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"Maybe you should start your own blog" - Bruce Feldman, ESPN

"[An] Excellent resource for all things college football. It’s blog index is the definitive listing of the CFB blogosphere ... [A] must-read for fans." - Sports Illustrated (On Campus)

"The big daddy of them all, the nerve center of this twisted college football blogsphere" - The House Rock Built

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Top Teams 2008

After Week Seven

  1. Alabama
  2. Penn State
  3. Texas
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Florida
  6. USC
  7. Georgia
  8. LSU
  9. BYU
  10. Missouri
  11. Ohio State
  12. Oklahoma State
  13. Texas Tech
  14. Utah
  15. Kansas
  16. USF
  17. North Carolina
  18. Miami
  19. Boise State
  20. Georgia Tech
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Submission Corner
Saturday Night's Alright For A Fight
Sunday
May112008

Playoff Quotable

Mike Greenberg, in this month's ESPN The Magazine:

I may be the lone holdout who likes the current system.  A college professor once told me the only interesting questions are the ones with no answers.  Every other sport wraps things up, but debates about which team was best continue long after a college football season is over.

Auburn went undefeated in 2004 -- can you say they weren't the best team in the country [they weren't - Ed.]?  We'll be discussing it for years to come. 

Friday
May092008

No Playoffs in the English Premier League, Either

Hmm.

Few fans of the Premier League like to use the word "playoffs," and for good reason. English football emphasizes the league season above all else. You can only determine the best club in the league by having all the clubs play each other in a big home-and-away series. To give the league title to a club that got on a hot streak in a post-season tournament is tantamount to blasphemy.

In other words, their focus and attention is on the regular season just like college football.  It's a point of emphasis.  When you emphasize the postseason (as happens in the NFL, MLB, college basketball, NBA, etc.), the regular season is cheapened dramatically.

When you emphasize the regular season (like college football), the postseason is cheapened.  At least with college football, there are bowl games plus the big ticket BCS games and the BCS title game.  It's the best of both worlds, but because it doesn't look or smell or taste like the NFL some people are upset.

Look, this is how our game is played.  College football is what it is because it has found a way to produce an incredible regular season.  The EPL has their way of doing things, with great success.  To each their own.

Wednesday
May072008

APR Showing Some Teeth

Probationary period over, we're starting to see some real hits from the NCAA's academic mandates established several years ago.  Interesting, if nothing else.

APR-Rivals-Graphic.jpg
Rivals.com 

Monday
May052008

Wetzel Logic

Twisted, obviously.

Yahoo! Sports' Dan Wetzel, on last week's BCS meetings that smartly shelved a proposal for a 4-team playoff:

In the end it was too much. The commissioners believed that just the taste of something that exciting would lead to demands to rewrite the rules and create more.

"Even though we could construct barriers at this time, we felt like there could be easily an erosion of that; more pressure to add more teams with an ability to get to the national championship game as we went over time," Dan Beebe of the Big 12 said.

Fear of success was enough for some to scream for silence.

This is so incredibly dishonest.  The people in charge aren't afraid of "success".  What they realize is something that I've harped on here (and initially expressed by Get The Picture): mission creep.  The four-team playoff proposal is a Trojan Horse and everyone knows it.  It's an entry into the gates from where you can never go back.  A four-team playoff would never stay at four teams.  In essence, if the conference commissioners had approved of the SEC's proposal, they wouldn't so much be agreeing to a "modest" four-team playoff but an ever-expanding playoff.

This was quite intelligent on their part.

Wetzel is an unabashed playoff supporter.  That's fine, but he's also incredibly insulting and demeaning to those who stand against it.  There are plenty of legitimate reasons to oppose a playoff in college football (start here and then go here).  He refuses to acknowledge them in his zeal to change the game, which makes him a dishonest broker in all of this.

Thursday
May012008

You Can't Always Get What You Want

But if you try some time, you just might find, you get what you need.

Good work, (most) conference commissioners.  First round's on me if we ever meet.

Monday
Apr072008

New Blogs

It's been a while, so this list is looooooong.  Additionally, something got into my old computer in November and ate everything.  At a price I got it fixed and literally everything was restored -- except for the mountains of links I had accumulated in my browser.

This led to something short of depression but well above frustration.  In the intervening time I've slowly accumulated a new set of "new blogs" to add.  Piles of old emails were reviewed and if you sent me an email your blog is likely on this list.  If not, please accept my apology and send an email with your URL so that I can add your blog to the next round of "New Blogs" and include it in CFR's extensive index of college football blogs.

Finally, many of the blogs listed here may be duplicates of ones already listed in the index.  As these are added I'll do my best to note the duplicates and avoid repetition in the blog index. 

* * *

***
These will be added to the links shortly.  Any and all duplicates discovered after the fact will merit a ceremonial strikethrough.  Cool?  Cool.
***
If you have a college football blog and would like for it to be linked on here and featured in a future blog roundup, please send me an email with a link and I will happily oblige.

Friday
Apr042008

Casual Friday

Monday
Mar312008

The NCAA Strikes Again

No fun allowed!

Spring "Gridiron Bash" concerts squashed.

It is their right and there may be some solid reasons to block these concerts, but still ... Rules that lead to strange actions like these only further erode the NCAA's limited credibility with fans like myself.

