Speaking truth to greed

I ❤ Paul Rhoads.  Sure, he may have coached at Auburn, but he left… and he makes sense with this:

“Once we open up this door, the flood gates open up to a certain level. As soon as you start four, there is going to be a group that will start pushing for eight. Then, they’ll start pushing for 16. We’re not going to be able to stop that,” said Iowa State coach Paul Rhoads. “And the more you do that, the more the bowls get weakened, the more the experience gets taken away from players, the less relevance you have to every Saturday.

“Every game is important, and game day in college football is second to none.”

I couldn’t have said it better myself.

He’s not alone in that sentiment.  The results of an American Football Coaches Association survey show pretty overwhelming opposition to a college football playoff.  (Although note that 9% of ’em prefer a 24-school playoff, if it comes to that.) That makes for an interesting contrast with their basketball brethren, some of whom haven’t met a playoff large enough to suit them yet.

Folks at the bowls not considered top tier sound a little nervous, too.  Even Mike Slive concedes they have some reason to worry.

While Slive said the intention is to enhance bowl exposure for league teams, even he can’t be positive it won’t have an opposite effect to some degree.

And that could have a domino effect. Depending on how the system is rearranged, many bowls might have to battle to stay relevant. Take the Holiday Bowl in San Diego, which since 2010 has had the third or fourth selection from the Pac-12 and fifth or sixth from the Big 12. That’s where the Champions Bowl and a four-team playoff could become factors.

If the Sugar or Fiesta Bowl — where the SEC and Big 12 champs currently go, respectively, if not in the BCS title game — become part of the playoff rotation or a permanent part of the new SEC-Big 12 agreement, how will that affect the selection process for other bowls tied to those conferences?

“It could (have a negative impact) but not necessarily,” Slive said. “It really depends a little bit more on how the BCS plays out.”

The general impression you get is that while they know what direction the car is pointed in (Wetzel:  “The No. 1 reason that they’re expanding, and it’s the No. 1 reason anything changes in America, is money…”), nobody really can say for sure where it’s going to stop.  Quite the business plan, no?


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

37 responses to “Speaking truth to greed

  1. DB

    Which choice of the 4 best teams or the plus one is thought to satisfy the playoff proponents the longest?

  2. Macallanlover

    Same old tired argument, of course it will expand from 4 to eight….because four teams is no more a complete solution than is two. Being afraid to do the right thing is nothing new in history. We raised the driving speed back to 70 because it was the right thing to do, didn’t mean some would prefer more, or abuse it. You can’t not build the airplane because someone will act recklessly, or be excessive. The NFL, NBA, NHL, etc., took it too far, but that doesn’t mean we should deny CFB fans the logical process to have a NC. Of course there will be an expansion from 4 to 8, because four is half-assed and doesn’t allow enough inclusion. I feel when we get to eight it will stop because everyone will realize the time constraints are as far as we can go, and that every legit contender had a shot at making the eight team field. Could this be done with 5 or six teams? Sure, but eight allows total representation of all the power conferences, and room for two teams that deserve a shot. No one has a complaint about being overlooked, and that makes the NC legit.

    Better to do away with the BCS title game than to pretend 2 or 4 teams solves anything on the field. Let’s make the regular season games mean something for once and have a true champion. The current process has led to weaker regular season schedules, and a pretend champion voted in by folks that have an agenda, haven’t seen enough of the teams play, and may not really care about the vote. With six conferences being represented from results on the field, the voter impact is minimized.

    • Dawgfan Will

      Why would 1A stop at 8 when 1AA didn’t?

      • Macallanlover

        #1, I don’t think the economics would allow them to take back home games/revenue from the regular season to accommodate the extra round of games.
        But more importantly, #2, logistics. The small schools do not have tens of thousands of money donors who would insist on seeing two, if not all, of the playoff games. Allowing travel time, hotel rooms and flight arrangements means you cannot play games without at least two weeks between rounds. 8 works perfectly with conference chmpionships the first week of December, four home games for the top seeds in mid-December, two games on January 1 (or so), and a championship game at a mid-continent dome in mid-January. Not time for another round without lopping off part of the regular season which would cut the economics for all schools. Not to say there are some fans who would cry for expansion.

