it, but college baseball pundits certainly have seen us as a title contender for most of the year.

          I can unequivocally say that if UGA won a national title in something, you wouldn’t wake up the next morning and find a post slamming the Dawgs on my blog. Let us enjoy our championship, it’s not like it’s likely we’ll win another one anytime soon. Football season is just around the corner. Save the trash talking until then.

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          • I will concede, though, that not all the posts here were in bad taste, and I appreciate the classier ones.

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            • Hogbody Spradlin

              Tell ya what. Here’s something purely snarky to chew on:

              Everybody carry your strongest umbrella today. You’re gonna need it for the pig poop falling from the sky. I think I saw Babe and Arnold Ziffel flying up there.

              More:

              Hell hath frozen over.

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          • Dude, where is your sense of humor? The header was tongue in cheek; the post was about extended playoffs, not S. Carolina’s win. If I wanted to be snarky about USC, I would have included Hale’s complete quote on the subject.

            Congratulations on the NC, by the way.

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            • Thanks for the congratulations, but the point you’re trying to make about extended playoffs is that us winning proves that playoffs don’t ensure that the best team wins, is it not?

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              • Hale’s exact question – “how can you make the argument that a playoff ensures a more deserving national champion?” – is, in my opinion, a valid one.

                Maybe you can explain to me what the point of the SEC tournament is, since the Gamecocks’ case is all about being highly ranked in the regular season and then winning an extended NCAA tourney. That doesn’t lessen the title; ‘dems the rules and USC won it. But I’m having a hard time figuring out why the process that led to the baseball title is somehow inherently superior to what college football does.

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          • The Realist

            My comment was tongue-in-cheek… because this is a Georgia blog. I’m not going to congratulate South Carolina on a Georgia blog; instead, I’m going to say something snarky. If I wanted to be sincere, and offer my humble admiration, I would have gone to a South Carolina blog.

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            • Fair enough. I guess I’m probably being a bit persnickety. You guys are entitled to a laugh from time to time. But I do strongly disagree with any idea that we were an undeserving team. That’s something that I’d expect from those clowns on ESPN, not from those around here.

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    • Tom

      Sure a five-loss team could make it to a playoff. If one happens, it’s going to include conference champions, which means that a team could lose 3 of 4 non-conference games, drop 2 in conference, win their conf title game, and be in the playoff. It’d happen, probably more often than you’d think (and certainly more than “never”). The kicker is that another team could go undefeated, get to the playoff, then lose on a bad call to said 5-loss team in the first round and be out of if.

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      • wes

        Well, I guess it is numerically possible that this would happen. But I would wager a very large sum of money that even in a 16 team playoff, it never would.

        Have you ever heard of a team that lost 3 non conference games, but only two in conference? Maybe a MAC team, and they wouldn’t be getting any auto bid. Maybe you have heard of such a team, and you’ll prove me wrong here in a minute, but it sounds pretty far-fetched to me. If Georgia lost to Tech, Colorado and Louisiana-Whatever this year, I assure you we will lose more than two contests within the SEC.

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      • Mayor of Dawgtown

        5 loss teams make it to the Georgia high school playoffs in football. It has to do with the rules. If you have silly rules about who gets in the playoff, you will get silly teams in the playoff. (E.g. the NBA).

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  6. Will Trane

    If you get into the regionals that is good. If you get into the super reionals that is better. If you get to Omaha that is being part of the best 8 teams in D1 baseball. If you end up on top, well that makes you a national champion. It is a grind. As a UGA alum I extend my congratulations to South Carolina. I thought their players, coaches, and staff did an outstanding job. Plus they did well for the SEC. The SEC has some outstanding players, coaches, and teams. It is solid. Like one of their players said post game…you become battle tested in this conference.

    If you saw the Diamond Dawgs play against the Gators in Gainesville at the end of the season, you saw a team turning the corners. Coach Perno is solid and his hiring of Coach Osborne is huge. There are some very good players on the Diamond Dawgs. They will be back in 2011.

    When you play above 650 in baseball against some solid teams over the course of a season and you start making it through the brackets you have a shot. In the MLB that is a hundred wins. Does not get much better than that. Those guys are pros, and they pretty well understand they could drop around sixty games during the season.

    After watching SC beat a very good Clemson and UCLA squad, yeah, they deserve the title of National Champs without questions. I’d expect the same if it was UGA.

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  7. Macallanlover

    What a crock. Better we should leave it to voters with “politics” playing the key role. That has certainly worked well the past 50 years in electing the government of this country, not to mention some of the media and coaches’ votes for regional pride in CFB (sarcasm meter on high.) No one is saying a playoff will always determine the best team, but one thing we would be assured of in an 8, or 6 team (if Super Conferences come to be) playoff were in place, the team that wins would have earned it. Maybe not the undisputed best every year, but no way a fluke team would prevail, and the title would mean something for once.