I can think through something like that and understand where the NCAA is coming from (and still think they're wrong, but in fairness at least consider the reasoning), but what about the casual fan?  They won't care the reasons, because on its face this is completely absurd and no amount of reasoning can change the minds of a lot of people who see it that way.

Friday
Mar282008

Casual Friday

Perhaps a regular feature, perhaps not, it's toe-in-the-water time with this.  And the name could probably use some pep.  Suggestions welcome.

  • Craft beers are a gift to mankind -- enjoyed in moderation, of course.  For years it's been almost impossible to make or sell them in the state of Alabama.  The state's legislators have wrestled for years about whether or not to raise alcohol limits that would allow for greater variety of beer into the state.  Some legislators are hopelessly clueless.  Watch the video for more background, but scan to 5:33 for an entertaining speech from Rep. Alvin Holmes (D-Montgomery).  (H/T: Get The Picture)
  • Enjoy this 14-part stroll through North Korea (aka "crazyland"), made by the brave folks at VBS.tv.  Seriously, carve out some time in your day to watch this series of videos.
  • Emo emu
emo_emu.jpg
  • Sam The Cooking Guy has gone big-time.  Sam Zien will be on the Today Show April 1.  Who is Sam The Cooking Guy?  He's someone who should be on FoodTV with his own show, but until recently was an incredibly obscure cooking show host playing before county television audiences in San Diego.
The Discovery Health network snagged his show and re-tuned it with a healthy angle (ehhhh, but its a promotion).  Good guy, interesting show, and someone with the potential to be really embraced nationally.  Check out some YouTube vids of Sam doing his thingUpdate: Sam's appearance was moved to Thursday.

  • Coming next week: New Blogs.  Like, 100+ of them.  If you've emailed me in the last three or so months, this is probably the moment when your blog gets linked, woo hoo!  If you're not listed and want your blog up, now's a good time to send an email my way with a link and stuff.
  • Also: I get a fair amount of emails to sites, blog entries etc. that I simply cannot accomodate into the normal theme of this blog.  This space may be a good place to direct such entries, so if you've tried before with little effect to get one of your entries mentioned on here, try again.  Casual Friday or whatever this will be called is a little more open to such efforts.
Tuesday
Mar252008

Pundit Roundup

Making Tuesday Fun Since 2006!

Special two-week edition since last week's Pundit Roundup was never published. 

* * *
Victors Valiant?

There's a new sheriff in town at Ann Arbor.  A million dollars alone are being invested in a new weight room.  Players are exhausted from workouts.  Dire predictions of Michigan's worst record in a generation are being floated around as the team adjusts to an entirely new offense and defense.  And then there's that hyper-talkative strength trainer Mike Barwis.

Catch up on the transitioning Wolverines with ESPN's Ivan Maisel 

Fun, But Foolish

You know where I stand on this: college football doesn't need a playoff.  College basketball is not the model to follow, either.  It's deeply flawed, and The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart does a good job of taking apart the sham claim that it is somehow a real championship.

Don't believe it.

Oh, the thrills and chills stuff is real. But we likely won't know who the best in the nation is.

That's right. The notion that a season-ending, one-and-done playoff delivers us the best team is false. Heck, the NCAA Tournament is flawed from the start because it doesn't even feature the 65 best teams in the nation.

But, it's too late. The NCAA and CBS already have you hooked and hoodwinked.

As the NCAA hoops tournament shows us each year, any team can beat any other team on any given day.

But why should a team that loses one, two or three games during the regular season be forced to prove itself all over again in a three-week playoff?

Conversely, why should a team with an average or losing record be allowed the chance to compete for a championship?

Get on your knees and thank the gridiron gods that college football isn't polluted by a playoff. And I hope it never happens.

A championship title -- or the right to compete for a championship -- should be based on what a team did during the course of a long, hard season. College football's regular season acts as a de facto playoff, rewarding teams that take care of business week in and week out. There's no way to save your season after slacking for three months. And that's how it should be.

That's why every single weekend matters in college football. Every upset in September and October is huge news. And when a top-five team loses in November, it rocks the sport to its core.

With conference tournaments followed by the NCAA tourney, college basketball has sold its regular-season soul for a March tourney that rings hollow, too.

It all boils down to this: A champion shouldn't be crowned based on who gets hot over a three-week period. And, really, that's all a playoff tells us: Who got hot. Not, who is best.

Is college football's BCS formula infallible? No. But it's at least a darn good approximation for finding the two most worthy teams of playing for the national title.

No Job Is Safe

If he does nothing else in his life, Stanford quarterback Tavita Pritchard will be remembered for defeating USC last year.  Not only did he beat the Trojans, he beat them with the league's worst team.  Against arguably the nation's best team the last six years.  In their home stadium.  Ending their 30+ game home winning streak.  After completing just 11 passes all game.  Two of those passes, however, were a 4th and 20 conversion and the game-winning 4th down touchdown pass.

Now he's in a heck of a fight just to be Stanford's starting quarterback against two solid competitors.  What have you done for me lately, huh?  Although that's the way it should be.

