In opining about where college football needs to go with the BCS, the man who helped invent it raises the Analogy That Shall Not Be Named.
“There is a danger in this of going too far, and you can see that to a degree through basketball,” Kramer said. “We’ve left college basketball as a one-month sport, because people are only interested in March. They’re not interested in college basketball in December or January, because people view those games as preliminary games. You have to be careful, because college football is different.
“College football is the backbone of college athletic programs, and you’ve got to make the regular season significant and keep it significant. So whatever structure you come up with, you cannot overlook the regular season and the importance of what that is to all of our programs.”
Now he’s not saying that from a fan’s perspective. Keeping the regular season significant for Kramer is merely a means to an end, which is keeping the regular season highly profitable. (Not that I’m going to complain if our interests coincide.)
One thing to consider, though. Since it’s apparent that some of the motivation behind the recent plus-0ne chatter is a knee-jerk response to a dip in attendance and viewership numbers with the bowls, how do you think college football’s grand poobahs will react to this news?
16 responses to “Roy Kramer dares to compare.”
Just curious… what is Kramer doing these days except one interview after another?
Chillin in luxury, I’m sure.
Who are these “people” everyone keeps referencing when the discussion of college basketball comes up? I am a person, and I pay attention to college hoops for the entire season. Casual fan? Yes, casual fan pays attention to March. Secretary who fills out a bracket for money pays attention to March (but may not watch much of it). Am I to believe that casual fan who can’t be bothered to watch a regular season hoops game is plugged in to the football season from start to finish? Hardly. I get that the regular season matters more in football. But it also matters in hoops. Apples are apples and oranges are oranges.
The argument that football will become basketball misses two key points:
1) There is no competitive Labor Market for college football players. The bigger issue for college basketball is that instead of having 40-60 lottery players and quality depth, the NBA’s labor agreement allows players to go to the pros after only one year. Plus, they can play competitively overseas or not play at all (see Brandon Jennings, Enes Kanter, and to some extent, Kyrie Irving) and still be lottery picks. It’s not a quality product. ACC regular season matchups used to be must see basketball…the reason the tourney has ‘replaced’ that has as much to do with the fact that it a specific event that allows us to just cheer for the school and not worry about the fact that they players can’t hit water from a boat when they shoot.
2) Sample Size. Americans don’t have the patience for seeing what the parts of the pie add up to equal. Too many games means they might actually have to be patient to see who deserves to make the postseason. 1/32 will always be less significant than 1/10. That’s why the argument that the current system produces the ‘best’ team while a playoff produces a champion is so stupid. If we really wanted to know the best team, we would ask for, no demand, a lager sample size. Alas..we like our football wrapped with a bow and when outcomes like seeing a team play twice (Florida v. FSU in 95 or Bama v. LSU in 2011) and splitting those games occurs…we gnash teeth because our simple scheme’s flaws are laid bare.
One other point…don’t miss the fact that the one and done rule kills depth. For example, does Anthony Davis or Teague sign with Kentucky if Kanter and Knight are still there? What if Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe and Orton had to play through their JR years…does Knight or Teague or Kanter or MKG or Davis end up there? If a team with Wall, Cousins, Bledsoe and Orton as juniors was playing a regular season game with a team comprised of Knight, Davis, Kanter, and Teague, it would be more compelling, correct?
What if those guys having to wait makes the draft pool so large that people like Trey Thompkins and Travis Leslie have no reason not to play out their 4 years because they would have no real allusion of being 1st rounders as juniors?
NCAA football survives unscathed thanks to the NFLPA. If that barrier is ever lifted….with the lure of a draft that takes 7 rounds of players…we’ll see if it is a post-season tournament that is causing the decline in regular season attendance or not.
Why not take the BCS to college basketball and eliminate the NCAA tournament? That’s sure to generate more money for the schools right?
Too late to unring that bell. But the major conferences would love to do that.
Can you guys expound, b/c I’m not sure that makes any sense. The major conferences would love to do what exactly? And what do you mean by taking the BCS to college basketball?
By saying ‘too late to unring that bell’ I assume you are giving credence to the fact that there is no way a paying public will believe that a computer and a panel of retired coaches can put together 1 game (or one playoff series) that will ‘decide’ a championship in college basketball now that they have seen a method that while self described as ‘madness’ at least ends up with a champion vetted through a ‘win or go home’ process.
