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Wednesday
Nov082006

You Like Baseball?

There's a scene from the movie Traffic where Benicio Del Toro's character is meeting with some feds at a hotel pool in downtown San Diego.  As he's negotiating the terms for his cooperation in their efforts to fight drug lords, he asks them a strange question:

You like baseball?

It's later revealed that his cost is a commitment to the people of Tijuana by funding the building of youth baseball fields among other things.

After reading this entry about college football and playoffs from a baseball blog of all places, it made me think---you like baseball?

More on that later, as I'm out the door.

Try to get past some of the inflammatory stuff (which makes me cringe), because it's good.  The messenger isn't the message.

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    Response: have a peek here
    Amazing Website, Continue the great job. Thanks.

Reader Comments (2)

Eh, why not.

At the risk of being bandied about by the "baseball savant," I'll give this a crack. The biggest issue I have with the anti-playoff sentiment is that it almost always fails to account for the 4-team playoff. Sure, opponents will mention 4- or 8-team playoffs, but then they tell you why the 8-team playoff is so bad. What would be so terrible about 4 teams getting a crack?

Also, only allowing two teams a shot at the title at the end of the season leaves too much room for a pretender to get in. There is a very real chance that Louisville plays for the title this year; they are not deserving, in my view. Now, were they to beat a top 4 team in one round, I might be convinced they deserved a title shot. I'd hate for Ohio State to blow out the Cardinals and make me think, damn, I wish I had gotten to see Florida get a chance.

Also, college football is VERY different from baseball in the regular season. A college football team plays about 10% of the teams in the 'league.' There is little doubt at the end of the year which teams belong in or around the top 10, but their order is often very hard to determine. Why is Ohio State ahead of Michigan? We could make arguments, but there's no way to know for sure. That game WILL get decided on the field, but many will not. WVU and Florida, for example could argue all day about who's the better team, and they won't get to decide that.

When it comes to deciding a champion, I agree that it stinks that one bad performance could cost a team the title. The Tigers were, in fact, better than the Cardinals. It is definitely regrettable that their "off" days cost them the championship. You know what, though? USC is better than Oregon State. That "off" day has cost them a shot a title. Read that carefully. They lost their SHOT because of an off day. College football tends to deny a team the right to an off day.

It DOES, however, reward a team for playing a schedule soft enough to survive despite off days. Ohio State survived an off day against Illinois. Michigan did similarly against Ball State. Had they been playing a team as good as the Beavers, maybe they'd be out too. However, if you gave the best 4 teams a CHANCE, you eliminate that quality in college football. The argument of, "We deserve a chance! We might be the 5th best team, but we might be 4th!!!" is a lot easier to deny than, "We might be 3rd, but we might be 2nd!" It is much more difficult to complain as a 5th place team than as a 3rd.

Finally, I'm comfortable saying that there will never be 5 undefeated BCS teams. You will never leave out a team who hasn't done anything wrong, a la Auburn (I know, I know, weak OOC, but any other year they are in the thick of things). 8-team playoffs do suck. 4-team playoffs, however, are almost perfect, and at least better than the current system.
November 8, 2006 | Unregistered CommenterCody
Maybe it's because I'm a somewhat younger guy (and on the West Coast), but I don't remember CFB being such a big deal when I was younger, back in the 80's and 90's. Sure, Notre Dame was on TV every Saturday morning, but I'm as big a football fan as anybody and it was always all about the NFL. Heck, I think even WWF was bigger than CFB back then.

Thinking back, the only significant event I can think of to change this has been the BCS. Of course, it got off to a bit of a slow start (I think Tennessee won the first one), but look at CFB now. It has a ridiculuous national following, replete with ESPN College GameDay and shows of that ilk. I know GameDay itself is pretty old so correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't it blow up right around the formation of the BCS?

Allow me also to say that I'm no BCS fan. I find myself longing for the days of yore- when the PAC and BIG10 actually sent their best to the Rose, and there was no 'Starbucks Bowl' or 'Google Bowl' (Just wait for those). Granted, I was barely conscious at the time, but it brings to mind much grander images than coaches politicking for votes in order to get "into" better bowl games (yeah, guess where I went to school). I'm sure that kind of garbage went on back in the days of Rockne and Bryant too, but in this age of media scrutiny, such irregularites in the end-of-season polls (which are the only ones that should REALLY matter) would surely be less prevalent.

The point I'm trying to make is that the BCS has been a boon for college football. By creating gazillions of arguments, pitting sections of the country against one another, it has created a media monster and a huge moneymaker. Much props to these university president geniuses. However, a playoff solves very few of the problems facing the system today (i.e. who gets to play?). I personally think it would be great to go back to the old days of the Bowl Alliance or whatever it was called, restoring the truly "traditional" matchups, and risk having split champions again (oops that happened anyway, didn't it?). I mean, we'd still be able to argue as much as we do now- if not more- which, I think, is why we love CFB so much. It's so opinion-driven. Might as well go full-circle at this point, don't you guys think?
November 8, 2006 | Unregistered Commenter...

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