ESPN's Pac-10 guru Ted Miller has the rest of the details

Ok Maybe This Job Is Safe

Joe (Paterno) won't go.  He's running out of options, thanks partly to his cantankerous ways and partly to several modest seasons since the 2005 Orange Bowl and various off-field transgressions embarrassing the dignity of the program.  I've given up trying to figure out when (if?) he'll leave.  Every couple years someone is convinced this is the year the Paterno reign ends.  And then he soldiers on.

Here's the latest effort from CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd

Opium For The Masses

There's certain games that aren't played that leave you scratching your head.  Number one on the list is Pitt/Penn State.  Joe Paterno is flat-out wrong in finding every reason not to play this series.  He's let the people of Pennsylvania down.

The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart recommends several other games that need to be played 

Burning Spear

The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart went to Tally to figure out what went wrong at Florida State.  Here are his findings, in three parts:

Another Workout Death

This is a sensitive issue, since unknown pre-existing conditions are quite often to blame when a young athlete dies during drills.  However I can't fault Yahoo! Sports' Terry Bowden for asking some good questions and doing the research that finds only seven times since 1966 has there been a year without a non-contact football death (1999 the most recent).

Sometimes bad things just happen.

Sometimes people die for no good reason at all.

But why does the sometime in college football almost always seem to be during some form of offseason conditioning? If football practice is supposed to simulate the actual intensity of a game, and the level of effort demanded in a mat drill is no different than that what is expected on the playing field; then why are kids dying in March and not in September? Unlike mountain climbing and auto racing, there is no reasonable expectation of death while playing football. So why are lives being lost preparing for the game?

Maybe these tragic deaths are not inevitable. Maybe it’s time to start asking ourselves different questions. Are we demanding much more from these athletes than is required to safely play? Are we spending enough money on testing for pre-existing conditions that lead to deaths? Could either of these factors have contributed to the death of any of these student-athletes?

These are tough questions.

But they are not nearly as tough as what Enock and Gisele Plancher are going through this week as they prepare to bury their son.

* * *
Quotable

Michigan coach Rich Rodriguez

"If they had ever set a stat for spring practice sacks allowed, we would have broken it, and it would never be broken again," Rodriguez said. "I mean, I can remember our first spring game at Tulane. We had a little intrasquad scrimmage. It was so bad offensively that the defensive coaches let one of the female student trainers call defenses. And I still didn't get a first down."

Former Florida State running back Lorenzo Booker

"You're losing and coming into meetings hearing how it's your fault," says former FSU running back Lorenzo Booker. "But I always wondered, 'What are the coaches doing to get better?' It's a two-way street. We felt it was us losing the games, not the coaches.

"It was like they had no part in any of it. It was like they had no accountability. It was like Jeff Bowden was untouchable. It was like no one on the staff could criticize him. The defense always did its job. The guys on defense would get mad at us. But after a while, they understood."

CBS Sports' Dennis Dodd re: much-hyped Ohio State quarterback commit Terrelle Pryor

In one sense, Pryor can't possibly live up to the hype, can he? If he wins a national championship, that's what he was supposed to do. If he wins a Heisman, well, it's been done before in Columbus.

Terrelle Pryor

"Troy Smith ran some zone-read stuff early in his career, and then he developed into a pocket passer and did a lot of stuff out of the shotgun," Pryor said. "He became a better quarterback -- not just an athlete -- by the time he was done. I feel I can do the same. Both schools said they would utilize my athletic ability in the offense, but I think I can be more well-rounded at Ohio State."

* * *
Miscellaneous

. . . USC coach Pete Carroll is working towards 'A Better L.A.' (Bruce Feldman/ESPN) . . . Quarterback Nate Davis and Ball State teammates are the MAC's new golden boys (Bruce Feldman/ESPN) . . . I-Formation (Ivan Maisel/ESPN) . . . He said/she said and improprieties the story of Nyan Boateng's rocky college career (Ted Miller/ESPN) Georgia, Missouri and Wisconsin must navigate the expectations dance (Mark Schlabach/ESPN) . . . Ray Ray McElrathbey's lost scholarship story: it's complicated (Mark Schlabach/ESPN) . . . A wise marketing gimmick by Florida coach Urban Meyer: race the team, win a scholarship (Dennis Dodd/CBS Sports) . . .

. . . Inside Dish: USF dishes on how to beat the Rich Rodriguez offense (Matt Hayes/The Sporting News) . . . Nice guys like Tyrone Willingham finish last (Matt Hayes/The Sporting News) . . . Bubblegum pop and college football don't mix (Tom Dienhart/The Sporting News) . . .  Casting a College Football Hall of Fame Ballot (Tom Dienhart/The Sporting News) . . . Football is all about contact, but safety is still a huge priority and some new NCAA rule changes addressing safety are welcome (Terry Bowden/Yahoo! Sports) . . . Previews, everywhere (Rivals.com) . . . History tells us Notre Dame must wait (Olin Buchanan/Rivals.com) . . .

. . . Disgust with the game's excesses (Tony Barnhart/Atlanta Journal-Constitution) . . . Erack Plancher's death brings tragic end to a life full of promise (Mike Bianchi/Orlando Sentinel) . . . George O'Leary's tough-guy rep bends to a broken heart (Mike Bianchi/Orlando Sentinel) . . . Nick Saban is still a big deal in Louisiana (Paul Finebaum/Mobile Press-Register) . . .