    • Mac, I think the standard reply to this is that in most years, the two best teams are clearly identified and adding any more than two waters down the process. That isn’t always the case, but I think results would show this to be close.

      • Macallanlover

        You and I have different opinions on this. I feel there is often a worthy team or two who simply get moved down because so many sheep accept the ratings from polls. I also think 2011 is a great example of not having decided anything. The regular season and the SEC Championship were both demeaned. The two teams split in the regular season so should we have co-champs? What about Oklahoma State who lost to neither and represented a conference with decent teams.

        Look at all the years that tosu, michigan, and notre dame were anointed champ while playing a weak schedule. Or BYU in the 80s? Or TN in 1998, do you really think that team could have prevailed and won 3 games against top contenders? Or how did we decide anything in 2003when USC was handed half of a title just for spite?

        We will never have a system that guarantees we will know who was the best that year, but we should have a champion who had to prove their worthiness against solid contenders. That is the difference. I understand others feel differently, but there are many of us who do respect the awarding of ANY title, we feel it should be earned. That has yet to happen 1A. The SEC title is the most significant title available in CFB, doesn’t mean that is/was the best team but they were the most tested, on the field, against quality competition.

        • AusDawg85

          Go ahead and list the 8 teams you would have had in the playoffs this past season…and you will be “wrong” in your justification for at least 3 of them. Defining the difference between #8 or #9 is worse than #1 & #2.

          • Macallanlover

            No, I wouldn’t be “wrong” because allowing representatives from conferences isn’t “wrong”. It provides legitimacy and shuts them up. If you mean to say there were not eight teams that could really win a playoff, I agree. But since you do not ever know when a strong team with good creds will emerge from a Big 10/11/12, or a Big East, you include them to allow that region to be represented and not throwing stones.

            Last year I would have had the six major conference winners, Bama, and TCU (I think that was the other but don’t want to go back and look it up.) Providing inclusion isn’t a negative, it is the exclusion that causes the lack of belief that we ever know who should be the champ. In my opinion, there are usually only 3-4 teams that seem to deserve a spot, but since no one can agree on schedules and who deserves respect, let the conference champ represent their area of the country. It hurts nothing. Sometimes the ACC and Big Whatever has a team capable of competing.

            • Always Someone Else's Fault

              Clemson 2011 in a playoff. West Virginia 2011 in a playoff. Stanford out of a playoff. #15 and #23 in, #4 out. I’d rather leave a potentially deserving team out every other year than put in two teams annually who simply managed to be the least crappy team in a down conference.

              Clemson lost convincingly (average of 20 points) to 3 teams with collectively 12 losses. WVU lost 49-23 to Syracuse (5-7) and 38-35 to Louisville (7-6), in addition to getting hammered by LSU. They had no business being in a playoff just because they had the good fortune of playing in two incredibly weak conferences.

              By the way, Louisville (7-6) tied WVU for conference record and beat WVU head to head. You could argue WVU was an illegitimate Big East champion. Where does this fairness argument end?

              Playoffs are going to kill CFB. We’ll have a “valid” champion and an homogenized sport. Instead of arguing about 2004 Auburn or Oklahoma or 2011 Alabama and Oklahoma State, we’ll be arguing whether money or playoffs ruined everything. Can’t wait.

              • AusDawg85

                Thank you ASEF…you proved my point why Mac would be “wrong”. And if one advocates sticking to the BCS rankings, need I go on about how more “wrong” that would be, trying to distinguish #8 and #9?

            • Mac, I appreciate the way you stick to your guns about an 8-team playoff, but your rationale here opens the door to something bigger than that. If there are only three or four schools in a typical year that are deserving of playing in a title game, but the field should be widened because of lack of consensus beyond those and college football should take more in just to be sure the championship is validated, there’s little reason to stop where you want, because there are likely to be more than another four teams in that part of the debate.

