Today, in it’s how you play the game

Very interesting Q&A in Stewart Mandel’s Mailbag ($$) today.

All the talking heads are knocking Oklahoma because of their (lack of) defense. Why does the committee feel it’s their job to judge teams based on HOW they win? Alabama and LSU teams of yesteryear were never criticized for their lack of offense. Why does it matter how the Sooners win, as long as they win?

Justin B.

Have you heard the phrase “defense wins championships?” The committee is a big believer in it. Just look at the Sooners’ polar opposite, Mississippi State. This is a team that not only is 6-4 but also has not scored more than seven points in any of those losses. But the Bulldogs rank sixth in the country in total defense and thus remain safely in the rankings at No. 21, ahead of a 9-1 Utah State team that averages 51.3 points per game — more than even Oklahoma.

It’s not surprising given the composition of the committee, which includes old coaches like Frank Beamer, Jeff Bower and Bobby Johnson, Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott and a former Notre Dame defensive end, Ohio State AD Gene Smith. I’m guessing none of those guys are big believers in the merits of winning games 48-47. (Beamer, it should be noted, is recused from discussing Oklahoma because his son Shane is an assistant coach there.) They really ought to try balancing it out next year with some offensive guys. How about Hal Mumme?

Okay, so the end’s a little tongue and cheek.  Still, he raises a good point:  why does Oklahoma get dinged, subjectively speaking, for being unbalanced offensively, while the LSUs of the world, just as unbalanced, don’t seem to?

Mumme isn’t the guy I would suggest for fixing what ails the committee.  After all, we named a poll in his honor for making one of the most questionable votes in the history of the Coaches’ Poll.  What would be useful for bringing a more balanced analysis to the selection committee, would be to add some advanced stat folks.  (Not that it’ll ever happen, but still.)


Filed under BCS/Playoffs

15 responses to “Today, in it’s how you play the game

  1. Cousin Eddie

    When/If Leach retires he would be a great addition. The press conferences after would so great, must see College Football TV (would be way better then College Game Day).

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Uglydawg

    Did I read that right? Ohio State’s AD is on the selection committee? He might be the fairest guy in the world, but why invite that kind of controversy?
    Suppose Georgia beats Alabama and he has to choose between Michigan and ‘Bama…he’ll probably vote for Michigan just to convince people he isn’t biased. Yeah..that could be said in some way about anyone, I guess.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. DawgFlan

    I wonder what the empirical data has to say about matchups between teams that skew better offensively vs. teams that skew defensively. There may be good reason to favor defense.


  4. Argondawg

    It does need more balance for sure but Clemson and Bama are both top 10 offensive teams and Dame is top 25. Michigan is an improving offense. I personally think Oklahoma would be a ver entertaining pick.


  5. Bulldog Joe

    Sorry Big XII, it’s time to grease the Big Ten’s paws with the filthy lucre. Notre Dame, too.


  6. TXBaller

    Slightly off topic, before you head off to jury duty tomorrow (assuming since these strange posting times of late), can you add some fire & brimstone to this blog pre UMASS game? How about some catching up with CMR on south beach? The U is about to explode with claims of poor/lack of play calling, be “THE CEO”, out of control nepotism, losing streaks (if VT can take care of biz) not seen since 1977, undisciplined players, non tackling & poor QB development. Richt clicks, my friend, pay the bills.


    • Internet service is out at my office, which has made work a complete bitch. Given the lack of technical support from AT&T, I expect to be in hell for at least another day before they get around to fixing whatever it is that’s wrong. Sorry about the posting times.


  7. Otto

    OU’s run in BCS and New Years Day Bowl speaks for itself. They only beat teams from Alabama who missed a chance at a national title.


  8. Russ

    Interesting point. I don’t like Oklahoma so I’m okay with how they do it now, but I admit he’s got a good point.


  9. Dylan Dreyer's Booty

    Last year Oklahoma was an offensive juggernaut, but they couldn’t stop us in the second half even with a free gift of a fumble/TD. You got to be able to close the deal. Three more weeks before the final decision, anyway. Defense ought to count for something, though, so I am not bitching.


  10. Biggus Rickus

    I would need more examples than the ones he’s given to entertain his theory. I don’t think it’s that they don’t appreciate 48-47 wins in itself. I think it’s more that they don’t appreciate one-point wins over .500 teams that lost to Kansas State and Baylor. As for Utah State and Mississippi State, it can be chalked up to the sometimes unfair level of respect given to the SEC and the fact that Utah State has beaten one team with even a winning record (6-5 Hawaii)..


  11. Go Dawgs!

    A lot of Oklahoma people are using the Rose Bowl as “proof” that their offense is so powerful that the SEC can’t stop it, but I’d argue that the Rose Bowl is proof that they should be left out. They absolutely boat raced Georgia in the first half, but once Kirby and Tucker made adjustments they couldn’t do anything in the second half. If they played even a whiff of defense at OU or in the Big 12, it shouldn’t have mattered. But Georgia was able to put up a basketball score against the Sooners and come back to win the game thanks to being able to shut down their offense and walk up and down the field when we had the ball. Don’t forget, Oklahoma’s equalizer in the second half came on a scoop and score of a fumble, not on the arm of Baker Mayfield. Their offense is better this year? Doesn’t matter, because their defense is even worse. Alabama and Clemson would score 400 on Oklahoma, and Georgia, Michigan, and maybe even Notre Dame would light them up as well.