* * *
To read articles and blog entries from many other college football writers, be sure and visit CFR's "The Punditry" links. You can either bookmark that link or find it via CFR's College Football Links section on the menu at left. 

Monday
Mar242008

Another Convert

I'm not sure if he'll ever agree with me about the "means" of my anti-playoff argument, but after the occasional protestation, EDSBS' Orson Swindle has come to the same conclusion about the ends: to hell with a playoff for college football.

Glad to have you aboard. 

In its entirety (emphasis mine):

The net result for us in experiencing the NCAA tourney from the vantage point of deep inside the smoky anus of Vegas is this: college football must never, ever have a playoff. Nevah. That’s our gut instinct right now after having watched the weird dénouement of the tourney’s first weekend in Vegas and realizing that the NCAA cannot effectively coordinate the mating of two donkeys, much less a major football tournament.

Because we’re typing this off our phone while waiting in line to be told that we’re not making our connecting flight in Phoenix, we’ll be succinct: the season remains everything in college football, and a playoff would tangibly devalue the regular season’s value. Man on moon, yes; but seeing the dispassion of turning the game into a neatly compressed lump of productmeat suitable for easy heat ‘n bake consumption made us irrationally sad.

As it stands, every team with a decent body of work gets their one moment in the sun, unless they get the Motor City Bowl, in which case they at least get a moment of glory in the rain of fiery ashes and locusts that has been pelting Detroit for 40 years or so. A playoff kills that dead.

Onto the plane. It’s strictly working on the lizard brain level right now, but the image of a season easily ended in tidy fashion on four screens in Vegas makes us want to split the rails of a playoff train’s tracks and watch the wreck ensue.

It’s just this weekend’s Colbert gut instinct, but it’s there.

I wonder if this is playoff proponents' Cronkite moment.  If they've lost Swindle, they've lost middle America ... or something.

Anyway, welcome to The Coalition, Every Day Should Be Saturday.

* * *
For more of my thoughts on this issue, see my "Playoffs = Bad Idea" category here, and read my entry Le Playoffs.  If you're of like mind, send an email my way with your name or the name of your blog/website to be added to The Coalition (you're not alone!) of people against a playoff in college football on the menu at left.

Sunday
Mar232008

College Football Is No. 1

The college basketball sycophants are back at it again, spewing about the greatness of their game (all three weeks of it) and just how terrible college football is.  Don't believe a word of it.

As is tradition here (fourth year now!), below is a reproduction of a list of The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart's 65 reasons college football is superior to college basketball.  Feel free to chime in with your own reasons. 

* * *
My annual March ritual is to post the following: "65 Reasons College Football is Better than College Basketball".  It's from an article written by The Sports News' Tom Dienhart, dated 3/6/2002 (and updated 3/8/2007).  Feel free to add to the list.  Take it away, Tom:

The NCAA Tournament will begin next week. It's a fun event, especially the first weekend. In fact, it may be among the four best days on the sports calendar. Still, college hoops pales in comparison to college football. Let me count the ways, 65 of them in all.


1. Homecoming queens and their screaming, crying sorority sisters.

2. Sea of pumping pom-poms on a Saturday night in the SEC. (It IS the nation's best conference.)

3. Crisp, cool autumn air in arrogant Ann Arbor, Mich.

4. Heisman Trophy.

5. Players doing the Heisman pose.

6. Flyovers at Air Force. Wow, it's loud.

7. Drifting blimps in a clear October sky.

8. Saturday morning. (The anticipation.)

9. Saturday afternoon. (The excitement.)

10. Saturday night. (The celebration.)

11. Holy trinity of Corso, Herbstreit and Fowler at YOUR campus.

12. Yell Leaders at super-charged College Station, Texas.

13. Mascots that could trample you -- and eat you: Ralphie and Mike the Tiger.

14. Marching bands (They're your band nerds. Hike up your pants, slip on your Drew Carey glasses, put on your pocket protector and show 'em some love! At least at halftime.)

15. Golden Girl, Girl in Black and Silver Twins in staid West Lafayette, Ind.

16. RVs as far as the eye can see in stately State College, Pa.

17. Candelabras and linen tablecloths at The Grove in lovely Oxford, Miss.

18. Old Brass Spittoon. (Quick aside: Whatever happened to the Bourbon Barrel?)

19. The "excellent" Bob Davie. (You know I love ya.)

20. Paul Bunyan's Axe.

21. "Simple Gifts" in explosive Morgantown, W.Va.

