(Brackets) Taste great! Less filling!

Judging from the number and intensity of the comments, yesterday’s post about Dan Shanoff’s observations on last weekend’s craziness struck a nerve or a chord, depending upon your point of view.  So here’s some fresh bait to fuel the feeding frenzy:

  • I got several e-mails about this piece at the Wall Street Journal.  It makes for a good counterpart to the “if World War II were decided like the BCS” exercise I saw repeatedly last year.
  • Dan Wetzel thinks Jim Delany is a puss for not pushing for a football playoff.  Yeah, that’s it, Dan.
  • To answer Jeff Schultz’ question, no.  But I’d likely have a different answer if Georgia had qualified for a berth in a 16-team NCAA playoff.
  • And if this isn’t the quintessential “you’re a moron for thinking a playoff would water down the regular season” line of thought, I don’t know what is:

… The argument against a playoff is that it would lessen the importance of games such as Iowa State’s 37-31 double OT upset over Oklahoma State, which was two victories away from playing for the BCS title before stumbling in Ames.

Maybe it would, but wouldn’t that be more than made up by the fact that additional teams would be alive in the national championship chase as the season winds down?

   Just say “I like brackets”.  In the end, it’ll make both of us happier.


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

60 responses to “(Brackets) Taste great! Less filling!

  1. Rusdawg

    I hate brackets. The most I will ever be able to stomach is a +1.

    • Chopdawg

      The Senator sounds like Rush Limbaugh, back on the good stuff, with his constant tirades about “brackets.”

      Maybe there’s more than one note to the anti-BCS tune, Senator.

  2. Take the champions from the top eight conferences and throw them in brackets.

    The whole Bama debate has made me realize that I don’t want two teams from the same conference in the championship game or in any playoff system. The conference championship should sort that argument out.

    • Keese

      Exactly. This is where the debate should end. Match the higher ranked confetence champs against your lower conference champs and play it on the field. Create the brackets where the second round would give your classic bowl reps such as Rose Bowl Pac10 vs Big 10 if both teams made it past the first round

    • Biggus Rickus

      Why the top eight? Would a one-loss MAC champion be obviously less deserving than a team like 2007 Hawaai out of the WAC? Once you include any small conference champ,you have to include them all. Which will in turn force the inclusion of the at-large teams to balance things out.

      • UGAfoo

        No at-large bullshit. You take the top 8 conference champs based on BCS rankings. If you don’t have 8 conference champs ranked in the BCS, then you go to the conference rankings. This makes each conference game that much more meaningful. You don’t win your conference and you are done.

        Looking at the picture today and projected conference winners you would have…

        1. SEC – LSU (1)
        2. Big 12 – Oklahoma State (5)
        3. ACC – Virginia Tech (6)
        4. Conference USA – Houston (8)
        5. PAC-12 – Oregon (9)
        6. Big Ten – Michigan State (11)
        7. Mountain West – TCU (19)
        8. Big East – Louisville (NA, based on conference rankings)

        Left Bracket
        LSU vs Louisville
        Houston vs Oregon

        Right Bracket
        Oklahoma State vs TCU
        Virginia Tech vs Michigan State

        • Chopdawg

          Hell, just take the top 16 teams in the BCS rankings, then feed the playoff games into the bowls. Forget about conference champions–for the national championship playoff, they’ve been irrelevant for the past several years anyway.

  3. I wonder

    I haven’t seen or heard a projection, but is it at all possible that LSU could match up with Bama in the BCS with NEITHER being SEC champ? LSU and Bama win convincingly Sat., the stars align and we beat LSU. LSU and Bama are still 1-2 in the BCS? Uproar, anyone?

    • King Jericho

      I’ve read that if Arkansas beats LSU barely, then we beat Arkansas in the SECCG, that would put Bama and LSU back at 1 and 2. That scenario should immediately cause the destruction of the BCS if they get to play for the championship and neither won their division.

      • Nate Dawg

        Egggggzackly. Mike and Mike – while spending both minutes that they do on college football yesterday (except for when they go on and on about Notre Dame) – on espn just yesterday morning suggested that even if LSU gets to Atl and looses to us and then Bama beat the barn that they’d STILL (they being LSU & Bama) rematch for the Nat’l Champ. And they just took it as if that’d be second nature or the logical choice. Normally I’d say that’s crazy. But we’re talking about espn here, who seems to have an unstoppable amount of power when it comes to these things, so watch out.

  4. Tduga1

    Judging from yesterday’s active response senator, should your traffic ever decline you know what subject to cue up. Definitely a hot button issue.

