Envy and jealousy: unsettling it on the field edition

Leave it to Charlie Pierce to sum up everything that offends me about college football’s latest postseason structure, not to mention what’s coming down the turnpike sooner than I’d like:

First of all, absent a tectonic shift in the way college sports do their business — which would include a fathomless fault into which the NCAA would have to fall, never to rise again — any playoff system is just another gimmick by which the wrong people make the most money.2 … I do not believe that what the country really needed was one more gargantuan television event that makes the parasitical power structure of college sports even richer, that provides yet another boon to the national gaming-industrial complex, and that allows people who wouldn’t know Wallace Wade from Wally Cleaver to pretend that they care about college football.

Already, the new system has been embraced so enthusiastically by all the institutions of the tottering plutocracy of college sports that it has deformed the regular season. There is no way for the new system to make sense of the SEC West, for example, which is so fat with talent that it virtually has blotted out the rest of the country — so much so that it is entirely possible that a backlash elsewhere may force a lesser team into the field just so people won’t think the whole system is in the tank for a league that does, after all, have its own television network, with CBS Sports (virtually) serving as another one. It will not be long before we hear calls for an expanded playoff system because the current one is unfair to “the kids” who play in leagues less beloved by television executives. And it will become a genuine tournament, which means it will get bigger, louder, and all of its faults will become worse.

All that’s missing there is a reference to brackets.  Maybe that will come one day when he writes something about the new 16-team playoffs.

41 Comments

Filed under Envy and Jealousy

41 responses to “Envy and jealousy: unsettling it on the field edition

  1. So how would the SEC West benefit from the BCS format?

    Like

    • Hackerdog

      The BCS relied, in part, on computer rankings, which don’t care about offending the B1G. Every one of the computer polls used in calculating the BCS rankings has two SEC West teams in the top 4.

      I can’t think of a year that the BCS got the top 2 teams, over the entire course of the season, clearly wrong. Yes, Auburn was left out when they went undefeated. But I don’t think it was fair to jump one of the teams above them. And yes, UGA was playing lights out at the end of the year in 2007. But I don’t have a problem with two bad losses keeping a team out of the championship game.

      Taking the issue out of the computers’ “hands” and into the politicians only served the politicians.

      Like

      • Mayor

        Right, Hack. The BCS system actually worked fine for the rankings. If you look back the BCS would have captured the real 4 best teams just about every year. The mistake in the new 4 team playoff is in using a committee to do the selections. It would have been better to use the same BCS selection process and pick the top 4 teams. The committee is already showing signs of politics rather than really selecting the 4 best teams. What does “most deserving” mean? I thought they were supposed to select the “best four teams.” This is just an excuse to add undeserving teams to the playoff to have some sort of regional balance. Ohio State is going to be in unless they lose another game–take it to the bank.

        Like

        • law dawg

          Exactly. When the playoff talk first started in earnest, I assumed this is how it would work. The selection committee is just a kangaroo court for inferior teams / conferences to plead their case.

          Like

            • Macallanlover

              Your act is tiring, and childish. The Committee is 12 people, no tone woman. She is an admired and accomplished person but your small mind will not allow you to stay on point because it doesn’t advance your scummy position politically. The discussion did not involve anything that should have caused your insecurity to flare but you simply aren’t capable of staying away from any opportunity to promote your racist, anti-American agenda. Go swim back to Gitmo with your buds.

              And why don’t we wait on the Committee’s work to be done before we judge it. We have a flawed system requiring them to do an impossible task so there is no way to avoid some who will criticize, but they may just do as well as can be done given the limits imposed.

              Like

              • Dog in Fla

                You’re welcome!