22. Floyd of Rosedale.

23. Cy-Hawk.

24. USC Song Girls.

25. Dawg Walk.

26. Tiger Walk.

27. Vol Walk.

28. The Fifth Quarter in rollicking Madison, Wisc.

29. Tunnel Walk in over-the-top Lincoln, Neb.

30. Our "Pardner," Brent Musburger. (Wonder what he's "looking live at" right now? Fascinating.)

31. Booming Big Bertha bass drum in way-cool Austin, Texas.

32. Rolling Toomer's Corner on "The Plains."

33. Welcome to Death Valley at LSU, and Clemson, too.

34. Clanging cowbells in dot-on-the-map Starkville, Miss.

35. Jingling car keys as toe meets leather. Anywhere.

36. Red River Rivalry in "Big D."

37. Third Saturday in October.

38. Tightwad Hill in bizarre Berkeley, Calif.

39. Trick plays in beautiful Boise, Idaho.

40. Water taxis at U-Dub.

41. Vol Navy.

42. Grave sites for Reveille and Uga. (Take off that hat and bow your head.)

43. Your buddy's Keith Jackson impersonation. Let me hear ya say "Whoa, Nellie!."

44. Fuuummmmbbbbllleeeeee!!! (Sorry about that.)

45. Hokey Pokey in bucolic Blacksburg, Va.

46. No Dick Vitale. (Awesome, Baby!)

47. Mountain views at Washington, Colorado, UCLA and BYU.

48. Civil War in "Orygun."

49. Hunkering down between the hedges in silver britches in awesome Athens, Ga.

50. Doting the "i" in Columbus, Ohio.

51. Notre Dame pep rallies. Yes, even when Regis is there.

52. Chief Osceola and Renegade in Tallahassee, Fla.

53. Tigers running down a hill in "the 25 most exciting seconds in college football" in crazed Clemson, S.C.

54. Duck! Flying tortillas in way-out-there Lubbock, Texas.

55. "2001: A Space Odyssey" entrance in insane Columbia, S.C.

56. Army-Navy.

57. Beano Cook's voice (Love it when he says "Notre Dame.")

58. Saturday morning drive from Spokane, Wash., to the Palouse (It's out of this world. Literally.)

59. Checkerboard end zones in nutty Knoxville, Tenn.

60. Flasks. (Where do hide yours?)

61. Running through the "A" in frenzied Fayetteville, Ark.

62. RUF/NEKS and the Sooner Schooner in abnormal Norman, Okla.

63. Year-round chatter/debate over polls that matter.

64. Iron Bowl. War Damn Eagle! Rooollll Tide! (You gotta pick a side. Be careful.)

65. Sweaty, bleeding, grass-stained, off-key BMOCs serenading fans with the fight song. Three words: Beaut. I. Ful.

Sorta makes you wanna crumble up that silly NCAA hoop bracket you'll fill out, mute Jim Nantz and start planning your first tailgate, doesn't it?

Sure it does.

* * *
Previous Editions:

Thursday
Mar202008

Butts In The Seats

"The greatest sporting even in all of America" . . .

Is playing to empty crowds.

The 2008 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament has begun, with Xavier and Georgia the first teams to tip off, and it's a little depressing to look at the crowd at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Or, I should say, the lack of a crowd.

At least in the portion of the arena that the CBS cameras are showing, there are many more empty seats than there are fans. The best seats in the house, up front and right at center court, are almost totally empty.

This happens every year, but folks keep on believing in the greatness of an event that doesn't inspire people to you know, actually attend the event.

Monday
Mar172008

Some Clarification

I oppose a playoff in college football.

I do not oppose all playoffs.  The NBA Playoffs are an example of a fairly reliable playoff.  Major League Baseball has a well-structured playoff in concept, but it produces some strange champions, likely due to the nature of that game and just how much luck and other noise can override the ability gap between some teams (read Moneyball, kids).

The NFL's model is terrible.  Same with college basketball.  They're exciting, but they're basically dressed-up one-and-done tournaments, not championships. 

For various reasons already well documented, there's no reasonable way to achieve a meaningful, representative, true championship through a playoff in college football.

Being as this is a website called College Football Resource, it should be implied and understood when I'm talking about playoffs that I'm talking about them in college football.  I use examples from other sports to illustrate my arguments, but in reality I have no interest in advocating for change in their games.  They are simply the examples when I discuss them.  Sometimes I mock, but my real focus here is on college football, other sports be damned.

Monday
Mar172008

Mission Creep In March

Wherever there's a trough, there's always more hungry mouths to be fed than available food.  In sports the solution seems to be: get a bigger trough.

The NCAA basketball tournament's about to begin, yet already some of the discussion isn't about basketball games but expanding the damn thing even further beyond its 64/65 team arrangement.

Some people want to be cute by a half, and expand the thing to 68 games.

Others?  Massive growth.  Sportz Assasin wants a 96-team fieldBobby Knight's thinking 128 teams (!!!).  Enough is never enough.  If conference tournaments weren't already enough of a sham (hello, USD and Georgia, great stories both but c'mon), these kinds of proposals all strike at college basketball's already wimpy regular season.

What's interesting is that despite all this expansion talk, much of the talk of bubble teams has been about how weak a crop of back-end teams there are this year.  Isn't it sort of foolish to welcome in even more substandard teams?

If someone is seriously interested in carving out even more time for a postseason tournament, shouldn't "series" games be a consideration?  How about having teams in the "Final Four" play each other in a best of three, same goes with the championship?

The fact that I don't really hear that kind of talk leads me to believe that there's just no seriousness about this tournament.  People -- not just the fans, but those who have a responsibility to the game of college basketball -- aren't interested in a championship.  They want the chaos of the tournament.  It's Roman theatre over the idea of having a representative, meaningful championship.

That is the fate of college football if we even move towards any kind of postseason tournament.  If things go that way, at first everyone's going to go ok let's keep this thing limited, do this "plus one" thing.  Over time, too many other forces will demand a seat at the table and then it will be eight teams.  Then 16.  This is mission creep and is horrifyingly inevitable.