              And contrary to your assertion, it would hurt something – the regular season.

              • AthensHomerDawg

                By Tom Petty

                If you reach back in your memory

                Alittle bell might ring
                ‘Bout a time that once existed
                When money wasn’t king
                If you stretch your imagination
                I’ll tell you all a tale
                About a time when everything
                Wasn’t up for sale
                There was this cat named johnny
                Who loved to play and sing
                When money wasn’t king

                We’d all get so excited when
                John would give a show
                We’d raise the cash between us
                And down the road we’d go
                To hear him play that music
                It spoke right to my soul
                Every verse a diamond
                Every chorus gold
                The sound was my salvation
                It was only everything
                Before money became king

                Well I ain’t sure how it happened
                And I don’t know exactly when
                But everything got bigger
                And the rules began to bend
                And the tv taught the people
                How to get their hair to shine
                And how sweet life can be
                If you keep a tight behind
                And they raised the cost of living
                And how could we have known
                They’d double the price of tickets
                To go see johnny’s show

                So we hocked all our possesions
                And we sold a little dope
                And went off to rock and roll

                We arrived there early
                In time to see rehearsal
                And john came out and lip-synched
                His new lite beer commercial
                And as the crowd arrived
                As far as I could see
                The faces were all different
                There was no one there like me

                They sat in golden circles
                And waiters served them wine
                And talked through all the music
                And paid to john paid little mind
                And way up in the nosebleeds
                We watched him on the screen
                They’d hung between the billboards
                So cheaper seats could see

                Johnny rock that golden circle
                And all those vip’s
                And that music that had freed us
                Became a tired routine
                And I saw his face in close-up
                Trying to give it all he had
                And sometimes his eyes betrayed him
                You could see that he was sad
                And I tried to rock on with him
                But I slowly became bored
                Could that man on stage
                With everything
                Somehow need some more?

                There was no use in pretending
                No magic left to hear
                All the music gave me
                Was a craving for lite beer
                As I walked out of the arena
                My ears began to ring

              • Macallanlover

                Senator, contrary to your contrary assertion, the regular season would be enhanced, not minimized. But that is just opinions on both our parts, although I have to say, I don’t really get how that is even a close call. Makes the season really stand for something versus the cluster we currently have at season’s end (last year is a great example of that.)

                My reply to your SOS post earlier today is why I feel you have to give the conference winners a seat, even when 1-2 of them are not “elite” that particualr year. (There are times a Big 10/11/12 team actually can be among the Top 3. The other years just let them take a 1st round whipping.) Conferences have inflated views of themselves and their rivals’ schedules. I think most everyone in the south gets CFB, but the Left Coast group and the Great Lakes Area actually think they play a tough schedule. Other blind homers from around the country also feel that way, even ACC and Big East fans. Then there is the group who only watches the NFL but read the NYT, Philadelphia Inquirer, etc., and form their opinion of that august group of CFB geniuses. Better to over seed the field to shut them up. And 6% of the 120 teams is still a damned exclusive club.

                • The problem with an eight-team field composed of a combination of conf. champs and wild cards is that it’s inherently unstable – especially when you admit that there will always be a couple of teams not of the same caliber as the top two or three. Once you head down the “better to overseed the field” road, it’s hard to stop.

  3. gastr1

    The coaches have but one dog in this fight: JOB SECURITY. In college basketball the job security blanket is making the NCAA tournament; in CFB it’s making it to a meaningless bowl game. In both cases they have supported reduced requirements to make it to the postseason (by expanding the tournament or by letting games against FBS schools count toward the bowl-eligible record, for example).

    Bottom line is that coaches will always work as hard as they can to increase their job security–and it’s pretty much their right to do so. Bet the farm that the coaches will change their collective tune about playoffs as soon as it’s clear that the bowl road is closed. Even with the pitch-perfect competitive accuracy of Rhoads’ sentiment, CFB coaches’ job security is so obviously staked to meaningless indicators such as low-level bowl wins and winning records stuffed with inferior non-conference opponents, so competition for its own sake takes a backseat even with the preachers of the competitive spirit. (Looking at you, McGarity.) Could any of us do differently, faced with the same dilemma?

