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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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Saturday Night's Alright For A Fight

Entries in playoffs (12)

Sunday
Dec062009

Spirit of the Day

Friday
Oct162009

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.

None.

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.

Thursday
Aug062009

Every Other Meaningful Football League ...

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

Sheesh, NFL, get with the times!

Monday
Jul062009

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 ...

Thursday
Jul022009

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.

Monday
Jun292009

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.

Wednesday
Jun242009

Phil Steele Playoff Quotable

First of all I am against an 8 team playoff. There is no way that you could find a single #7 team in the country the last 12 years that had a legitimate claim to being in the national title game. For more on why I think the College regular season is the most important in college football and why an 8 or 16 team playoff would ruin it, check out page 24 and 25 of this years magazine. College football changes on a yearly basis. I can see a proposal where the MWC and the Big East battle for the

Wednesday
Jun172009

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.

Tuesday
Jun162009

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.

Thursday
Apr302009

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.

Thursday
Apr232009

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.

Tuesday
Apr072009

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?