                I always give your input on a ‘systemic regime of torture’ the value it deserves because “[p]lanning and ordering of torture is a jus cogens crime of the highest magnitude under both domestic and international law, not protected by the First Amendment or even academic freedom. This is not about politics. This is not about facilitating an educational discussion via controversial speakers. This is about criminality and whether our country is willing to follow the rule of law or make exceptions for past (or in fact, future) leaders’ actions.”

                http://consortiumnews.com/2014/04/03/misguided-honor-for-condi-rice/

                In related news, St. Louis mom gets 78 years in prison for waterboarding children:

                “What the defendant did to three of her own children far exceeds the definition of child abuse and amounts to systematic torture,” assistant circuit attorney Tanja Engelhardt wrote in a sentencing memorandum for the judge, as quoted by the newspaper.”

                http://rt.com/usa/206383-st-louis-mother-waterboarding-abuse/

                Like

  2. sUGArdaddy

    And…the problem is that the people running it I really don’t believe are smart enough to figure it all out. There are a few things that could make for a nearly perfect system, but I’m not sure they get it:

    -Force the Big 12 to get 2 more teams and a conference championship game -OR- Force them to determine their singular champion. In a way, they have the purest system. They play a round robin and everyone has head to head. But they can’t claim Co-champions to get in the playoff. If Baylor wins out, they won head-to-head and they’re the champ. But, I’m more in favor of the championship game since everyone else has it. We need to regulate the number of games these kids are playing, and that’s one more game against a quality opponent that the other leagues are playing.
    -Regulate the number of games vs. Power 5 conference teams at either 9 or 10. A conference can increase conference games or make teams play non-conf. opponents.
    -6 team playoff. 5 conference champions get in. 1 at-large. Some years that will be Boise. Some it will be Notre Dame. Some it will be a team like Alabama 2011.
    -#1 and #2 get a bye, a huge deal in this day and age of scholarship limits. You cannot be #1 or #2 unless you are a conference champion.
    -#3 and #4 host a home game vs. #6 and #5 on the Saturday before Christmas. You must be a conference champion to host a playoff game.
    -The losers of the first round meet in one of the Bowl Games on Dec. 31 or Jan. 1. The winners go to host bowls for #1 and #2.
    -This puts a premium on winning your league. It might reward a bad conference, but we don’t know, really. Maybe a 2-loss team from one conference is a lot better than a 1 loss team from another. Do you think a 2-loss Wisconsin might be better than an undefeated FSU right now? Because we don’t have enough cross-region games, we just don’t know.
    -It gives great reward for going undefeated. You’re going to get a bye.
    -It also gives great incentive to a team to beat late season rivals like FSU, Tech or Clemson, even if you’ve got your division locked up. If I’m jockeying for seeding (a possible bye or home game), I need my record to be as good as possible.

    I’m not necessarily a playoff guy, but we’ve jumped the shark. I think this could work. But my fear is they’ll just go to 8 because they won’t think it through and the season will immediately get watered down. The top teams losing just won’t mean as much mid-season and teams will start resting players. Just think, if FSU “can’t” get a home game or bye, and they’re already guaranteed a spot (in an 8-team playoff), why in the world would they play Winston, O’Leary and co. vs. Florida this year? Don’t give me the rivalry stuff. A couple of years ago, Roy Williams sat Ty Lawson the entire ACC tourney to rest up for the NCAA tourney. They then won 6 straight NCAA tourney games by double digits in route to a national title. You think any Tar Heel fans care that Duke won the ACC tourney that year?

    Like

  3. Scorpio Jones, III

    Charlie Pierce adds eloquence to the obvious.

    “And…the problem is that the people running it I really don’t believe are smart enough to figure it all out.”

    And Sugar hits the ultimate question out of the park.

    The people (those elbow-patched, mostly gentlemen academics) who have not instinct or training that leads them to be able to handle the huge sums of money they are being exposed to.

    I get a picture of Scrooge McDuck, doing swan dives in his money bin.

    Even the most well-intentioned academic masters of our game can never survive the frontal attack of the hucksters with deep pockets.

    Raymond Carver said it best:

    “How can there be any hope when we have already lost what we hold most dear?
    Where does hope live when we hear the words announced to us, “There is no hope”?
    We cannot bring the person back. We cannot return to life as it was.”