    College basketball and football have worked really, really hard to cultivate an air of real competition while trying to spread the perception of success as widely as possible. Having lean and mean season-resolutions is really only for the pros and for Divisions 2 & 3, where the goals are simpler because the stakes are lower.

  4. cube

    Ok…weren’t the floodgates opened as soon as it went to 2 teams? I don’t understand why some pretend like this is the start of the end of the world and that the start wasn’t in 1998.

    “Every game is important”. How important was the first Alabama/LSU game last year?

    • The Tick

      How important would it have been if the Hebstreit rule — “Bama didn’t even win their division let alone their conference” — was in effect in 2011? (Time will tell if needs dictate that it be brought back in 2012 … or any other given year)

    • rbcdawg

      Stop raining on the “everything is fine now and 2 more teams will ruin it” parade that is otherwise known as this blog.

  5. They might not know where it’s going to stop, but I’m sure they know the handful of exits off the interstate that might be taken.

    There’s really no reason for them to act like they know more than they do (even if they really do) because there are still important things to negotiate.

    My guess is that Slive held his nose to get to 14 this season because he’s guessing that 16-team super conferences are a real possibility and this gets him halfway home. If that doesn’t happen, he’s still got a super-competitive, though somewhat far-flung, league that earns a ton of money. All he had to sacrifice to get there was just a little tradition.

    • Patrick

      The plus one vs. 4-team vs. 8-team debate is entirely secondary, in my opinion.

      The real debate is why do people feel that crowning a truer national champ represents “progress” in college football? And why aren’t those same people making similar demands about high school football?

      Answer: All of those people love the NFL more than college football, and they won’t rest until they look identical.

      A CFB playoff isn’t “progress”, no matter how many times the NFL pundits say it is.
      It’s just another bad idea, like other things created in the name of progress, like New Coke or the euro.

      • Always Someone Else's Fault


      • Macallanlover

        You are “muy loco” my friend: “all those people love the NFL more than college football”. Really? I don’t know how wrong that statement is, but I can tell you that this proponent alone makes you dead wrong. Not only do I love CFB and never watch the NFL until after college is over, I would never support a playoff like the NFL has. 5% of teams getting a shot is not even similar to 30+% of the teams getting a shot. Understand if you have a different opinion, but let’s keep it to facts and not misrepresent others’ opinions.

        • Patrick

          Fair enough, I won’t make assertions.
          Although I would argue that in the media, the more a reporter exclusively covers CFB, the more likely he/she is to tread cautiously about a playoff.
          It’s the national and NFL media that throw their arms up in disbelief about how obviously ridiculous CFB is without a playoff.

          As for fans like us, i’ll leave you with the question. Why do you feel that CFB needs to “do the right thing” by creating a system that more fairly crowns a national champion? Because I don’t think that should be a priority, or even an objective, of college football. And why is nobody banging the drum for high school football to do the same thing?

          We get so caught up in the endless debate of how to do it….that we have forgotten to ask why we are doing it in the first place.

          • +10000
            Why have we allowed the pursuit of the crystal football to dictate the structure of college football? There are so many other super-awesome things about college football (beating your rivals, winning a conference championship, playing awesome non-conference games, etc.) that are completely mutually exclusive from obtaining the crystal football that are being destroyed in pursuit of said crystal football.

          • Macallanlover

            I don’t argue that we necessarily have to have a playoff (although I think that is better, and more logical to have a conclusion). My position is driven by the CLAIMS of a NC, when there isn’t one. If someone insists on saying there is a NC, then let’s set up a process and determine one.

            The current system is a charade and awards someone a title and a ring. To me the conference championship is the highest real title in CFB, and the SEC title is the most prestigious of them all. I am OK with that, but too many are willing to allow politics and sham voting determine a champion, my position is if you want a champion, let them earn it.

