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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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Entries in BCS (13)


Spirit of the Day


Every Other Meaningful Football League ...

... uses those more oblong footballs (college football, high school football).

Sheesh, NFL, get with the times!


BCS Hearings Quick Reax

So far all Utah's President is talking about is the Mountain West's success "the last two years".  And this justifies the inclusion of Sun Belt teams, howwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww?

LOL antitrust lawyer "the BCS has nothing to do with amateurism or education".  Neither does major college sports!  Weak.

"The BCS excludes competition" Wrong.  The BCS is an economic venture that relies on economically compelling matchups to generate the revenues it does.  Sponsors aren't going to fork over anywhere near as much money if they risk getting saddled with games involving non-lucrative teams.  This is the market at work.

Nebraska President Harvey Perlman made a great point about how despite Nebraska's limitations, it has built a successful (financially and athletically) football and overall athletic program.  They've done it through hard work and he doesn not feel the BCS in any way hampers any other program from ascending similarly.  In addition, the BCS has actually opened up certain bowl games to programs that had never had such access before, providing them national exposure before unknown.

Second antitrust lawyer --- the antitrust statutes are set up not to protect the programs, but the consumers.  College football consumers are not harmed by the BCS (duh).

Revenue distribution is not the concern of antitrust, but output.

Irony of antitrust victory is that it would actually destroy any opportunity for a playoff since championships rely upon agreements between the conferences and the playoff would be much more restrictive than the current BCS setup.

Nebraska Prez --- in discussing with TV, advertisers etc. in mentioning the other five conferences, the BCS revenues would not increase.

Aaaaand first appearance of whining about VaTech/Cincinnati game, perhaps the worst BCS matchup and a severe outlier.  In that scenario yes, Boise State vs. whoever does better financially but thats the outlier compared to even say, something loathed like USC/Illinois.

Senator Hatch just made some strange argument that the BCS championship game accepting the end of season No. 1 and No. 2 teams somehow disqualifies many teams before the season.  The only thing that disqualifies teams from achieving that is performance, a process of elimination that happens through the regular season.

Utah President criticizing polling, saying some voters admitting never having seen a Mountain West team play.  Uhhhh, ok, so kick those people out of the polls, let people like me be a voter.  Next!

Now saying he doesn't know what more Utah could have done last year.  For starters, not escape Michigan, TCU and Oregon State by the skin of their teeth.  The same standard worked against powerhouse USC last year who failed to gain traction in the polls not simply because they lost to Oregon State but because they had disastrous halves against Stanford and ASU, and did little against California and Arizona offensively in victory.  Utah is not immune from having to face nationwide judgment for their overall performance, and win-loss record is not the bottom line, not when we have 120 programs and no process for even scheduling.

Senator Hatch says state universities were created so that students had the opportunity to attend college.  YES!  And in college football every school has the opportunity to participate in the regular season.  It is regular season and program performance (financially, record, on-field play) that guides their postseason opportunities.  The postseason is a reward, not a right.  If we are to say the BCS is exclusionary, so is the entire bowl construct, since not everyone is eligible to participate.

Look, bottom line is we have 120 programs in college football's upper division.  So long as we stick with such a high number, any notion of equitable participation is necessarily greatly prohibitive.

Senator Hatch is making another strange point about the BCS being a monopoly.  It is but one agreement, there is no prohibition against the Mountain West, Western Athletic Conference etc. creating their own agreement similar to the BCS.  Additionally, those programs are no longer excluded.  On top of that, the current setup is basically welfare to the smaller conferences, who receive monies regardless of whether they qualify to participate.  Those are monies they would unlikely earn on their own and in fact are diverting funds that otherwise rightfully should go to the major conferences as reward for their drawing power.



Mr. BCS Goes to Washington

Brought to you by the same body that thought nothing of voting on potentially economically crippling environmental legislation with 300 pages of material not delivered until 3 AM the morning of the vote.


Maybe This Has Something To Do With It

The BCS "Big Six" conferences of the SEC, Big 12, Big Ten, Pac-10, Big East and ACC are the Big Six for a reason.

