The continuing saga of settling it on the field

I don’t know if this is a matter of semantics, or if these guys are serious about the distinction, but the selection committee continues its weekly mission of making me scratch my head.

In wide-ranging interviews with four committee members last week — Arkansas athletic director Jeff Long, Clemson athletic director Dan Radakovich, Wisconsin athletic director Barry Alvarez and former NCAA executive vice president Tom Jernstedt — none cared to compare conferences.

“At this point in the process, I don’t think in terms of conference strength,” Long said. “I think at the end of the day that’s something we’ll look back on and say [how relevant conference strength was.] … The balloting process we do will compare teams against each other and who they’ve played, and I think that’s less about conference than it is who they’ve played, even within a conference.”

Jernstedt agreed.

“I don’t think there’s any need to make a judgment as to this conference is better than that conference,” he said. “You sit there and evaluate this team versus that team. Our obligation is to select the four best teams.”

If the SEC West plays out as the meat grinder it appears to be and those schools eat each other while continuing to destroy outside competition (no SEC West team has a loss outside the division yet), how is the strength of the conference not relevant to the selection committee’s deliberations?

Well, if the committee members are concerned about something other than spreading the wealth around to the power conferences, that is.

19 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs

19 responses to “The continuing saga of settling it on the field

  1. And how is this committee better than the old BCS combination of Harris Poll (which did not include as voters current employees of teams under consideration), coaches ‘ poll (which had all coaches eligible to cast a ballot, so that a couple of self serving voters could have less of an impact on the result) and computers that did not have a financial stake in what teams made the field?

    The Alabama versus LSU BCS championship game caused the rest of the conferences to devise a plan to make sure all other birds wetting their beaks from the birdbath, too.

    But, hey, we have brackets!

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    • Scorpio Jones, III

      “The Alabama versus LSU BCS championship game caused the rest of the conferences to devise a plan to make sure all other birds wetting their beaks from the birdbath, too.”

      If I may, what I suspect is that the TV weasels saw an opportunity to turn a serious buck by selling the idea that a playoff was the American Way and that the BCS, which was not controlled by TV, was the essence of plutocracy and thus anti-American.

      Nothing else really matter, you know?

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    • uglydawg

      X 10 Gaskilldawg.

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  2. Macallanlover

    Why should the Committee enter into a debate about the strength of conferences? Analyzing a leading team’s performance involves looking at who they played, the majority of whom are from that team’s conference so it is weighted in. You don’t play a conference in a matchup, you play a team. No matter how strong the SEC West is, the East champ only has to win one game to prevail. No matter how weak Texas and Kansas, if you play Baylor or Oklahoma this year you are going to be impressed with the Big 12. The whole argument about conference strength and division strengths are neutered by putting their representative champion on the field, it won’t tell you who is best but they will deserve the title of champion if they prevail over other teams who won that right. Then we can resume the off-season debates about which conference is/was best all over again. The season should be about getting the chance to prove you can represent and earn the right to be called champion….on the field of play.

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    • Alkaline

      I was with you up until the part about putting champions in the playoff. All champions are not created equal, and it’s currently the CFB Committee’s job to distinguish that.

      But I don’t have a problem with the Committee if they don’t “officially” consider conference strength. If things play out in the SEC West theoretically as current rankings indicate, then whether the “conference” is considered I think Alabama, Auburn, and Texas A&M would all deserve to be in on individual merits over, say, a 2-loss Michigan State (as B1G champ) and 1-loss FSU (as ACC champ). We’ll have to see how things play out in practice.

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      • I agree. Nice post.

        I don’t have a problem with the Committee if they don’t “officially” consider conference strength.

        Bingo. That’s the key thing. The linked ESPN article is titled “Conference Strength Not Critical”. IMO, that is a very scary thought. Scares me silly. I realize the title was made up by an editor, but we had all better hope that line of thinking doesn’t affect the Committee.

        Similarly, the notion that conference champions are the best football teams in America, with all due respect to some of our friends here who hold that position, is just flat ridiculous.

        If either one of these ideas infect the process, it’ll be flawed from the beginning, and it’ll just be a matter of time before it flaws the outcome as well.
        ~~~

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      • Macallanlover

        While I certainly agree all conference champions are not equal, but I think because there is no way to prove that to the ones left out, there just isn’t, then why not let their champ have their shot. If they aren’t legit, they won’t win. Once the get the playoff past the number of power conferences (5), there will be room for those next three best, from anywhere, to make a very solid field and no one can say they didn’t have a chance. It is important, I keep telling you that.

