And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like…

Nothing like blowing a good point about how leaving schools to assemble portions of their football schedules is a valid argument about unfairness and the D-1 postseason by writing this:

What makes the NFL playoff bracket work is what a new college system will need: integrity.

Last year, while the college game fussed over the worthiness of LSU’s opponent in the BCS title game — Alabama or Oklahoma State — there was nary a protest when the sixth-seeded New York Giants won the Super Bowl, or when the Denver Broncos at 8-8 make the playoffs as a division champion.

“Nary a protest”?  Seriously?

I think I’m starting to get an allergic reaction to the use of the word integrity in the context of how sports organizations choose to separate the public from its money.

24 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, Media Punditry/Foibles

24 responses to “And then I go and spoil it all by saying something stupid like…

  1. Castleberry

    Nary a protest… I’m pretty sure I heard the 9-7 record of the Superbowl champs mentioned more than once. And that they lost to the Redskins twice.

  2. gastr1

    I don’t get why anyone worries so much about low-seeded champions–the regular season itself is not and has never been a static thing. Why do people pretend that the best team is something that can be carved in stone? Is it not possible that the true best team did not have the best record, i.e., had injuries, bad luck, a great performance from an opponent, or laid down a week or two–or perhaps even the best team at the end was not the same as the best team at the start?

    If you’ve been watching the NBA playoffs, does anyone still believe the Spurs are better than the Thunder?–and which of those two was the best team a month ago?

    • What are these “NBA playoffs” you speak of? ;)

    • or perhaps even the best team at the end was not the same as the best team at the start?

      Overall, that’s a pretty fair comment. However, I’d argue that the differences between the Spurs and Thunder are pretty marginal considering they played 9 total games this year and the record was 5-4 in favor of the Thunder. The Spurs were 3-1 at home and the Thunder were 4-1 at home. I don’t think that’s really a fair comparison to use from a head to head perspective. I’d say they were two teams that were pretty equal.

      Additionally, I want college football to reward the team that is best and most consistently best for the duration of the season. Not the team that gets on a hot streak at the end of it.

    • I do have one question for you though. How do you reconcile your comment with the team that just won the NHL title? They were so bad at one point this season that their head coach got fired and they barely snuck into the playoffs. They were never really any good during the regular season and just flipped a switch in the second season. They are a prime example of the regular season being worthless.

      • gastr1

        I don’t follow the NHL so I cannot comment on the specifics, but if I did I wouldn’t sweat over it–they won. Who cares about “best team”?–best team at the beginning of the year isn’t all that important, IMO.

        As for the NBA, though: OKC beat SAS four in a row. To that point, OKC’s only win against SAS had been early in the year when SAS had two players starting that were not used at all in the series. SAS was riding a 20-game win streak, was 10-0 in the playoffs, was 31-2 since the middle of the year; they were believed to be a shoo-in to win it and some thought they could go undefeated in the playoffs. And then OKC beat them FOUR STRAIGHT TIMES.

        Let OKC-SAS stand as “exhibit A” in illustrating my point.

        • gastr1

          (I think my comment about not caring about “best team” is more that a playoff run from a team that played poorly earlier does not necessarily mean said team is not the best at that moment. They just weren’t the best earlier, and the concept of “best team” is one that is fluid throughout any season: a collection of moments and turning points that is understood by players, coaches, fans to be most crucial at the end, which is why coaches speak of getting better with each game.)

          • I get that and the OKC/SA comparison is a fair argument for a playoff b/c they were pretty even throughout the season. The thing that chaps my ass with respect to the playoff discussion is that sports like baseball/basketball/hockey have a sufficiently large sample size (this is where they differ from football due to the limited sample size) to point and say “those are clearly the four or six best teams, let them play each other in a tournament to determine the best”.

            Why should half the league (some not deserving at all such as this year’s LA Kings, last year’s St. Louis Cardinals) get to press the reset button and magically find their stride when after 82 or 162 games they weren’t even good enough to win their own division? Shouldn’t being consistently good over an entire season count for something? I guess that’s the thing that gets me with football is that some team could find its stride for the last four games and end up winning the damn thing because it got into the playoff via the inevitable expansion which makes the playoff so large that it allows marginal 7-5, 8-4 teams to get in to get in is wild-cards/at-larges.