By “unring”, I meant shrink the tourney and take control away from the NCAA.
The point is who controls the money. Large tournaments involving many teams and leagues must, by their nature, split the money between many teams and leagues. This is not something the preeminent football conferences are eager to do.
The point is not what method achieves best determines a national champion. Assuming there is even some way to objectively rate those methods, it’s still a separate issue.
They couldn’t do that today. They need the mid-majors to create a compelling product.
Could they have done it in 1994? Sure. But the convergence of the NBA expanding from 1988 to 1995 by 6 teams and stories like Kevin Garnett makes that about the last year they could have done it.
The ACC had probably 20-30 legitimate NBA prospects in 1994…and they were surrounded by players who were college greats. Tim Duncan, Joe Smith, Stackhouse, Wallace, Montross, Travis Best, Childress, Grant Hill, Eric Montross, Sharone Wright, Charlie Ward, Antonio Lang, Cherokee Parks, Bob Sura, Corey Alexander, Junior Burrough, Todd Fuller, and Jeff McInnis…and those guys were surrounded by men playing basketball. Not 18 year olds…but men. Guys like Derrick Phelps, Keith Booth, Kevin Salvadori, Chris Collins, Eric Meek, Jeff Capel…think about the quality of the product. In the ACC in 94, every single team had a future first round pick on it. And they were surrounded by guys like Johnny Rhodes, Xree Hipp, Donte Calabria, Trelonie Owens, etc. etc.
The NBA expanded by 4 teams in 88-89. In 1990, only one underclassman was drafted in the first round. Same in 1991. But the numbers of juniors leaving early kept rising. In 1993, underclassmen went 1,2. In 1994, Grant Hill was the only senior in the first 7 picks. In 95, the first 5 picks were soph, soph, soph, soph, and Kevin Garnett….thus the beginning of the end of compelling college basketball during the regular season.
I don’t get why one-and-done renders regular season non-compelling, but not the postseason. Aren’t the same players and coaches involved in both?
Yes…but I would say that the tournament is less about watching basketball and more about ‘the tournament.’ I’m going to caveat this and say this is my opinion and I don’t have time to look up data…but….Of the millions of folks filling out brackets, how many have actually watched any games? How many care about the names on the backs of the jerseys? There is a lot of peer pressure when it comes to what people pay attention to in this country and there is a certain aura around the tournament because it is perceived as must see TV and bracket pools. Folks just don’t pay attention to the fact that the quality of play is down…although I think that will eventually catch up with them.
At the same time, peer pressure works the other way as far as the regular season goes. Folks that love basketball aren’t that into watching bad games with bad players whose names you don’t recognize. People see true basketball fans tuning out…and they figure it isn’t worth their time either. The preseason tourneys used to come around and you would get excited…Kansas plays Cincy in the Great 8 in Chicago? Awesome…Kansas will have back LaFrentz, Haas, Vaughn, Pollard and I can’t wait to see if All American Freshman Paul Pierce takes the next step his Sophomore year…plus, Cincy has player of the year candidate Danny Forston, Damon Flint, Danny Burton returning…and I can’t wait to see how transfer Ruben Patterson fits in. Compared to today…let’s watch a bunch of kids whose names we don’t recognize play basketball on an air craft carrier!!! Look! An Air Craft Carrier!!!!
I agree with you on this. College basketball has positioned itself for the casual fan, because that’s where the money is now.
That’s ridiculous. I’m sure this person you refer to as “college basketball” would have preferred to keep its talent pool high and continued to be relevant to both the casual and die hard fan.
Let’s not pretend that focusing on the tournament is anything but necessity…and that isn’t working particularly well. Tournament ratings are lower than they were in the early 90s. In the 70s and 80s, the NCAA championship game was required viewing, bringing a 30 share yearly. I think the ratings for the championship has only cracked 20 once in the last 14 years.
The analogy that ‘basketball tournament’ = ‘diminished regular season’ is 100% flawed. There is no correlation over the history of the tournament that suggests increased interest in the tourny had led to decreased interest in the regular season.
Run the same analysis on whether players foregoing 3 seasons of eligibility has any correlation to diminished interest in the regular season and then thank your lucky stars that Maurice Clarett lost.
I blame global warming. When it was too cold to have other night sports in winter except for visiting a warm gymnasium, BBall became the social place to gather. Warmer nights came along and many couples pull over and never make it to the game. How’s that for thinking inside the box?