Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

Jeff Long’s “perfect world”

Sounds like Jeff Long, selection committee head, has a world view informed by Jeff Long, SEC AD:

What are your thoughts on divisions in conferences? The Big 12 doesn’t have them, the other power conferences do. You look at the contrast between the SEC West and the SEC East last season. Are they needed? Should conferences look a different direction on the matter?

Long: Everybody’s views are based on where they are. I think conferences need divisions. I can speak to my situation at Arkansas. I like a division because my fans want to see us battle for a West title. If we’re late in the season and we have a chance to battle for the West title, fans are more likely to come. I think this is in general as well. If you’ve fallen out of the West race, your numbers of no-shows for your tickets are going to increase. So if you just have one conference without a division, you’re going to fall out of contention earlier in that process. To me, from an AD’s point of view, I want to sell tickets, I want my stadium full because that’s a better environment for my student-athletes to hopefully win a game, the home-field advantage, all those things. I like divisions because I’m going to be in that hunt for a division title longer, that’s going to keep my fans engaged longer.

Currently not every conference has a championship game and not every conference plays the same amount of conference games. Ideally, do you feel it would it be best if every league played the same amount of conference games and they either all had a championship game or they all didn’t?

Long: In a perfect world, yes.

Could you envision a scenario where that could become possible somewhere down the road, maybe in five or 10 years?

Long: I think there would have to be more conference landscape changes for that to happen, from my point of view. Generally, broad statement, would I like to see that happen? Generally, I would. But college football is unique and I don’t think we all need to be homogenous. So I don’t have strong feelings about this conference or that conference must do this.

But it would be nice if the Big 12 did… for the selection committee.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

The CFP and the nobility of consistency

If there’s one thing you can count on from college head coaches, it’s that they’ll never run out of nonsensical justifications for taking a stance out of naked self-interest.

Take Cal’s Sonny Dykes, for instance.  The Pac-12 is that rare bird:  a two-division conference that plays a nine-game conference schedule.  That’s allowed Cal to keep its longstanding rivalries with two powerhouses in UCLA and USC.  Evidently, that’s not something he relishes.  But he can’t come out and just say that.  Instead, he’s got to look around for… something… aha!

Dykes said he’s willing to sacrifice the tradition of playing long-time, in-state rivals USC and UCLA every year if that’s necessary to reduce the Pac-12 schedule to eight games in order to achieve consistency with other power conferences.

“I don’t think it would be my first choice. I don’t think it would be our fans’ first choice,” he said. “But something’s got to give. We just need to have some (nationwide) consistency.”

The Pac-12 and Big 12 play nine conference games, while the SEC, ACC and Big Ten play just eight, allowing them to schedule one more nonconference game of their choosing. The uneven playing field creates potential disparities when teams are selected for the College Football Playoff, which has huge financial implications.

By playing nine games, the Pac-12 has allowed schools to play each of the other five teams in their division, plus three from the other division on a rotating basis. But the annual games between Cal and Stanford and their southern California rivals have been preserved so far.

Screw what the fans want, or what Sonny wants.  If we don’t get national consistency on this, the next thing you know we’ll have dogs and cats living together, or something. This isn’t about Dykes, people.  He’s just offering a sacrifice to save college football from a looming crisis.

Or he could just be full of crap.

(h/t)

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, It's All Just Made Up And Flagellant, Pac-12 Football

“All of us realize this industry and the NCAA is changing.”

The good and bad of divisions?  Spare me the bullshit, at least with regard to the latter.

For sure, Scott Stricklin does.

Mississippi State athletic director Scott Stricklin pointed out the SEC’s expansion to 14 teams — and not necessarily divisions — as the reason for some of the scheduling problems.

“When we made the decision to go to 14, there was no way around that,” he said. “Unless we’re going to play a 13-game schedule and all you play is the other 13 teams, you’re going to miss somebody, and there’s going to be some unfairness in the randomness of the schedule that is unavoidable. The division is not the cause of that. That’s the fact we have a 14-team league and we’re trying to play a 12-game schedule.”

It’s not rocket science, Joe Alleva.

But SEC athletic directors have not given much thought to the topic and have hardly talked about championship game deregulation. During their spring meetings next month, they will discuss the deregulation proposal for the first time.

“It’s not crazy. It’s something to think about,” LSU athletic director Joe Alleva said. “It hasn’t come up because the NCAA rule’s always been you had to [have divisions to have a championship game]. You have to change that rule.”

Have to, bitches.  Have to.  What’s the point to having divisions, if you’re not going to organize your championship game around them?  Probably something to do with money… like everything else.

They’ll tell us it all for us fans.  But it’s really about chasing a spot in the CFP.

“… For the good of the group and the good of the whole, that flexibility as the College Football Playoff evolves puts us in a good position,” Virginia Tech athletic director Whit Babcock said. “It makes us more nimble as a conference. We can stay the same and that’s great, and if we need to change, then we’d have the flexibility to do it.”

Awesome.  Makes you wonder what they’ll come up with when the playoff field expands to eight.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football

Four is good. I like four.

I appreciate what on-deck SEC Commissioner Greg Sankey has to say about keeping the CFP at four teams:

In a wide-ranging interview with ESPN.com, Sankey said he is a proponent of keeping college football a one-semester sport, and agreed that college basketball is a cautionary tale for how the postseason can devalue the regular season.