            • My position is driven by the CLAIMS of a NC, when there isn’t one. If someone insists on saying there is a NC, then let’s set up a process and determine one.

              Ultimately, all that means is that you have an aesthetic difference with the BCS suits over how a NC is determined. There is indeed a process. You just don’t like it.

              • Macallanlover

                Absolutely true, it is an impossible task when only admitting two teams to the dance, thus a scam. Since you cannot play down from 120, you have to have a “representative” process that is inclusive. (Our government was set up the same way….i know, I know, we have fricked it up too. It is the same SOS discussion you had earlier, there is no way to get agreement on the SOS whether it is Steele, Sagarin, NYT, or on and on. Since we cannot agree that schedules are balanced (and they aren’t), conference representation is the only answer. My 2 wild cards is to allow that special team, whether it be a Boise, ND, or Bama from last year. 8 allows enough spots to insure we get the legit players.

                Barring that, I am back to no NC that can be legit. The prior AP system was a joke, and the current BCS is no better. Just add the spots to get everyone in that deserves a seat. In doing so, a couple of weaker teams will find their way in ….and get tossed out, but the Big East fans can say their champ represented them.

                • Always Someone Else's Fault

                  You cannot eliminate or even invalidate viewpoint out of the system. It’s impossible. Socrates posed the basic dilemma 2500 years ago, and no one’s figured it out since.

                  And you know what? I can’t even tell you who won the Super Bowl two years ago. Don’t remember, don’t care. But I remember Georgia 2002, Auburn 2004, Oklahoma State 2012, Colorado’s 5th down against Missouri, the Bush Push, Limas Sweed making one pressure catch in his total football career against Ohio State late…. A playoff nullifies all that. Ties up every season in neat bow, stashes it in the attic, closes the books.

                  Sometimes, closure sucks.

                  • Macallanlover

                    I can understand the broadcasters on talk radio and TV shows loving the controversy, but I don’t see why a fan would buy into that as their ideal. Let’s not forget, there will ALWAYS be controversy about who the best team was that particular year, but we will know who was the playoff champion. No system will ever solve that dilemma so you can continue about what could have been with the Colorado, USC, and tosu games, but in 2002, and 2004 you would have known much more about UGA and The aU. Closure isn’t always positive, but it is more enlightening. And how can any CFB fan be against more quality match-ups?

                    • Always Someone Else's Fault

                      My opinion: an 8 team playoff short-circuits the quality regular season match-ups we get between conferences. I’m not against quality match-ups. I just prefer a higher quantity of them in the regular season.

                      Closure is not more enlightening. If anything, it seals away experience and shuts down reflection. Closure can be less painful, but I prefer question marks, which seem more honest to me, over exclamation points, which never appear in a well-told story for a reason.

                      CFB right now to me is Shakespeare. And people want to turn it into American Idol. Boo.

                    • Macallanlover

                      Well we agree of increased quality match-ups being desirable. I don’t think when they occur is mutually exclusive but it seems the ADs at the big schools are running away from them as fast as they can (I know ours is). What the 8 team playoff idea guarantees is the best will have to play each other every, no ducking teams by having a weak schedule like tosu does, no hiding behind the Rose Bowl like two conferences do, and no other barriers. I can make a case that the playoff may encourage better scheduling of quality opponents, but my argument is no stronger than yours on that point, there is simply no guarantee, and even if it happens, it is unlikely to happen equally among all schools. The imbalance of schedules is what really drives the need for a playoff, imo.

              • Always Someone Else's Fault

                ^ + 1 Amen +1 ^

      • SCDawg

        It’s also a hell of a lot easier to write a story about cinderella (Boise State, Stony Brook, etc) than it is to just write about the game itself. Playoffs give you instant, easy storylines, which the national beat writers love.

  6. Blatant Homerism

    Rhoads did a great interview a few years back on the Solid Verbal about what the trip to the Insight Bowl was like for his team and how few of his players had ever had the chance to have that kind of experience. Really impacted my view of the importance of the bowls to the players. They’re the ones who always get left out in these discussions.