Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

One thing you can say about the BCS

… at least nobody worried about the diversity of the computers.

Former University of Miami president Donna Shalala, who is now the president of the Clinton Foundation, suggested that in order to further diversify the committee in the future, the CFP should consider more former university presidents.

“Should they have more diversity? Absolutely, everybody thinks that,” said Shalala, who is also on the board of the National Football Foundation. “If they were thinking former college presidents, they would actually easily be able to find a group of people who are responsible for big-time college athletics, including football.

“If you wanted to find some people like [Rice],” she said, “you could use that university category and go to former presidents for both women and minorities.”

Settling it on the field, for the win.

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Herbie comes a little late to the party.

I believe I detect a note of buyer’s remorse from Mr. Herbstreit.

Kirk Herbstreit says the playoff is redefining what fans view as a successful season. Coaches have less time than ever to find success, and Herbstreit says an 8-team playoff would make it worse.

“I was a guy that thought we’d eventually go to eight,” Herbstreit said on SiriusXM College Sports Nation. “This is the first time I really felt that fans, even maybe players, that there was a focus for 15 weeks for the four.… Then the teams are decided, and it was like fanbases getting frustrated with a 12-1 season or an 11-2 season, ‘Ugh, going to the Rose Bowl, the Fiesta Bowl.’ It’s like, what have we created where fans are so focused on the four, that if their team still has a great year and goes to a Jan. 1, they’re left frustrated?

Can you imagine, if it was eight, how that would create? Fans call it a meaningless bowl game. I could not disagree with that any more. Any time the Big Ten plays in a bowl game, to me, that’s significant. Any time the SEC and Big Ten play each other, I don’t care if it’s the Outback Bowl or Gator Bowl, I find those matchups interesting and important to the conferences and their pride.

“I’m a little concerned, even at four, that we’re getting to the focus of playoff-or-bust. If it went to eight, I think it would get worse, where the only games that ‘matter’ to people are if you made the playoff. I don’t think that’s healthy for the game of football when the only thing that matters if your team is successful if they make the playoff.”

Well, duh.  This is what people like me warned about as the cost for postseason expansion, dude.  Once bracket creep starts, the only thing that can stop it is a failure to find more revenues to support it.

At least your network has those nifty selection committee shows to broadcast, though.  Which is really the point here.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil

With age comes wisdom.

If there’s one thing the CFP selection committee is lacking…

… it’s a bunch of old, white dudes.  Glad they addressed that.

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Nick Saban for college football commissioner

I’m only half-joking.

Altogether the New Year’s Six bowls lost 19 percent of their audience from a year earlier. CFP executive director Bill Hancock’s subsequent PR spin — calling the drop “modest” and urging people to remember that “one year does not make a trend” — sounded a whole lot like the persistently tone-deaf defenses he and the commissioners used to trot out about the oft-criticized BCS.

Obviously, neither commissioners nor bowl officials could control the lopsided nature of games like the Cotton (a 38-0 Alabama victory) and Rose (Stanford drilled Iowa 45-16), but results alone did not fully explain the erosion. Not only did the New Year’s Eve semifinals inconvenience many fans, but they also managed to make the New Year’s Day games feel largely anticlimactic.

The Granddaddy of them All, the Rose Bowl, used to enjoy TV ratings in the high teens or low 20s. This year’s garnered a record-low 7.4. Which is not entirely unexpected when you serve the main course before the appetizers.

“I am concerned about how does a playoff and a bowl system coexist, and how could we make it better if that’s possible,” Alabama coach Nick Saban said at his morning-after press conference here Tuesday. “. . . [It’s] this whole dynamic of how do we keep a healthy bowl system — which I think is great for college football, it’s a lot of positive self-gratification for a lot of players who had a good season — and the national interest that we have in a playoff, which sort of overwhelms the importance of all the other bowl games.”

He’s right, you know.

We’ve got exactly what you’d expect from a set up that’s a pastiche of the traditional bowl system and a desire to lay a playoff arrangement on top of that.  The underlying motive is to wring as much money out of the sport’s following as possible.  That motive’s not any different from any other major sports enterprise in this country, of course.  It’s the implementation that’s so cocked up.