    But…in the mean time there are Charleston Southern and then Georgia Tech to concern ourselves with.

    Like

    • Tronan

      The thing is, the elbow-patched mostly gentlemen academics: 1) aren’t gentlemen and 2) aren’t in charge of the huge sums of money. There’s a different species that’s running the business end: university (as opposed to academic) administrators. They tend to combine the worst aspects of academia (insularity and myopia foremost among them) with the worst aspects of corporate shysterism (making it as far as you can off a combination of bullshit and others’ hard work). They are the hucksters – or one of the several groups of hucksters who are trying their damndest to ruin a sport we love.

      Like

  4. Uglydawg

    In November, the top eight teams should be matched…8 against 1, 7against 2, 6 against 3, and 5 against 4. Higher ranked teams are at home.
    These games would replace the regularly scheduled games.
    The original scheduled opponents would be rescheduled to play one another (maybe in the same fashion) with the travel and re-scheduling expenses paid for by the NCAA or television or both. (This alone will make for ome interesting matchups…or do the best to let teams that were scheduled for home games be at home and vis-versa…then make it worth it $$$$ for those that have to reschdule to do so).
    If a team declines to take the invitation to play in the final 8, then number 9 would get the invite.
    If it should happen that two of these top eight were already facing each other in the final reg. season game anyway…so much the easier to arrange…and the original home team would still get the game at home.
    This would leave you with four teams that few could bitch about.
    Yes, I’m sure it needs tweaking since I only put about 5 min. into thinking about it, but that’s more brainpower than was put into the existing system.
    And that’s one way to get an improved final four..

    Like

    • Gaskilldawg

      That is one way to accomplish that goal. One price of that method is that it reduces regular season schedules. Teams will not want to give up selling 80,000 tickets and having less television inventory to sell.

      Like

      • Uglydawg

        No it doesn’t. You just schedule a cupcake or non-conference game for the last reg. season game. If you’re a top four team you still play at home. If you’re a 5 thru 8 team, you get the chance to make the top four. They’re the only 4 teams that could miss out on a home game but they have so much to gain…plus they can opt out if they want to. And all of these games will be televised, you know that.

        Like

    • SCDawg

      We can’t even finish the regular season conference schedules then. But that Auburn game was never as good as brackets.

      Like

  5. DawgPhan

    to fix this we just need to create a whole bunch of new regulations.

    after that…I am going to pull my feet out of this quick sand with my hands and I will then pull my hands out with my face.

    Like

  6. Careful Brad

    I am becoming more and more convinced that college football with the number of teams and number of games each teams plays just does not lend itself to a national champion, especially not in a playoff format. I want UGA to win a national championship at some point, I think we are fortunate that we have the resources to do it but I just focus on beating our rivals and winning conference titles. Of course I would like those to happen more frequently to.

    Like

    • Uglydawg

      That is a great point. I’m not sure you can say one team is the National Champion…and that’s the way it used to be with several polls naming the NC and sometimes they were different. Yeah, it caused discussion and dissent, but no worse than we’re still going to have with any “system”
      I’d go back to the old way in a NY minute, but $$$$$$$$$$$ ain’t going to let it happen.

      Like

    • Irwin R Fletcher

      Wait….you mean D-1 college football, right? Because literally every other division of the sport is able to do just that.

      This ‘playoff’ is a joke. I’m actually for a ‘playoff’ that settles it on the field. However, that requires some method of entry into said playoff that isn’t based on subjective measures.

      Like

      • Hackerdog

        I think Brad’s doubt is with the ability of a playoff to identify the best team. We can certainly use a playoff to crown a champion if we don’t care about that champion being the best team, over the course of the season. That’s what all the other sports do. And you are correct, that they are objective about their playoff entrance requirements.