As a whole, non-BCS schools are 76-392 against BCS opponents since 2005, meaning they win just 19.4 percent of the time.

Paging Senator Orrin Hatch and Representative Barton ...


Tom Hansen Interview

The outgoing Pac-10 Commissioner speaks with ESPN's Ted Miller, here. Good stuff in the sense that his rare longevity among the conference commissioners offers some perspective of what leadership was looking at when he first started and how certain issues have evolved.

Selected takeaway:

The fact that members of the Football Bowl Subdivision, by a wide majority, prefer a bowl system where 6,800 young people get to have a post-season experience and the aversion to a playoff that would quickly go to 16 teams. People talk about a one-game playoff or a four-team playoff -- it can't happen. We were forced in the BCS from political pressure to expand from eight berths to 10 berths.

Were there to be a playoff, you'd have to have 11 automatic berths [for every conference] and you'd have to have a berth for Notre Dame, and that would cut you down to just four at-large berths. Most years you'd have an argument about that. Then, with that many games, you'd have to play on the campuses of the higher seeded teams. You couldn't possibly travel teams week by week to a neutral site -- the NFL doesn't even do that. And no one really stops to reflect upon the fact that the NFL has all the playing slots through December and January [on the weekends].

So finding attractive playing times and dates and television availability would be a great challenge. So there are so many negatives to a playoff, to say nothing of probably the most important one which is the presidents do not want football being played into the second semester. It's not just missing class. It's the impact it has on the academic program of the institution. There's a long list of reasons these institutions favor having one game per team in the post-season and stopping it at that.


BCS Quotable

Take it away, Senator Blutarsky (emphasis mine):

This is where I think playoff supporters are on thin ice in this debate. It’s very easy to focus on what I call the competition side of this – making sure that every deserving school has the chance to play for an MNC – and downplay the economic side, the side that pushes for a redistribution of the wealth that college football generates. You can satisfy the former with a small scale playoff; you can’t satisfy the latter without an extended playoff controlled by the NCAA or some similar entity making sure that the moneys are spread more broadly throughout D-1. And an extended playoff is death to pretty much everything that makes college football unique.

It’s shortsighted to brush off the financial considerations here. Next week’s hearings are being conducted by the Senate Antitrust Committee. Whether it matters to its members or not, antitrust law isn’t about whether Utah gets to play in a title game. It’s about business practices, monopolies and money.

Ultimately, guys like Jim Delany don’t care nearly as much about Utah playing in that title game – and don’t forget that there’s nothing in the current BCS formula that prevents that from happening – as they do about having their conferences’ revenue streams reduced. That’s what’s at stake with these antitrust threats and that’s why I don’t think the Harvey Perlmans of the college football world should be so easily dismissed when they promise to defend their turf.


CFR Gets Interviewed

Friendly territory fortunately via one of the nicest, most fun commentators at my other gig at FanHouse, "Orange Chuck".  The interview.

I discuss the 2009 season a bit, my gameday rituals, the BCS/playoffs stuff, the SEC, conference title games and Syracuse football among other items.

Its pretty fawning up at the top and I chalk that up to Chuck being just a really nice person.  Enjoy.


Quityerwhining Utah

Phil Steele, with math, on why Utah wasn't championship game worthy last year.

Essentially: if it walks like a duck and talks like a duck, it is a duck.  Utah wasn't a duck.

Their 2004 team, in my view, was much better than last year's (Sagarin predictor agrees 2004 vs. 2008) and if that team had been around in 2008 or better yet the grotesque show that was college football in 2007 they make a much more compelling case to be in the championship game.  So much of college football is timing though and their timing was off last year as a trio of excellent teams emerged in Florida, Oklahoma and Texas.

Utah made the mistake of going undefeated but keeping its powder dry until the bowl game, after the regular season had already been played out.  When folks looked back on their 2008 regular season, they saw a narrow road victory over the worst Michigan team in decades, a furious fourth quarter rally to blow past rival BYU (aided by a +6 turnover margin) and nail-biting escapes against Oregon State and TCU.

Scoreboard yes, but at some point you gotta do something mighty more than once against the good teams on your schedule.