In the end, nobody will get what they really want and the college football game will be left with a monstrosity that is ultimately meaningless and created at the expense of several (meaningful) regular season games.

* * *
If you didn't already figure out by now, I'm against a playoff in college football.  This doesn't mean I'm against playoffs in general -- just bad playoffs.  Playoffs should actually count for something.  They should be a test for all involved but also spit out the best team at the end of the process.  This means having teams compete in several head-to-head series, not one-and-done games that leave way too much to luck, chance, and other outside variables.  Major League Baseball has the right idea, but even then it produces some questionable championship teams.  The NBA seems to get it right most often, but then they've got best of 5 and 7 game series.  That simply cannot happen with football when to be safe you're playing about one game a week.

Given the nature of 1)football and 2)college sports, it's simply impossible to have anything resembling a meaningful playoff for college football.  I urge people to abandon the notion.  The game has gotten smart by calling its "championship" mythical.  It is exactly that --- mythical, and I'm ok with that.  I'm more interested in the several hundred dramatic regular season games than a handful of postseason crap shoots anyway.  Give me LSU/Florida in September over LSU/Ohio State in January any day of the week and twice on Sunday.  We're the only game around with a compelling regular season and I'd like to keep it that way.

For more of my thoughts on this issue, see my "Playoffs = Bad Idea" category here, and read my entry Le Playoffs.  If you're of like mind, send an email my way with your name or the name of your blog/website to be added to The Coalition (you're not alone!) of people against a playoff in college football on the menu at left.

Wednesday
Mar122008

Conference Tournaments

Are a bad, bad, bad idea.  Same with conference title games.  Regular season play should decide a conference champion.

Here's why.

It's not going to happen, but Heisman Pundit touched upon a more reliable and equitable way to manage the conferences in an entry from late November:

2. Conference Reform

This one is simple. There should be the same amount of teams in every conference. No more of the Big East having eight teams and the SEC having 12 and the Pac-10 having 10. This creates distortions in the schedules which in turn distorts the BCS rankings.

Every major conference should have 10 teams and there should be 12 conferences (mathematically easy with the coming edition of Western Kentucky to 1-A). Then, every conference should play a round-robin schedule, meaning that each team faces every other team within the conference. There would be no conference championship games, so the winner of the conference would be the true winner. Every team would have nine conference games and three non-conference games, which would be determined by the aforementioned scheduling system and a rotating series between conferences (Big Ten vs. SEC; Big 12 vs. Big East, etc.). At the end of the season, there would be 12 true conference champions and the top teams still standing will have truly earned their keep.

Anyone think the USD basketball team earned its keep in the regular season relative to Gonzaga or St. Mary's?

Selection time hasn't begun and already the NCAA Tournament is flawed.  Now, the BCS isn't much better, but that's the whole point.  The supposed model for all things right about a tournament has and always will be deeply flawed.  It's a one-and-done crapshoot that reveals little about anything other than chaos.  It's fun, but it's not representative of anything.  It's silly instead of serious.  It lacks depth, which perhaps explains why Billy Packer's there lording over all of it.

Tuesday
Mar112008

Pundit Roundup

Making Tuesday Fun Since 2006!

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Southern Revival

The latest name in new-age vagabond offensive gurus in the mold of Gus Malzahn: Auburn offensive coordinator Tony Franklin.  Malzahn had his books.  Franklin has a website.

ESPN's Mark Schlabach has more

The spread offense has provided Franklin a second chance, too. When Franklin resigned as Kentucky's offensive coordinator after the 2000 season, he was accused of supplying the NCAA with information that led to coach Hal Mumme resigning and the Wildcats being placed on probation. Franklin even wrote a book about his experience and sued Kentucky and Mumme.

"I was told by people that I would be done in coaching forever if I wrote that book," Franklin said. "The way I looked at it, I'd be done if I didn't write the book. The innuendo and rumors were purposely placed out there to make me look like a rat. Most people believed it to be fact. I felt writing the book was the best thing to do. I don't regret it."

Franklin paid dearly for his actions. After leaving Kentucky, he was out of work for three years. He was hired as general manager and coach of an indoor football team in Lexington, Ky., in 2003, but left after only one season. At the time, Franklin's consulting business was struggling to get off the ground. He lost his home and cars and filed for bankruptcy.

Finally, Troy coach Larry Blakeney hired Franklin as offensive coordinator before the 2006 season. Franklin helped Troy win its first Sunbelt Conference title and bowl game in his first season. Tuberville came calling after Franklin's second season at Troy.

"It's been a very humbling experience," Franklin said.

Profiles in Scourge

Rick Neuheisel's doing his best impression of USC at the moment, right down to hyping the excitement of practice (we're talking about practice!).  I don't have a clue how that experiment's going to work out, but he's certainly got people curious and Bruin fans excited.

He is the anti-Dorrell. Neuheisel is telling his old teammate as much when he talks with reporters. Karl Dorrell was a great guy and a decent coach but he lacked what Slick Rick has and L.A. demands.

When they played together, Neuheisel contends the quiet receiver barely spoke to him until Dorrell was a sophomore, even though their lockers were separated only by that of quarterback David Norrie.

"My senior year he came up and said, 'Hey, I need to get five catches in this game,' Neuheisel said. "I said, 'Karl, this is a breakthrough.'"