  5. G Marmalarde

    “The defeat marked the second time this season that a mediocre, double-digit underdog tore apart the Sooner secondary for over 400 yards passing”

  6. Normaltown Mike

    You’ve got to have some 5 – 12 upsets, they happen every year!

    I’ve got Wake Forest over Oklahoma as one of mine.

  7. Castleberry

    What if Georgia wins the SEC and Bama and LSU still play a rematch for the national title?? Never say never. We’d just need a couple more weekends like the last one.

    The thing nobody wants to admit is that college football’s system comes closer to getting it right than any other.

    • Biggus Rickus

      Actually, I think some kind SEC rematch is inevitable unless something crazy happens or voters collude to keep it from happening. The only natural way to avoid it would involve Auburn upsetting Bama, Arkansas upsetting LSU, Georgia upsetting Arkansas, and OSU, Va. Tech, or maybe Houston winning out. I don’t look for many of those, much less all of them to happen.

      • Biggus Rickus

        One corection. LSU could beat Arkansas so long as Auburn beats Bama. One of other one-loss teams would still have to win out.

      • Macallanlover

        You are right, it will take a major upset to prevent this. Should sen everyone into a tizzy. It will also allow the Senator to shamelessly build up his hit count to increase his holiday bonus by using the “bracket” word daily.

    • How this happens….
      Arkansas beats LSU, but LSU doesn’t fall below Bama while Arkansas rises above them. We play Arkansas in the SEC C, and win, while Oklahoma St and Va Tech (and perhaps one or two more) suffer a loss in the remaining two weeks.

      Unlikely, highly unlikely, but then so would have been LSU’s backdooring in to the big game in 2007.

  8. Since we both seem to have a realistic take on this Senator, that both systems has flaws, why not address the real issue: Money.

    That’s what this is all about, and the powers that be prove it at every turn. Super conferences are apart of consolidating power and to stop the slow bleed of money in to the Boise’s, Utah’s, TCU’s, etc in non majors. They may lead to a playoff, or a +1, but that takes someone stepping up with the money. It’s why the BCS is now willing to let Jerrahworld, and I’d like to think Atlanta will make bids too, vie for the big game since they’ll offer tons, and force the current rotation of Miami, LA, Tempe, New Orleans increase their offers. If Mark Cuban and Jerry Jones and Fox Sports stepped in with an offer for playoffs trumping what these schools and power conferences make off bowls, they’d do it in a heartbeat. But they have a sweetheart deal with not only the BCS, but the side bowls too, and no one has ever been able to come up with a concrete offer topping that pay.

    As Big Dan Teague said, “It’s ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, BOYS!”

    • You left one thing out – yes, it’s about the money, but it’s also about making sure the distribution flow of the money doesn’t change.

      Delany knows where every penny comes and goes. The lastest set of BCS proposals reflects that. I doubt you see an extended D-1 playoff until the superconferences come into being and lock every other school out. And why should they do otherwise, since there’s still plenty of money to squeeze out of the current arrangement?

      The saddest thing of all is listening to people argue for what they think the fans want. We’re the lowest rung on the ladder. If even that.

      • I didn’t leave that out. As I say, the whole point of expanding in to the so called super conferences is to gobble up the TCU’s, Utah’s, and Boise’s that have been stealing their BCS money for lesser conferences. And I mention the key part in getting a better offer. It isn’t the NCAA that needs the offer, as they hold little to no sway in this thing. It is the Big We Can’t Count, the SEC, the Pac 12, Texas (since they run the Big [not] 12), and maybe the ACC now that they are picking the bones of the Big East, that have to see the offer, and see an offer that guarantees them greater revenue, and probably greater control so they don’t have the risk of losing that revenue, than they have with the current system.

        But yeah, the fans, the players, and the best interest of the game is not at issue here. It’s money, pure and simple and only money.

      • King Jericho

        Does the money not come from the fans?

        But I suppose if we’re going to watch whatever they give us, they’re getting our money no matter what, huh?

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        I actually want to wait for that.

        The state of Florida was the warning signal: UCF, USF, etc. If you want to keep your flagship somewhat elite within the state system, then you have to grow the satellites. UNC-Charlotte’s bigger than UNC now, and the others will follow at some point.

        Lock in the system we have and get the noise out of the system. Otherwise, we’re going to end up in football where we ended in basketball: jokers like FIU hiring jokers like Isiah Thomas to try to separate from the other 299 D-1 programs.

        Honestly, I’m looking forward to them trimming basketball as well. Sorry, Oakland State — you’re not doing much for me as 16-seed fodder. I’d much rather watch Duke at least break a sweat against the 7th or 8th team from the Pac-12. Sorry. I do.

    • Puffdawg

      “But they have a sweetheart deal with not only the BCS, but the side bowls too, and no one has ever been able to come up with a concrete offer topping that pay.”