            • And to add a secondary point, it’s never going to be about a “fair way” to determine a national champion. It’s going to be about how to structure a playoff that earns the haves the most money. Once the football tournament expands, it’s going to serve the same purpose as the basketball tournament. Expansion of the basketball tournament didn’t provide inclusion for teams from the MAC/MWC/CUSA, it allowed mid to lower-tier teams from the ACC/Big East to claim more at-large bids. Once the football tournament expands, it’s just going to mean more at-large bids for the middle to lower class of the SEC/B1G/Big 12/Pac 12, not more slots for schools like Boise State.

              • gastr1

                No disagreement on any of your points. I guess I feel that, especially in a sport with multiple-game series, if you lose to a team that “simply” got hot then that team was better all along.

                Clearly that is not as easy a statement to make for football, which, admittedly, was what the original post was about.

                • gastr1

                  (What I will say, though, is that even in football the season is long and fluid, and injuries and unbalanced schedules play an even larger role in determining who is best.)

      • D.N. Nation

        The NHL is a unique animal entirely because great play in goal carries so much weight.

    • Mg4life0331

      But in football they wont be playing a best of 7 series, which is a great way to determine which one was better. If a football format was used, the Spurs would have won. Im not advocating a best of any series for football, but the two sports and their playoff structures are mutually exclusive imo.

  3. 81Dog

    but, but, but….everyone in the NFL (or in a division) doesnt play the same schedule!!!!! and you can win the division despite a worse division record than one of your division rivals!!!!! It aint fairrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr…..

    sheesh. Spurrier wont like this at all.

    • Brodie Bruce

      Further…The NFL sets the schedule every year to create the greatest number of matchups between teams that were good the previous season (which drives the TV package price up…and the number of commercials way up…and my interest in the game way down).

      Scheduling practices alone should render the NCAA Football as NFL anaolgy invalid.

  4. 81Dog

    THe NFL is a lousy template for college football. You have 32 teams that are all under the same salary cap rules (I’m looking at you, Auburn), the same draft rules, and the same free agent rules. Everyone has a fairly equal share of the money, and it’s all about how you manage your reasonably equal chance to build a team.

    Colleges? Look at the disparity in resources, player acquisitions, facilities. College sports will NEVER be like the NFL. Too many teams, too many haves, dont quite haves, and will never haves. Try again, pundits.

    • This is an excellent comment (especially for the Auburn snark). This is something that casual fan/pundit misses when pointing at the NFL playoff and telling college football “Look, it’s so easy!”.

      There is no such thing as haves or have-nots in the NFL. Sure, the Cowboys and Redskins make more money than other teams, but that doesn’t give them any advantage because they are limited to the same spending rules as everybody else. Additionally, the NFL schedule gets re-jiggered every year to increase parity. That ain’t happening in college football anytime soon.

      • Otto

        Now should it ( reach for parity), and that is a reason why CFB is so much more intersting and passionate than the NFL.

        A .500 team making the championship is a disgrace. I’m not for a playoff that allows a mediocre team to get hot at the right time to win a title. I’m also against a conf champs only mod. What would be the point in scheduling out of conf?

        The current system isn’t perfect but far more times than not has worked. (in determining a true champ) Further, Okie St. did not belong in the title game. The current system also creates excitement and debate. A 9-7 record may have been discussed before the game but who cares now?

        • AusDawg85

          +1 The crowd that is OK with a “hot” team winning just the playoffs (which is what…2 games, maybe 3?) might as well just pull two random teams out of a hat at the end of the season, have them play and declare the winner “champion” since all teams play a regular season schedule, results be damned.

  5. gastr1

    How would we feel about the 2007 Georgia season–was that a hot team or a team deserving of making the national championship game (which it almost did) and finishing #2? Which team was the real team that year, the one from the first seven games or the one from last six?