    UGA basketball three years ago was a fluke entry, but that was quickly corrected. It would happen that way in football as well. To be one of the Top football teams all year and make the final 6/8 would require a very good team, and to make it through a gauntlet of 2-3 games against the best out there would be impossible for an imposter. I think using SC’s baseball team is a poor example for this subject, they were not flukeish at all. Did they lose a game or two they shouldn’t have? Of course, baseball with pitching matchups and 70 games will produce surprises, but their body of work was damn good. UGA fans are guilty of acting like UF and TN fans by not congratulating the Gamecocks on their victory, we are above that.

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    • Macallanlover, Baseball playoffs are by invites based on polls as well.

      Regarding making it through a gauntlet of 2-3 games against the best out there, you’ve just made a case for excluding non-BCS teams from your playoffs.

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      • Macallanlover

        Tidefan, I am a proponent of an eight team playoff with the six BCS champs, a play-in game winner from the two highest rated non-BCS, and a wildcard for the highest rated team not included in those teams so I am not excluding non-BCS teams.

        I do feel if we ever get to the 4 sixteen team Super Conference concept, a four team playoff would be very acceptable. Teams not included in those 64 could form a division similar to 1-AA and have their own level of National Champion. That certainly looks more likely than my idea after the past couple of weeks of discussion. This is the most optimistic I have ever been that change will occur.

        I simply want my favorite team to have a true title game before I kick off and start watching from the clouds. In no way do I ever want to see a 16, or more, team playoff as I respect the current significance of the regular season games in the same way many of the playoff oppponents do. In fact, a limited playoff increases the importance of the regular season, imo.

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        • If we ever get to a point where we can actually eliminate polls from the equation, then a playoff will gain some validity, but the odds of there being 56 teams willing to step aside for the benefit of the other 64 are pretty slim. As it stands, a four-team playoff doesn’t really do anything better than the current system. It opens the number of people who get a chance, but it doesn’t address their actual merits. Like last season: if we have a four team playoff, who gets in? More importantly, which undefeated team gets left out last season? As soon as you start coming up with criteria on why one undefeated season was better than another undefeated season (or why one-loss Florida should get a spot), you’ve basically moved the game right back to where it is now, but rather than a one game spectacle, you’ve made a three game spectacle. That might be more enjoyable, but it’s not “better.”

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          • kevin

            This is the problem that so many playoff proponents glaze over. You’re going to have more teams that are 11-1 or 10-2 fighting over 1-2 spots in a 4,8,16, whatever team playoff then you ever will have undefeated teams fighting over who’s number 2 in the land rather than number 3 (and subsequently, left out of the MNC).

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            • Macallanlover

              The difference you are glazing over is the inclusiveness of every conference champion. That alone defuses any legit compaints about about it all being political, only spot would be “subjective”, so every fanbase would have to admit they had their chance. Big difference between the current system.

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              • There are eleven conferences and three independents. Do we disenfranchise Notre Dame, Army and Navy or force them to join a conference? If your eleven team playoff only took conference champs, then the tournament itself would have a defense, but you would successfully kill off any quality out of conference scheduling, because why risk wearing your players out in a high profile OOC game when only eight games a year actually count?

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  8. Tim Rankine

    Gamechickens represented the SEC well and were one of the top 10 or so teams in the country for most of the season. Whatever point Hale was attempting to make got washed out by the poor attempt at humor. Perno will have us back in omaha soon.

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  9. Dog in Fla

    Congratulations to South Carolina, always a strong baseball program (as it was even before joining The SEC) loaded with juco talent from Florida.

    I didn’t think any team in South Carolina’s bracket could have taken 2 of 3 from UCLA’s pitching, much less sweep. Very impressive.

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  10. Prov

    One question: What compromises would any of you be willing to make in regards to the playoff debate? Ideals are great, but the answers usually lie somewhere in the middle. Personally, I like the bowl system, but would be fine with a plus-one if there was no chance of expansion.

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    • Macallanlover

      I also like the bowl system, and hope it remains in some modifed fashion. It is great entertainment, and allows teams more practice. (I would like to see RS players allowed to compete since they have practiced since August with little reward, and these are basically exhibition games after the season is over.)

      The problem with the bowl season is it occurs too late to serve as a playoff venue. Waiting the entire month of December with no elimination games is a waste to me. An 8 team playoff could be concluded one week later than the current BCS format with only 2 teams playing after January 1.

      Any change will require compromise, and it will never guarantee a unanimous “best team”, but if it is inclusive of the conference champs, no one can deny they had a shot at a national title.

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  11. Dante

    I want as many real losable-for-either-team games as possible. I don’t care if playoffs give us that or not, but I’m so sick of top shelf teams being afraid to schedule real out-of-conference match-ups because it might hurt their chances of making it to a BCS bowl. If we’re not going to have a playoff that’s fine but we need some safeguards in place to make sure good teams play other good teams on a regular basis during the regular season.

