Category Archives: BCS/Playoffs

You can never go wrong blaming Auburn.

The reaction of Alabama’s players to the “Central Florida national champs” cheeky narrative is about what you’d expect

… but I do love this one, for obvious reasons.

Hmmm… maybe Gus tanked it on purpose.

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31 Comments

Filed under Alabama, Auburn's Cast of Thousands, BCS/Playoffs, It's Not Easy Being A Mid-Major

Central Florida dreamin’, on such a winter’s day

I’ve been more than amused by all the UCF fluffery we’ve seen since the Knights embarrassed Auburn in the Peach Bowl.  Some of that’s come from folks with an axe to grind against the current CFP format, some of it’s been generated by the school (you folks are adorable) and now here comes Ian Boyd to explore what advanced stats and Peach Bowl film study might say would have happened had UCF been the selection committee’s number four in place of Alabama.

Sure, it’s harmless fun and it’s not as if I’m highly offended by it.  But there are a couple of premises he makes in support that I have to question.

The first is the most obvious:  UCF wasn’t the fourth-best team in the country this year.  Even Boyd notes that Bill Connelly’s S&P+ shows that Central Florida would have lost to both Clemson and Georgia.  Alabama was ranked first.  In that regard, where I do have to give a little credit where credit is due is that UCF doesn’t look totally out of place with the actual playoff field.

Playoff S&P+ profiles

Team S&P+ Rankings
Clemson 45th Off, 1st Def, 52nd S/T
Georgia 14th Off, 11th Def, 3rd S/T
Oklahoma 1st Off, 101st Def, 71st S/T
Alabama 23rd Off, 1st Def, 52nd S/T
UCF 2nd Off, 74th Def, 51st S/T

They look like a slightly poorer version of Oklahoma there, don’t they?

Based on that — and remember that S&P+ is a stat that adjusts for opponents’ quality — I think UCF’s offense would have had some success against Clemson and Georgia, but it’s defense would have had a harder time.  The real issue for Central Florida would have been depth, something S&P+ doesn’t address.  How likely would it have been that the offense would have gone unscathed against two ferocious defenses?  Alabama lost an offensive lineman in the middle of the national title game, plugged a five-star understudy in his place and moved on.  That ain’t happening with UCF.

The other place depth matters is on special teams.  That’s a matchup that would have greatly favored Georgia had the two teams met.

As far as the other premise goes, well…

We don’t have a ton of information to go off here, save for UCF’s performance against a Group of 5 schedule and a victory against Auburn in the Peach Bowl. However, Auburn defeated both of the participants in the title game, and it’s not likely that the Tigers were any more distracted than the Knights, whose coaches were balancing bowl prep with taking over Nebraska. So we can at least learn a few things from the Peach.

… really, it’s pretty weak.  Auburn’s problem in the bowl game wasn’t that its coaches were distracted.  It’s that its players weren’t particularly motivated.  And if you’re going to play the “Auburn defeated both of the participants in the title game” card, don’t you have to acknowledge that both of those wins came in the friendly confines of Jordan Hare Stadium and that when Auburn faced Georgia three weeks later in a neutral site (the same one where the Peach Bowl was played, as a matter of fact), the Tigers lost far more decisively than they did to UCF?

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Stats Geek!

BREAKING: Georgia Tech will be in the CFP conversation.

This is as close as the Jackets will get, though.

Georgia Tech athletic director Todd Stansbury will be one of the six new College Football Playoff selection committee members, multiple sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

If Georgia’s in the hunt for the playoffs again, the Stingtalk threads about this move ought to be epic.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Georgia Tech Football

Just say it’s about the money and STFU.

When it comes to playoff expansion, here’s a nice example of throwing enough shit rationalizing against the wall until something sticks:

The 2017 season provided an interesting case for the College Football Playoff committee. In years past, the committee’s final rankings were mildly controversial but ultimately understandable. That wasn’t so much the case in December, when three squads were shoo-ins and the fourth spot was completely up for grabs. Alabama had a case (a very, very good one, as it turns out), as did Ohio State, as did USC, as did UCF (although it was largely ignored until after the fact).