      Actually, I think you whiffed here. The sweetheart of a deal the power players have right now are the regular season TV contracts. The BCS bowl payouts are nice, but they don’t touch the regular season TV deals. And do you know what drives those deals? Eyeballs on TV sets, which could be diminshed with a playoff. That’s why the power conferences aren’t in a hurry to change the post season format.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault

        Right. And a limited play-off system can add some value to that, but only if it’s being fed by guaranteed ratings draws (Texas, USC, Georgia, Michigan rather than Cincinnati and Boise State) and only if its distributing to the conferences that house the big draws. Otherwise, it’s a diluted product on both counts, with a critical mass of votes through the currently comprised NCAA clamoring for expansion to sweeten the centralized (NCAA playoff) pot at the expense of the localized (reg. season-conferences) pots.

        We’ll have a play-off as soon as ESPN and Fox are comfortable they are in good legal standing to negotiate a package with the Big 5 or 6 conferences.

  9. Dante

    To answer Schutlz’ question, no, under no circumstances should Georgia sit Crowell against Tech if he can at all play. I don’t care if the SEC is on the line, you do everything in your power to beat your top recruiting rival. Winning the SEC brings in recruits, but never underestimate the importance of beating Tech like a rented mule.

    • Why anyone still reads his trolling nonsense is beyond me. That article is about getting hits, no more, no less. No one with any sense would say that a healthy Crowell sits Saturday.

  10. JasonC

    I saw that last article and thought instantly of you. When I had some time later in the day to fwd it to you, I couldn’t remember where I’d seen it, but figured it wasn’t a big loss.

  11. Playoffs in any form will just reinforce further the dominance of the SEC.

  12. BulldogBen

    Senator, I enjoy your blog but your defense of the BCS or attacks on playoffs are your fatal flaw.

    Just like talking politics or religion with family over Thanksgiving, I’ll just avoid these posts and enjoy the turkey and beer.

    It’s like a liberal and conservative arguing over Health Care. There are no winners.

  13. BulldogBen

    I mean, yeah. It’s great. But that’s like saying “I hate the war, but support the troops”. Or maybe it isn’t. Point is that defending the regular season is still a statement on the post-season.

    Wait, DAMNIT. I’ve been sucked in.

    Pass me a Two Hearted Ale and some more stuffing……

  14. Rambone

    Hypothetical: If there were a guarantee that a playoff would never consist of more than 8 teams, would there be any legitimate reasons for not having it?

    I’m looking for non-selfish reasons here. “I want to attend every Georgia game in person” doesn’t count.

    • Puffdawg

      I’ll answer your question with a question. What makes you think, based on the history of the NCAA with respect to playoffs, makes you think there is any possibility whatsoever a playoff could ever be capped at 8 teams?

      • Rambone

        Nothing makes me think that. That’s why I called it hypothetical.

        I’m trying to nail down the reasons a reasonable, rational person would be afraid of a playoff. So far, the only one that I’ve come up with is fear of anything bigger than an 8 team playoff. That seems like a reasonable, legitimate fear. Everything else seems to be horsecrap.

        • Puffdawg

          In order for me to help you, I need to know:
          (1) what do you hope to accomplish with a playoff?
          (2) all playoff proposals are not the same. What is yours?

          • Rambone

            I’ll start by answering #2…
            – 5 automatic berths going to the champions of the following leagues: SEC, Pac-12, Big 12, Big Ten, and ACC
            – 3 at-large berths that everyone is eligible for
            – 3 week tournament (or 4 if an off week is included), with round 1 (and possibly round 2) being played at the higher seed’s home stadium

            As for #1, I want to take a handful of the teams that had the best regular seasons and have them battle it out on the field. The winner will be crowned national champion.

            • Puffdawg

              Here’s my problem with your specific proposal. When you include at-larges, the process is subjective. Granted, more teams would have access to the subjective process. But as we’ve seen with every other post season run by the NCAA, expansion WILL occur, especially with an arbitrary number of inclusions of at large teams. Why not 5? Or 7? The more teams we have in the post season, the more rematches we’ll see, right? And thus the regular season matchups would lose meaning? Is this something with which you don’t agree?

              Some examples of this would be 2006 OSU-Mich, 2008 and 2009 SEC Championships, and 2011 LSU Bama. Under your proposal, those games would be nothing more than an exercise in seeding. They don’t really matter in the grand scheme – because both teams are getting into the playoff – and they CERTAINLY lose all value with respect to who is eligible to win the championship. In other words, the losers of all four of those games undoubtedly would have still been eligible for the national title, so really who cares who wins those games as long as the loser wins the post season tournament? But, under the current format, those games have a Super Bowl feeling because the loser goes home. Those games mean EVERYTHING. Do see what I’m saying? Even if you cap the field at 8 teams, the four aforementioned losers likely get into the playoff.