        So, if we abandon the quest for the CFB champion to also be the best team in CFB, then I have a good idea for an 8-team playoff with completely objective entrance requirements. After the season, get all the head coaches for all the FBS football teams together in one ESPN studio. Hand out candy bars to each coach. After 45 minutes of broadcasting, all the coaches open their candy bars to find out which 8 coaches have golden tickets in their candy bars. Those 8 teams will be in the playoff.

        The beauty of this system is that it’s completely objective and avoids all of the objections about computers and selection committees. If Georgia State gets a golden ticket, will they win the championship? Probably not. But we won’t have to worry about SEC bias, or listen to Corch lobby that his team leads the nation in starting field position, so he deserves a chance at the playoff. Get the ticket, you’re in. If not, better luck next year.

        Simple.

        Like

  7. Bright Idea

    If the playoffs expand to 8 or 16 who in the hell will be left to play in the playoff games during Dec. and Jan? The players are dropping like flies now due to injuries and suspensions. It might become a matchup of 3rd string walkons if it gets any bigger.

    Like

    • Cojones

      The way to solve that is to go backwards and let the press decide who is NC after the bowl games. !6 is a dilution. Not so with 8 as we now can see from our ongoing results.

      Like

      • Cojones

        Of course we can stop the players from dropping like flies if we don’t play contact sports. Less games is not a solution. If you go back and see when injuries occur, you get most at the beginning of the season. Before that you get them in Fall, and later, in Spring Practice. There is no proof that the more games that are played, the rate of injuries goes up.

        Like

        • DawgPhan

          The rate of injury isn’t the key metric. the total number of injuries is the key metric and the longer the season the higher the number of injuries if the rate of injury stays the same.

          Like

          • Cojones

            Most of those injuries have good recoveries. I contend that the longer they play, the less horrific and debilitating injuries are incurred because the players get better and more athletic. Would it be advisable in your view that players, once they are injured, not come back to play because the chance for re-injury goes up? What do we do to dampen down that disaster that the players suffer and that we use for excuses to watch them continue to get hurt?

            Using probability of injuries in your argument contains the same reasoning to ban contact sports and discontinue college football. Can’t you see that?

            Like

            • mp

              “the longer they play, the less horrific and debilitating injuries are incurred because the players get better and more athletic”

              Alternatively, the longer they play, the greater the chance any single athlete has for a contact-relateed injury, given that longer play increases the number of contact plays. Additionally the price for the “more athletic” athlete now (which really means more muscular) is increased incidents of ACL/MCL tears compared to decades prior (can’t grow the tendons like you can grow the muscles). Of course it’s not a career limiting injury anymore, but it certainly will knock you out for the season, which was the whole point being made.

              Like

  8. Cojones

    Attaboy, Charlie. Throw in a few unproven gollywobbles like “….deformed the regular system..” and conjecture after conjecture to make it appear like you got a handle on it and the unwashed masses don’t have the brains to know what they want – a Playoff in D-1 football. This is just rewarmed pablum for those who wish to discourage ever getting to an 8-team playoff that has been averted twice by Pick or Choose Two, now Four, used as more money makers on the way to what the fans want.

    Pundits railing against 8 teams only invites raillery from fans. All that’s missing is “slippery slope” and the unspoken conjecture of: ” All of you are too stupid to project into the future since only us soothsayers with a Bully Pulpit can fathom this problem without fact one at our disposal”. Scare tactics (“brackets”, “16 teams”) are resorted to in order to encourage the footdragging by the few to be the footdragging of the unconvinced many.

    Why would the pundits be writing about this in the middle of the first year of Choosing Four? Because only now can they see the probability that this doesn’t solve crap concerning a National Playoff. Not wanting to admit that they are wrong is what’s pushing some of this, but that won’t deter the rest of us from getting to 8 teams. Patiently we wait to let these new problems appear (that none was able to view in their minds before going to Choose Four) and get flushed from one problem to the next before letting every would-be fixer be satisfied that their words of discouragement and latest derivative formulas won’t stop the move toward a true 8-team playoff.