The New Year’s Eve semis aren’t going away anytime soon, though, in large part because of the Rose and Sugar’s partner conferences locked in their Jan. 1 timeslots with ESPN before the larger playoff was finalized. While the Rose has been played in that window for decades, this year’s largely forgettable Ole Miss-Oklahoma State primetime Sugar Bowl emerged from a “tradition” that the SEC and Big 12 created way back in 2012.

And they’re not budging, either.

“We’ve got an important and meaningful relationship with the Sugar Bowl over time that the Big 12 and SEC worked to establish a contract and an agreement that that’s when that game would be played,” SEC commissioner Greg Sankey said here Sunday. “That is important to us. I think it’s clearly important to our fans. It was important to the Oklahoma State and Big 12 fans who were in New Orleans. We’re going to protect that tradition.”

If you can’t respect a first-year commissioner’s passion for a three-year tradition, what can you respect?

Mandel is right about where things are heading when he writes,

And ultimately, most of us realize that’s where the sport is ultimately headed — an eight-team playoff with early-round games played on campuses. It won’t happen anytime soon, what with 10 years left on the current playoff contract. But the commissioners built this system as a somewhat clunky hybrid of the traditional bowl season and a bracketed tournament. As interest in the non-playoff bowls wane, protecting the bowls’ interests will inevitably become a lower priority.

Sankey and his peers will deny that all the while as it comes to pass – I can hear Bill Hancock explain it all now – but it will still happen.  And we’ll be told it’s being done in our interest, too.

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Maybe they’re not as smart as they think they are.

Here are a couple of viewership tidbits from last night’s broadcast to digest.

I’m sure Baghdad Bill will do his usual fine job of dissembling with regard to those numbers, but here’s my question:  what if they’re an indication of an inherent structural problem?

More specifically, I would suggest that both Disney and the brains behind the CFP have adopted a marketing strategy that amounts to converting college football’s regional brand into a more national one.  After all, a bigger audience is where the money is.

But what if they’re wrong about being able to change public attitudes about college football?  (New Year’s Eve wasn’t exactly a success in that department.)  What if the sport’s regional appeal is as good as it gets?  What if moving the title game from ABC to ESPN will always result in reduced viewership?  How does matching teams up from small Southern college towns in a national title game ever resonate with the same kind of passion outside of the South that it does inside?

Most importantly, if this really is a reflection of reality, how long do the people running ESPN and college football keep beating their heads in a futile effort to create a market that will never exist?  And how hard do they beat their heads doing so?

It’s not that I have an answer to any of that.  It’s that I doubt people like Delany do, either.

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

UPDATE:  Nick Saban has a related question.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, College Football, ESPN Is The Devil

Random championship game thoughts

That was a fun game to watch.  For once, I didn’t mind staying up late.

  • I know it’s not kosher to name the MVP from the losing side, but anyone who didn’t think Deshaun Watson was the pivotal player on the field is kidding himself.  He ran, he threw, he dodged bullets… basically he did everything except take Larry Culpepper’s drink tray away and sell concessions.  The game wouldn’t have been close without him there; instead, Alabama needed to pull off some special teams magic to secure the win.
  • Dual-threat quarterbacks have been Kryptonite to Saban/Smart defenses and last night was no exception.  Now that’s Georgia’s problem, too.
  • At some point last night Mark Richt had to be thinking what might have been if Georgia had signed Watson, right?
  • Again, Kiffin’s playcalling was a mixed bag, but he did a masterful job getting Coker’s head unscrewed in the second half.
  • Speaking of Junior, Uber was his friend after the game.
  • That screaming you heard near the end of the game wasn’t from deliriously happy Alabama fans.  It came from bettors who watched Clemson cover the spread with twelve seconds left in the game.

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Marketing genius

A Power 5 football commissioner actually said this.

Gee, thanks.  I don’t think that’s how it’s supposed to work, though.

These guys don’t deserve to run a hot dog stand, let alone a major sports enterprise.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, General Idiocy