That or pray you land on "Ohio State 2002" in the annals of good timing and luck.


BCS Quotable

AKA Senator Orrin Hatch is an idiot

From Get The Picture's latest reaction to the bumbling idiocy that is Senator Orrin Hatch's crusade against the BCS

No, the BCS doesn’t create the disadvantages; it merely amplifies them. The BCS isn’t the reason San Diego State can’t get a stadium lease signed and it isn’t the cause as to why the WAC doesn’t have the same TV contract the SEC does. In college football, the money flows where the attention goes.

If we want actual "fairness" in the upper division of college football, schedules need to be relatively even which means that the number of teams need to be reduced from the current 119 or 120 to something like 30-40 with everyone in equal-number divisions playing round-robin conference schedules.  Even then a playoff built around single-elimination games would still be a tragic mess (take a lesson from every other playoff that isn't the NFL's or lower-division football, go to at least double elimination, better yet best of three between teams).

Of course nobody actually wants that to happen because that'd be the end of the bulk of teams in first division football and would end college football as we know it, which by the way has never been more popular in spite of all this hand wringing about the BCS.

Come on people, think about the issues for once and just enjoy the show, college football is wildly unique and enjoyable.  In the end I think in most of our hearts we don't want true finality, as my friend Heisman Pundit's said many times the game is like a never-ending Constitutional Convention.  Its the back and forth and discussion that has such great appeal in addition to the product on the field.


Tom Hansen, BCS, Playoffs Quotable

Excerpts from a Los Angeles Times interview with outgoing Pac-10 Commissioner Tom Hansen.

Q: How can you say the BCS has been good for the Pac-10? Oregon finished No. 2 in the polls in 2001 but didn't make the title game. USC was No. 1 in the coaches' poll in 2003 but finished No. 3 in the BCS.

A: Each conference has had some disappointments. . . . The BCS, through obvious great foresight of the commissioners who were involved, has been an extraordinary success in terms of the regular season being so strong. Television, attendance, everything about college football is much better than before the BCS started.

Q: Does it bother you that you are portrayed as an obstructionist by the pro-playoff crowd?

A: I primarily reflect the view of the conference. . . . If people disagree with that view, I don't take it personally.

I think many of the people who advocate a playoff have no real understanding in the difficulty of a playoff.

Q. Would that include the president of the United States?

A: Yes, and I don't think he begins to understand the difficulties of a playoff. I think he's probably very well-versed on North Korea and the Middle East but not particularly the college football playoff.

Q. Does it complicate the issue when someone so prominent goes public with his position?

A: I would be much more concerned if a president in our conference came out in favor of a playoff than I am of President Obama saying it.

It would be so negative for college football in my opinion that it just doesn't make good sense. Including the fact it would be 16 teams, not the four that many people advocate, because politically you couldn't stop at four, you couldn't stop at eight, you couldn't stop at 12. And even at 16 you'd have problems.

Q: Are you confident the BCS can withstand another legal challenge?

A: I am confident. We've had excellent legal counsel. And I trust lawyers from all over the country who comment that there's nothing illegal about it.

The only thing the federal government could do to force the issue, I think, would be to cut off funding for higher education. Well, that isn't going to happen.


BCS Defense

Just moments ago on College Football Live, ESPN's Joe Schad outlined the three-point defense by BCS officials as they head into a Congressional subcommittee hearing tomorrow.

1)The regular season must be preserved as the key entity of the game

2)Several bowls would fail if a playoff were enacted

3)The logistics to install a playoff aren't there

Not a bad start.

I'm definitely against a playoff although I have problems with the BCS, which I think I'll get to soon.  I think there's ways to remedy the BCS that keeps it in line with college football tradition and avoids a playoff.


BCS On The Offensive?

Great article today by ESPN's Ivan Maisel. He advocates those in charge of the BCS go on the offensive.

I second the call.

The commissioners are populists, too. What none of them did, or has done with any effectiveness, is mount a vigorous defense of the BCS.

None of them has pointed out the correlation between "fixing" the BCS and whose ox is being gored.