“What we have works and fits and protects conference championship games,” he said. “We have a great event in Atlanta. If you see it, experience it, it’s really a cultural event for our region, it’s important for our conference. Many times people have talked about the regular season and want to theorize on impacts on the regular season, but when we see more focus on the end of the year, it generally detracts from what happens during the rest of the competitive year.”

I just wish I believed him.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Bob Bowlsby, thinking inside the box

Nothing about this surprises me.

Big 12 commissioner Bob Bowlsby entered the College Football Playoff meetings this week seeking definitive answers on how much a 13th game helped Ohio State get picked over Baylor and TCU. Bowlsby ended Wednesday with as close of a statement as he has ever made that the Big 12 will add a conference championship game.

Bowlsby wouldn’t definitively say the Big 12 will add a championship game in 2016 if a new NCAA rule allows 10-team members to do so. But given the knowledge he has now, Bowlsby said, “I surmise we would probably move in that direction.”

Bowlsby said he was told this week by CFP selection committee chairman Jeff Long that 13 data points are better than 12. Ohio State blew out Wisconsin in the Big Ten Championship Game on the final week last season while Baylor and TCU won their final regular-season games in round-robin play.

“What we heard is if we don’t go to a championship game we’re at a disadvantage,” Bowlsby said. “All things being equal, 13 games are better than 12 games. That’s what we heard. So that gives us clear enough direction that we’re coming in at least at a modest disadvantage. We need to do whatever we can to mitigate that.”

This is a dumbass move on a number of levels.  First, and most significantly, the Big 12 plays a round robin conference schedule.  It doesn’t need a playoff to determine a true champion; the regular season takes care of that.

Second, it’s like these guys have the shortest memories on the planet.

The Big 12 played a conference championship game from 1996 to 2010 and was hurt in the BCS era more than any conference by having a national contender lose that game.

And if there’s any cosmic justice, or if the football gods have a perverse sense of humor, that’s exactly what’ll happen in the first Big 12 championship game.

Along those lines, it ought to be a concern when Jim Delany gives you advice that makes sense.

However, Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany cautioned that conference championship games “cut both ways” – sometimes helping a league’s best team and sometimes costing it with an upset loss.

One of the lessons learned from the Bowl Championship Series Era was that the constant alterations to that ill-fated system eroded public confidence.

“We probably made some mistakes by tweaking, to be honest,” Delany said.

Of course, it’s only fair to note that Bowlsby is probably working from a lower bar in terms of public confidence than the BCS was at the start.

Now, this isn’t totally the fault of the Big 12.  Jeff Long’s hands have some dirt on them, too.

Bowlsby said he was convinced after the commissioners met with selection committee chairman Jeff Long, the Arkansas athletic director, that the Big 12’s champion might need to play a 13th game — a conference championship game — in order to be seen on equal footing with other playoff contenders. (Reached by phone later, Long declined an interview request.)

Again, never mind that the Big 12’s selection of its conference champion doesn’t require a championship game.  It’s all about the data points for the selection committee.

But Bowlsby still is playing the hand he’s dealt here.  His coaches like soft non-conference schedules.  His presidents like cutting the revenue pie into just ten pieces.  And a championship game will enlarge that pie a little more.  It’s a win-win.  Until the league’s best team loses.

*************************************************************************

UPDATE:  Bill Connelly elaborates on the history repeating aspect of what’s coming.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big 12 Football

Tuesday morning buffet

Shall we buffet?

  • If this is the agenda for the upcoming CFP meetings, expect most of the time to be devoted to Bob Bowlsby’s whining.
  • But John Swofford says things are cool, in spite of the complaints from FSU.
  • Bill Connelly is busy tweaking his advanced stats, which still have last season’s Georgia team in pretty good standing.
  • Dawg Post looks back on what it had to say about Todd Gurley as he came out of high school.
  • Speaking of Gurley, which do you think will hurt the most in the draft – his NCAA suspension or Shane Ray’s untimely arrest citation?
  • Johnny Manziel and the evolution of the Air Raid quarterback
  • Another look at Georgia tight ends here.

20 Comments

Filed under ACC Football, BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Football, Stats Geek!, Strategery And Mechanics, The NFL Is Your Friend.

Thursday morning buffet

Everybody needs a little buffet in their lives.

  • Athlon ranks the SEC towns.  We’re number two! (Though, where are these “East Georgia mountains” you speak of?)
  • Seriously, “the most vexing issue facing those in charge of the postseason system” is the Army-Navy game?
  • Meanwhile, “two members of the Florida State Board of Trustees expressed concern at a March meeting over the ACC’s status and one called for an expansion of the College Football Playoff.”  I guess not everyone’s convinced about that Army-Navy problem.
  • You think Georgia’s had a run of bad luck on the offensive line before?  Florida can make a case for the same right now.
  • Throw the damned ball, Schottenheimer.
  • David Shaw says it’s not his job to get his players ready for the NFL.  (He’s right.)
  • Mark Richt has lost control of Christian Robinson.  Really.

31 Comments

Filed under Academics? Academics., BCS/Playoffs, Gators Gators, Georgia Football, SEC Football, The NFL Is Your Friend.

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