    Other than the occasional profile-raising for lesser in-state schools (like Texas vs. Sam Houston State or Ohio State vs. Youngstown or Georgia vs. Georgia Southern or Georgia vs. Georgia Tech [zing]), there’s no justification for a team that should legitimately get a shot at the national title playing some of the schedules they’re playing. Maybe we need schedule-based entrance requirements for the national title game?

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    • That’s pretty tricky. Schedules are largely based on what we think a team will be rather than what they are. Like 2000 (*cringe*) – UCLA shot up the polls after beating 3rd ranked Alabama. By the end of the year, Alabama was 3-8. So, how much value did Alabama have for UCLA’s schedule? A lot more in August than it did in November.

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  12. PNWDawg

    Better question: how can you make the argument that a game ensures a more deserving winner?

    Have you ever seen one of those games where one team dominates the other but somehow the score stays close enough for the ‘lesser’ team to pull out the win. For most of the 2003 season I felt that way about the LSU game. Take away a blown coverage and a rare choke by Billy Bennett and we win that game. After all, we outgained them 411 yds to 285. (I realize this specific example may not be the best example but it helps illustrate my point.) But if we were allowed to vote on who the actual winner is I’m sure the Dawgs would have won. Sure, points count for something but shouldn’t other stats factor into who wins the game. As a voter I would consider how many opportunities we had to score. How about style points? No I’m not talking about running up the score. I’m talking about who has the best uni’s. We would have won that Alabama game with the blackout. Plus I would have given the Dawgs more ‘points’ for the 2nd half comeback.

    If we want the game to be subjective then let’s go all the way with it.

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  13. David Hale

    Just to add my two cents: I’m not a pro-BCS guy, but I also think it does a better job of making sure that two of the best teams play for a title every year. The BCS’s problem is that it also leaves open the very real possibility that a great team won’t get the chance to play for a title.

    Playoff systems have the opposite effect. They reward the hottest team, not necessarily the best. South Carolina lost to several inferior opponents, didn’t win its division or its conference and STUNK in the SEC tournament. But it got hot at the right time.

    Does that mean SC doesn’t deserve a national title? Of course not. It won under the system in place. But my point was never that one system is good and the other is not… simply that BOTH systems have flaws, and the BCS’s flaws are simply less accepted than a playoff’s flaws.

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    • Tim Rankine

      The St. Louis Cardinals won the World Series in 2006 with a barely above .500 record. The Marlins, as noted earlier, won the WS twice as a wild card entry. This is baseball, man, has been always. The attempt to compare the post-seasons of two different sports is blog post fail.

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  14. DawgPhan

    Ahh…playoff talk…why wont everyone just acknowledge that college football has the best 2 team playoff that money can buy.

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  15. hassan

    You can’t compare the baseball season with football. You don’t play multiple games/series vs. each opponent on your schedule for football. You don’t play the same number of different teams either.

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    • Puffdawg

      Tell that to all the people who bash CFB using March Madness as their fodder.

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    • You can’t, hunh… So why do extended playoff proponents play the “every other sport has a playoff” card every chance they get?

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    • hassan

      It’ll never be enough for them. Basketball is case in point. 64 teams is no longer enough.

      If we have an 8 team playoff for football, they’ll whine that it isn’t fair to the rest of the top 25. If we had a 120 team playoff, they’ll point to the App State/Michigan game and say that we should let in the top D-1AA schools as well. It won’t end, so don’t start.

      There are baby steps we can take to tweak the system we have to make it better. Let’s start there.

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  16. Hayduke

    Brother…. You won the NC…

    Please stop your whining, and learn to GLOAT.

    I know it’s a tough step, but if you guys are going to be winning NCs in the next few years, then this is how how it works.
    Repeat after me: “When we win, we Don’t whine”. “When we win, we deserve to win”. See? It’s pretty easy being a winner! Welcome and congratulations!

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    • 81Dog

      sadly for South Carolina fans, this is a lesson they need never worry about learning for football. Unless, of course, you want them to learn proper deportment in July and August, when they’re always going to be SEC champs and national contenders.

      but good work on the baseball thing, chickins. Any national championship takes a lot of hard work, solid play and a touch of good fortune. You’d know that if you ever won one before in anything, I guess. Maybe you’ll learn to bask in the joy of winning and not waste your time being all rabbit eared about what other people may have to say about it. You have the trophy. That really ends the discussion, doesn’t it?

      I guarantee you that the next time UGA wins a title in something, I won’t be trolling S Carolina boards worried that you all may not respect us. Heck, that would just make it a little better. Kind of like when we beat you in football most every year. See you in September!

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  17. Easy. Because they won the national championship.

    So it should all be over because a couple of series and a bad offensive run in the SEC tournament?

    Retarded.

    Just retarded.

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    • Puffdawg

      So I presume you’d have been ok with 2009 Florida, with it’s “bad offensive run in the SEC ‘tournament’,” winning the National Championship by way of their at-large entry into the almight playoff?

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