With the eventual No. 4 seed Crimson Tide winning it all for the second time—and beating the No. 3 seed Georgia, to boot—there’s a case to be made that these rankings set the cut line for college football’s elite tier too early, and that perhaps those teams left hanging deserve a chance to compete with the best for the title. This year’s postseason, in its aftermath, will only add to the argument for the eight-team field, but after just four seasons of a playoff format that was years in the making, change won’t come too swiftly.

In other words, because number four won the whole enchilada, that’s her case for having an eight-team playoff.  Jesus, I can’t wait to see the excuses these people come up with for expanding to sixteen.

By the way, all these people advocating for UCF — how many of them would have bet on the Knights had they faced off against Alabama?  Yeah, that’s about what I thought.

29 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Media Punditry/Foibles

We get what they pay for.

Again, I’m not going to stoop to blaming Georgia’s loss on the officiating or try to pretend there was anything sinister to why the Dawgs appeared to wind up on the short side of the stick so often in the second half, but I do find it interesting how we got stuck with a crew that was at best spectacularly inept for college football’s crown jewel.  Chip Towers explains.

For that it’s worth, I followed up on all that with the CFP folks and with the Big Ten. I was told by the CFP the NCAA selects from what conference the officiating crew is chosen for the championship game and the conference itself chooses those officials.

I was told to contact the Big Ten’s supervisor of officials, Adam Augustine, for comment on any specifics calls that took place in the game or any other details I might be interested in. I did that via phone call and email and haven’t heard back. And probably won’t.

So Jim Delany handpicked a crew headed by this guy:

Closed in the mind of Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany perhaps, as he buries his head in the sand and refuses to answer some important questions. Starting with:

Why was Dan Capron, the lead official on a crew disciplined by the Big Ten in 2002 after a game between Purdue and Wake Forest, working as the referee during the Ohio State-Michigan game?

We get a guy Joe Tiller described as “not a bad official, not a top-rated official” because college football doesn’t care enough to put its best foot forward in a national title game by handpicking a crew of the conferences’ top refs.  If there’s a conspiracy, it’s a conspiracy of dunces.

54 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, Big Ten Football, General Idiocy

“I think (eight teams is) where it’s going…”

Given the realities of life in the SEC West, it’s no real surprise that Gus Malzahn is an advocate for the CFP to expand the field to eight, but I have to admit he has a couple of conditions to go along with that which might make expansion a more palatable sale for some folks.

Malzahn believes that if the field were to expand from four to eight teams, it would require eliminating FCS teams from the schedule and require every conference play a nine-game schedule. The SEC currently plays an eight-game schedule, and Malzahn — and several SEC coaches — has previously been against expanding the conference slate to nine games, which was a topic of discussion at SEC spring meetings in 2013.

That he’s willing to compromise on something he’s been opposed to ought to indicate how appealing watering down postseason eligibility is for many coaches.  Let’s face it:  seasons when there are eight legitimate national title contenders are rare… or at least more rare than coaches who need “playoff appearance” on their resumes to justify long-term, multi-million dollar contract extensions.  Just sayin’.

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Filed under BCS/Playoffs

Welp, there goes one expansion talking point.

Turns out America didn’t have a problem tuning in to an all-SEC national title game.

ESPN’s presentation of the epic College Football Playoff National Championship between Georgia and Alabama (Jan. 8 at 8 p.m.) delivered a massive 16.7 overnight on its Nielsen-rated networks (ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPNU) as part of its MegaCast production, up 9% from last season’s thrilling College Football Playoff National Championship on the same three Nielsen-rated networks. The ESPN-only presentation delivered a monster 16.0 overnight for the Crimson Tide’s overtime victory, up 8% from the ESPN-only presentation last season, a game which featured a dramatic, last minute touchdown to win the game.

I guess the pundits jonesing for an eight-team field who were predicting doom-and-gloom boredom will have to fall back on a “poor ol’ Central Florida” argument.  Sucks when a narrative doesn’t pan out…

33 Comments

Filed under BCS/Playoffs, ESPN Is The Devil