Good, good, good...
Heisman Pundit added a good post today about the ever-present scheduling arguments taking place on here and elsewhere in the college football world.
In it, he argues that face value judgments on a conference based on ranked teams and bowl berths is beyond flawed and not to be introduced as legitimate justification in these conference squabbles fans, pundits and bloggers have engaged in.
[I]t seems to back up the point that I have been making all along about how some conferences use scheduling to pad their records.
When a conference is filled with teams playing easy schedules, it produces more wins, higher rankings and better bowls.
Therefore, when people justify a conference being the best based on how many ranked teams and bowl teams it has, they are using a flawed methodology.
That there is not a level playing field when it comes to schedules can no longer be denied or ignored. Estimation of the conferences should be adjusted accordingly.
Maybe the SEC and the Big 12 ARE the best conferences. That conclusion should not be reached, however, because of the number of highly-ranked teams or bowl berths from those leagues.
We now know one of the main contributors to that--it's the scheduling.
Inevitably, the main argument is betrayed as everyone wants to engage in a Pac-10 vs. SEC argument. That's fine, and it's stimulating and fun, but the real issue is correcting years of habitual reliance upon that flawed method.
Where HP and I split is his call to parity. He argues that tougher scheduling practices in leagues like the Pac-10 and Big Ten have led to greater parity within their ranks.
I think that parity is good for college football. For some reason, there seems to be a link between tougher scheduling and parity within a conference.
I think reforming how teams schedule would go a long way toward making parity a reality in every league.
I enjoy the uneven quality of teams within college football. Parity isn't of great concern, but I understand its merits given college football's uneven scheduling practices. The NFL has become a bad product in my eyes because the league is so terribly even. When that occurs, the game boils down to its most base elements and we as fans lose a lot of the creativity and styles of play on both sides of the ball that make college football so great.
However, scheduling parity is of great interest here. So long as people use these old crutches like HP mentioned (number of bowl appearances and inflated records) to evaluate conferences and their members, there is going to be an unfair advantage for some teams and conferences when it comes to bowl appearances, high rankings, recruiting, television exposure etc.
It isn't right and is particularly egregious given college football's regional and provincial ways.
My greatest concern is in finding a better way to evaluate and rank teams. What that best way is, I don't know. There could certainly be more discussion on that.