              As for the purpose of your playoff, every year is different, and there are years where we need more than just #1 vs #2. I don’t doubt this at all. But VERY VERY rarely do we legitimately need more than 4. This is why I would probably be ok with a Plus One, if it where designed properly. I think while your intentions are good, they are naive at best. We live and die with every big game right now in CFB, and I fear once we get to 16 teams, the “Game of the Century” we get every year right now will be little more than just another game on the road to the playoffs. And here is where most playoff supporters miss the (my) point: “meaningless” and “less meaning” are not the same thing. I don’t think the regular season in a playoff world would be meaningless. But I do think it would lose meaning. People would still go to games. They’d still cheer their hearts out. But ultimately you could rationalize a loss with “well we can still make the playoffs.” Right now, you can’t do that.

              • Rambone

                I just flat-out disagree that going from a 2 to 8 team playoff will have anything more than a small impact on the meaning of regular season games. Would the meaning of LSU-Bama, episode I been any different this year if there was an 8 team playoff waiting instead of a 2 team national title game? It looks like both teams are going to be in the big game this year, so the answer would be “no”. Would the meaning of Oklahoma-Oklahoma State be any different? No, because the loser would not get in an 8 team playoff.

                The whole premise of my argument has been to ignore anything larger than an 8 team playoff, so I won’t address any of your concerns about a 16 team version. I maintain that the only legit fear of a playoff is expanding beyond 8 teams.

              • UGAfoo

                Now how exactly was the “Game of the Century” meaningful? It appears that it did not matter at all.

                If a playoff system was restricted to conference champions, then every conference game becomes critical.

                • Puffdawg


                  • Puffdawg

                    Wow. Please excuse the post. Pesky iphone! And porters.

                    I was trying to say you’re only rebuttal of my case is the possibility of a rematch between Bama and LSU. It hasn’t happened yet, and it has never happened in 15 years of the BCS. So, while it MAY happen, the point remains that regular season games like the four I mentioned are undeniably CRUCIAL to win, because the loser always goes home. Until we actually see LSU Bama in the final game, your counterpoint is invalid. And even if we do see that rematch, I still maintain that it almost NEVER happens.

                    • My real argument is that any playoff should only involve conference champions. The conferences themselves should sort out their own best team.

      • Because college basketball has 300+ teams if I’m not mistaken, and they all get their cut with the NCAA running the show. Major college football could be just a handful of conferences, and under 100 teams. I don’t think any more than 24 would be feasible under the current #s, and if super conferences continue to expand their control, you could arguably end up with 64 from the start, where the regular season reduces those numbers down, and you’re left with just the 8 as the top 2 teams in 4 conferences of 16.

        • … you could arguably end up with 64 from the start, where the regular season reduces those numbers down, and you’re left with just the 8 as the top 2 teams in 4 conferences of 16.

          Now you’re talking.

          • For Georgia Sports Illustrated’s ‘This Week’s Sign of the Apocalypse’:
            The Senator and one of the boys of Sports and Grits are like minded and in total agreement on a particular topic. Don’t go buying green bananas ladies and gents.

  15. Did any of the pro play-off folks read the Wall Street Journal 8 team bracket article. I believe that article (hyper-linked by the Senator) is all that needs to be said about play-offs. The assumption that adding more complex rules and factors makes for a more sensible result does not understand Accum’s Razor. Simpler is better. If LSU wins the SEC championship just declare them National champs. Finis

    • Rambone

      Wouldn’t any team other than an undefeated LSU be getting a mulligan if they are placed in the national title game?

      Teams get mulligans all the time in the current format. It will happen this year. It happened in 2008 (Florida and Oklahoma). It happened in 2007 (LSU and Ohio State). It happened in 2006 (Florida). Should I go on?

      • No … no need I said declare LSU champs … no mulligans. My real point is playoffs bring no more clearity than what we have . There are no simple answers accept that, deal with it , Even with a playoff the National Champs will ALWAYS be mythical(sp ?)

    • And if LSU loses to Arkansas, or Georgia? How simple is it then? Yeah, that has to happen first. But we’re talking about the rare year where there is a clear cut #1 at the end, and most years leave a lot more murkiness.

  16. Rambone

    Then we fundamentally disagree. I think there’s more clarity with an 8 team playoff than there is with the current system. It’s not perfect, just better – a better way of determining a champion. Win it on the field, not in the court of public opinion.

  17. PNWDawg

    Jim Mora. Not brackets.