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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 ESPN (8)


Baseball Shows The Flaws In A Playoff, Again

Was just channel flipping and caught the end of a conversation between Steve Phillips and Colin Cowherd on some ESPN show.  The gist of their conversation was that playoff baseball with days off isn't structured to determine what team is the best especially in relation to the regular season which has teams playing almost daily.  Instead, success tends to shift to teams with impact players (read: the ones with the financial resources).

Its an interesting consideration especially when so much of the playoff talk in college football is about fairness and letting the little guy get in on the action.  What programs have the resources to acquire the great bulk of impact players?  The big guys, of course --- USC, Notre Dame, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, etc.

Whether that extrapolates to college football I'm unsure but I certainly think a playoff (just like the bowls) is distinctive from the regular season and is structurally set up to reward differently than what success in the regular season means.  Not enough attention is paid to the distinctions.  I think back often to Billy Beane's thoughts in Moneyball about only caring that he get his team to the playoffs in the first place because after that, playoff baseball was a crapshoot that no amount of his tinkering could really influence the outcome.  That is, entirely too much outside noise gummed up the works to reward not necessarily superior teams but merely the lucky.

It blows my mind that postseason success could be much more random than about the atual ability of the various teams.  Playoff advocates need to think long and hard about that consideration and try to find (if even possible) how to manage the randomness of it all, and if they can't find a smart way to do it, step back from the megaphone.

Look, I'm not anti playoff.  There's a few that I think work fairly well but you have to structure them appropriately.  In my mind there's simply no way, however, to appropriately organize a college football playoff.


Even in baseball where you have a series of games between teams, the randomness of the game is so large the format still doesn't always advance the generally superior regular season teams.

The NFL playoffs are great entertainment, but they're one and done.  While there's certainly something significant to teams having just one game to advance or disappear, there's still so much noise to just a one game situation from weather to officiating to health to a million other factors.  The only way in my mind to fairly reduce that and have the teams truly prove themselves beyond the noise (and not within the fog of it) is to play a series of games between them which is obviously unfeasible in college football.


Kirk Herbstreit's Nascent Populism

Whats up with this sudden streak of populism from the face of college football on ESPN, Kirk Herbstreit?

I don't mind folks sticking up for the BYU's and Boise State's of the world, but essentially saying before the season's even close to played out an undefeated BYU should be in the BCS Championship game is unsettling.

One part of what I think is a solid corrective of the present system is that teams that benefit from a tremendous amount of luck or continue to skate by can be punished by voters.  I'm not saying that will be how BYU goes through the season but the larger point is we should observe their entire body of work.

Regardless, taking down Oklahoma and if they win Saturday, Florida State in the same season gives *strong* backing to one's case and that should be taken as such, but not the entirety.  There was a reason Utah was not in the top four at the end of last year, and USC was not seriously discussed as a BCS Championship possible.  They combined for just one loss but were pedestrian enough in a handful of other outings to leave some doubt.

We need to wait and see on BYU instead of declaring in advance that if they're undefeated, they need to be on at least one voter's ballot as BCS Championship Game worthies.

I understand the impulse to be progressive and right old wrongs, but its dangerous and not sensible so far in advance.  Let BYU get in on their own merits, not because we feel bad that other non-BCS programs have arguably been left out when they shouldn't have.


AMAZING Florida Stat

As seen moments ago on ESPN's College Football Live:

Florida has scored 30 or more points in 13 straight SEC games (!)(!)(!)  Unreal.


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.


Our Love For Heather Dinich Grows

Nice chat transcript find at College Game Balls

Brian (alexandria, va): HD, thank you for crushing our dreams. So you are saying that if by some miracle Hokies manage to run the tables we will be crushed by the gators in the NC?

SportsNation Heather Dinich: Ahem. Chomp.



Shaun King ESPN College Football Analyst

Is this new?


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.


Begin 2009

Time to return, I suppose.

Watching ESPN's College Football Live, John Saunders just told Colt McCoy he's against a playoff.  Who knew?