        There are actually people who live in the Great Lakes area that really don’t realize all those titles and games they won aren’t impressing anyone in the South. Those Michigan and Ohio boys are all puffed up about their 40+ titles, they don’t know that Valdosta was winning one almost every year back then also, and against about the same level of competition. They didn’t realize they had “issues” until they started playing in bowls besides the Rose. Let the winners in, then fill out the brackets to eight and let them put the gloves on. Going to be great. And when those undeserving conference champs go home with their nose all bloody, they will tell those folks how there are some pretty talented folks that don’t play around here. Respect for other programs will actually grow, much of the bitching about scheduling will die down too.

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        • While I certainly agree all conference champions are not equal, but I think because there is no way to prove that to the ones left out, there just isn’t, then why not let their champ have their shot. If they aren’t legit, they won’t win.

          By that reasoning, what’s wrong with a 16-team playoff? Or 24-team, for that matter?

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          • Macallanlover

            Time and logistics primarily. I also feel 8 is more than satisfactory to be both inclusive, and exclusive. As stated before, I think six would be a great number for inclusiveness but feel the advantage of the two byes would offset the additional two teams, so eight is sort of “the magic” number, imo. Plus, when you get to 16 you do actually begin to impact the value of the regular season, if for no other reason that all 127 teams would probably lose a game from the regular season, or we would lose the conference championships. and it would lead to credible complaints about the risk of injury due to length of the season.

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  3. 69Dawg

    The main reason for this Selection Committee was to take those pesky Computers out of the selection process. God knows we wouldn’t want any objective, non-prejudicial elements to interfere with this money machine.

    Barring the complete collapse of all the Power 5 Conference Champions, which would create a mess, the Selection Committee will select the four best Power5 Champions. This is the cleanest, quickest and most defensible method. Trust me this Committee does not want the Sh*t storm they will get if the SEC has two teams in.

    Let’s just follow the money. With four conference champions the WWL can cover America and have viewers interested in the play-off. With two SEC teams you might actually see another all SEC championship and while we good ole boys would watch it. nobody else WGAS. Right now I would be looking at the viewer demographics for the Conferences and making that the criteria and dirty little secret that the WWL is hoping will happen. Also unless Norte Dame craps the sheets they are in because they bring the most wide spread fan base and viewers. It’s all about the money.

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  4. Will Trane

    I’m with Gaskilldawg on that…he sums it up to a fine point.
    There will be a lot of bashing and raising hell about the first year in this set.
    Like the old BCS format. Not always what you may have liked but it seem fair and even handed, and it created a lot of interest and discussion.
    Way too much prejudice and bias in the current format.

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  5. ripjdj

    I think the whole system is set up to make sure that the SEC is taken down a notch. The rest of the nation (sports fans that is) hate being constantly reminded that the SEC football is just better than the rest. If any one of three other teams rather than Auburn plays in last years BCS championship the SEC has in run of national championships still in tack. The system is set up to make sure there is only one SEC team in the bracket. It is NOT designed to get the best teams to settle it on the field it is designed to spread the wealth not reward excellence.

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    • It is NOT designed to get the best teams to settle it on the field it is designed to spread the wealth not reward excellence.

      Sure looks that way to me.

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    • The system is set up to make sure there is only one SEC team in the bracket. It is NOT designed to get the best teams to settle it on the field it is designed to spread the wealth not reward excellence.

      Bill Hancock, in a presentation at SEC Media days, made a compelling case that that isn’t true at all, that they really are after the best 4 teams, even if two to more of them come from the same conference.

      But I don’t disagree with you guys, because I’m afraid you’re right. I still hope that Hancock meant what he said (as futile as it sometimes seems).

      We’ll see. Few thought that this year would test the process, but the way the SEC West is going, there’s a possibility we could find out this year.
      ~~~

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      • I wouldn’t take Bill Hancock’s word the sun would rise in the east tomorrow without checking first.

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      • Dog in Fla

        “I still hope that Hancock meant what he said”

        Baghdad Bill (a non-voting member of The Selection Committee®™© ℠) always means the opposite of what he says

        “It will be much more sophisticated and deliberative than that ever was. Basically the voting process is to create a small list of teams that can be compared to each other, six to eight teams. They’ll be analyzed backwards, forwards, any way you can think of. Then the committee will vote three or four of those teams into the rankings….”

        “Hancock went through three separate seasons and mocked the playoff (and accompanying bowls). It was meant to be helpful and maybe was, but was also super confusing and really just a man standing at a dais typing names into a Word document.”

        http://www.clarionledger.com/story/olemisssports/2014/07/16/college-football-playoff-sec/12735665/

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