Dorrell got his five catches in the 1983 USC game and then said, "I need five more."

"Look it up," Neuheisel said, "Rose Bowl, 1984."

Five catches, two for touchdowns.

See the entire Dennis Dodd profile here.

We Hardly Knew Ya

The Orlando Sentinel's Mike Bianchi comes not to praise the All America Football League (AAFL) but to bury it:

Warning: When somebody from a start-up minor league sports franchise approaches and tries to get you to invest money or buy season tickets, run away like they're trying to sell you a downtown condo.

You see, these people are hopeless dreamers. They think their brilliant idea will work where all others have failed. The AAFL, for instance, thought it would capitalize on the popularity of college football and tie professional teams to big-time college programs.

Miscellaneous

Washington quarterback Jake Locker will be playing some baseball (Bruce Feldman/ESPN) . . . The I-Formation returns after a several month absence (Ivan Maisel/ESPN) . . . Brett Favre's football miracles started at Southern Miss (Pat Forde/ESPN) . . . Spring questions (Stewart Mandel/Sports Illustrated) . . . Spring nuggets (Dennis Dodd/CBS Sports) . . . 10 scariest college football players (Olin Buchanan/Rivals.com) . . . Mountains of previews at Rivals.com . . . Duke coach David Cutcliffe is working with a bunch of overweight, out-of-shape kids (Tom Dienhart/The Sporting News) . . . Poor man's draft picks (Matt Hayes/The Sporting News) . . . Pete Carroll is calling other coaches lazy (Matt Hayes/The Sporting News) . . . Former Auburn quarterback Jason Campbell stumps for Tommy Tuberville and his version of discipline (Paul Finebaum/Mobile Press-Register) . . . 

Announcements

ESPN College GameDay is headed to Florida for the Gators' Orange and Blue Game on April 12

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To read articles and blog entries from many other college football writers, be sure and visit CFR's "The Punditry" links. You can either bookmark that link or find it via CFR's College Football Links section on the menu at left.

Monday
Mar102008

Trivia

Name the first player to return a kickoff for touchdown against a Bo Schembechler led Michigan team

Update: Commenter Jim McDermott rings in with the correct answer --- Notre Dame's Raghib "Rocket" Ismail.

From page 107 of "Bo's Lasting Lessons - The Legendary Coach Teaches the Timeless Fundamentals of Leadership"

September 16, 1989, it's my last year, and we're playing Notre Dame at home.  We've got a good team -- with Leroy Hoard, Greg McMurtry and Greg Skrepenak -- but they do, too, with Tony Rice and Ricky Watters and Rocket Ismail.  Good? Hell, we were ranked number two, and they were ranked number one.  That's pretty good!

We start the second half down just 7-6.  We kick the ball to Rocket, and he runs the damn thing all the way back for a touchdown -- the first kickoff returned for a touchdown since I had arrived at Michigan twenty years earlier!  That makes me mad.

Early in the fourth quarter we cut their lead to 17-12 and we've got to kick off again.  Now I'm on the headset, telling the coaches I want to squib it, kick it out of bounds, eat it -- anything but kick it to Rocket Ismail.  But they're unified. "No, Bo, we can stop him.  Last time was a fluke.  Let's send a message!"

I agree.  We kick it to Rocket -- and I'll be damned if he doesn't run it all the way back again for another touchdown!  We lose 24-19, with Rocket scoring 14 of their points on two kick returns.

Afterward the know-it-all writers are asking how I could be so stupid to kick the ball to Rocket twice.  Whose brilliant idea was that?

I did not think twice before answering: "It was my decision, it's my responsibility, and if you don't like it, you can blame me." 

Tuesday
Mar042008

Pundit Roundup

Making Tuesday Fun Since 2006 Again!

It's back ... maybe?  New format for this week, shaking things up a bit.  Feedback is welcome (check the Pundit Roundup archives for reference)

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Error of Omission

ESPN's Bruce Feldman reports that ESPN The Magazine editor Gary Belsky has listed "the 27 best sports in the world right now".  College football checks in at No. 16, which is frankly beyond the pale ridiculous.  How does this happen?

It should be noted Belsky didn't attend a college where college football is a big deal, and I'm sure that had something to do with his list. Also, since he has lived in New York City for a while, I think he gets the double whammy of not being exposed to the passion of the game.

Three cheers for Los Angeles which is the only "big three" American city with any kind of consistent interest in college football.  New York has ... Rutgers?  Eh.  Chicago has historically putrid Northwestern.  But Los Angeles is graced by both USC and UCLA.

Paterno vs. Bowden Slow-Motion Race to Somewhere

The Sporting News' Matt Hayes is suggesting a scenario where 2008 is the last rodeo for Penn State coach Joe Paterno.  The situation around both coaches is so morbid and bizarre.

Neither has any intention of leaving, to the point of defiance.  They rage against the dying of their once-prominent programs, yet seem unable to adequately prop them up.  The door to the right offers another year (and another, and another) as the coach of a program no longer able to contend for titles and the misery of bad press and failed expectations.  The door to the left is retirement or a coerced exit and a potential Bear Bryant/Charles Schultz-esque immediate death once heartbreak stops their hearts.  Neither is a sexy choice.

Such is the dilemma of having a singular, consuming passion.