    I’ve seen a writer and a Div-1 coach profess the need for 8 teams in the last two weeks. Think we could opine about their reasoning for a change? I know that you have seen and read them.

    Like

    • Hackerdog

      I agree. These elitist snobs who look at playoff expansion in every sport, college (including FCS football) and professional, and conclude that FBS football will probably follow suit, are just being obtuse.

      The fact is that a FBS playoff will expand to 8 teams and never expand any further. And that 8-team playoff will never generate any controversy. Also, teams will never manipulate their schedules or in-game tactics with an eye toward the playoffs. And coaches will never lobby for an expanded playoff in order to increase their chances of making the playoff and increasing their job security, the way they do with the NCAA tournament. In other words, the world will just be that much more perfect with an 8-team playoff.

      You may ask how the 8-team playoff proponents can predict the future with such precision? Because we just can! Don’t doubt us. Don’t bring up economic incentives and the past behavior or the actors involved to try to muddy the waters. We just know what we think we know. And don’t you doubt it.

      QED

      Like

      • Cojones

        You got it. My wildass opinion is as good as their wildass opinion. This is all opinion used to frame the playoff question and no one knows the answers as we have already seen in Choose Two and now are seeing in Choose Four. Shall we go back and review all the prognostication that was wrong in getting us here?

        The only answers thus far are just differing opinions and sarcasm among each other.

        All of this started with fans expressing a desire to have a playoff. The idea of 8 teams has been there since the git-go. These other intermediate and unsatisfying ideas haven’t gotten us there thus far.

        Like

        • Nancy Pelosi

          Exactly. The FCS (formerly I-AA) playoff started in 1978 with 4 teams. Now, it’s at 24 teams. Of course, that’s just my opinion. Yours may vary.

          And you’re certainly correct that we won’t get to 8 teams until we get there. And we won’t go beyond 8 teams until we do. Until then, we’re stuck in a world filled with those who doubt our forecasting abilities and suggest that those who run college athletics aren’t necessarily as brilliant as we think they are. Alas.

          Like

          • Cojones

            Yep….and I’ll always toke one to mild sarcastic remarks.

            What was your handle on here before you did the sockpuppetry thing?

            Like

      • Dog in Fla

        “You may ask how the 8-team playoff proponents can predict the future with such precision?”

        And you may tell yourself
        This is not my beautiful playoff

        Like

        • Uglydawg

          Question for DIF…When you venture into Georgia, are you still “Dog in Florida” or do you become “Dog in Florida in Georgia”? And if you becomme DIFIG, then why aren’t you “DIFIF when you’re there?
          This is worrying me.

          Like

          • Dog in Fla

            That’s a pretty good question ugly because after all does anyone really have a permanent indelible name that someone can figure out without using the DICNAVAB, Fourth Edition plus they usually try to keep me within the gates of the compound down here but whenever I break out I
            tell all the girls everywhere even when I make it across the state lines to the great and sovereign states of Georgia and Alabama to call me Dogalicious and as you can probably guess they don’t although they do sometimes tell me they’re going to call 911

            Like

      • I think that fans will like the 8 team play off better once it’s approved and they get used to it, 😉

        Like

  9. Irwin R Fletcher

    As long as we are talking playoff, can we at least play some fun games with UGA’s chances?
    Obvious- wins against ChSo and Tech; Mizzou loses at least 1 game; SECCG Win
    Questionable- Miss St loses the Egg Bowl, Bama wins Iron Bowl…UGA beats 1 loss Bama -OR- Auburn rallies and wins Iron Bowl…UGA beats 1-Loss Miss St.
    Other Key Games for strength of schedule- Florida vs. FSU, Carolina v. Clemson, KY vs. Louisville

    Echo…this feels like 2007

    Like

  10. AusDawg85

    Top 4 teams in merchandising each year go to the playoffs. You just know this is the ultimate wet dream for some.

    Like