Coaching vs. Talent

The Sporting News' Tom Dienhart is in Tallahassee investigating the sources behind Florida State's fall from once-great heights.  Was the cause simply a drop in talent?  Anecdotal evidence says yes, and no.  The quarterbacks haven't been great the last few years, but it's not like FSU was hurting with so-so talents like Thad Busby and Danny Kanell.  I think losing the offensive initiative (wherefore art thou, Fast Break Offense?) and certain highly skilled assistants (Chuck Amato, Mark Richt) doomed the program.

Discipline

Thoughtful stuff from The Atlanta Journal-Constitution's Tony Barnhart

1) How should college football handle bad behavior?

2) Can coaches be objective when it comes to discipline?

It goes almost without saying that there's lots of gray area for anyone attempting to answer either.  Fire away. 

Miscellaneous

West Virginia's Pat White: last man standing (Cory McCartney/Sports Illustrated) . . . Catching up with USC coach Pete Carroll (Dennis Dodd/CBS Sports) . . . An interview with ousted Florida State Athletic Director Dave Hart (Matt Hayes/The Sporting News) . . . Looking at some of the new coordinators in college football in '08 (Tom Dienhart/The Sporting News) . . . A debate about the appropriate amount of time that should be allocated for spring practice (Rivals.com staff) . . . Assorted spring previews (Rivals.com staff) . . .

Georgia faces eight coaches who have "won some kind of national championship" this season (Tony Barnhart/Atlanta Journal-Constitution) . . . Memo to Nick Saban: just shut up and coach football (Paul Finebaum/Mobile Press-Register) . . . The 'Nicktator' -- Nick Saban -- is soft on crime (Kevin Scarbinsky/The Birmingham News)

Announcements

Ted Miller is leaving the Seattle Post-Intelligencer to cover Pac-10 football for ESPN

***
To read articles and blog entries from many other college football writers, be sure and visit CFR's "The Punditry" links. You can either bookmark that link or find it via CFR's College Football Links section on the menu at left.

Tuesday
Feb192008

The Discussion Continues

I love it.  No other sport has this kind of dialogue and passion.

The great Wizard of Odds has published a study this morning analyzing average game length by the various broadcasters.  Memo to SEC fans unhappy about never-ending games: exclusive SEC broadcaster CBS is the runaway favorite when it comes to long games.  We all know the reason why: commercials.

2007-Time-Of-Games-450.jpg 

I'm not here to complain about commercials - they pay the bills.  However, looking at Wiz's data its obvious that long games aren't universal.  Not every network carries a nearly four hour broadcast.  Game time continues to be a function of the run/pass nature of competing teams, the efficiency of the game officials, overtime, replay review and ... commercials!

It's a little unfair of the networks to demand changes in the game without determining new ways to reduce their own burden.  Maybe the solution is to encourage the game to be even longer and more compelling.  That creates even more opportunities to sell ads and commercials and pushes college broadcasts further into the day and night.

I don't know about you, but on some of the smaller networks when the game ends they go right into 90 minutes of infomercials or other dead weight Saturday programming.  If I'm a network, I'd be trying to figure out ways to prolong games and the more serious ad revenue they bring in rather than cut them short to rush into worthless programming.

Onward ...

Another towering giant of the college football blog community MGoBlog's Brian Cook says at FanHouse that maybe we need to hold our fire.

Here's the claim from the NCAA rules committee:

NFL studies showed that adding the 25-40 clock will actually add 4 to 5 plays per game based on consistent pace of play. BCS Football and officials themselves were for this change. With the ready for play, live ball out of bounds rules, (This happens about 12 times per game, with on average 3 of those in last 2 minutes) we should get the same amount of plays in a time span that is a few minutes shorter. For the record it is BCS football, TV, Conference Commissioners with lengthy seasons and television that leads the push for faster games. The Committee's stance is that the game has given about all it can give back without a negative influence on product. Next move will have to be from Administrators or Television themselves. It is still a great game. MC.

 Sunday Morning Quarterback then replied with: "again, I disagree"

Any guess that the 40/25 clock will somehow increase plays is based on teams moving to the line quickly - "on consistent pace of play," in the words of the NCAA rep who responded to Orson's readers - but there is no incentive for offenses to take any less time than the rules afford. There's no way to predict the future with certainty, but the data from our "control group" (the NFL) indicates the number of plays will go down.

And Cook continues to assert that this might all work out.  After some math, the following:

The main reason the NFL features far fewer plays than the college game is not the length of the playclock but the running clock after a first down. That difference is not up for review, and the assertions made by the rules committee are therefore well within the realm of the plausible. Any difference wrought by the 40-second playclock will be small.

Where do I stand on this?  Hell if I know, but someone backed up by serious math is wrong.  Regardless, scrutiny of this rule change *proposal* absolutely must be intense.  There's little folly in raising alarm.

The Rules Committee screwed up big time with 3-2-5-e, and the motives behind that change are still guiding the current proposal.  If not for intense public scrutiny, extensive documentation of 3-2-5-e's failures and massive carping from coaches, we'd still have that rule on the books.  The college football public must continue to have its guard up when potentially hazardous rules come up for review.

I will continue to stand against anything that reduces the actual number of plays and possessions in college football games.  For the sake of the Rules Committee they better be right about it.