Thursday, December 9, 2010

BCS Playoff? EXTREMELY Doubtful....

Well, because the coaching carousel has begun and there's nothing else really relevant to discuss before the bowls begin, I guess it's time to look at why the BCS sucks again and do my annual rant as to why we need a playoff. And offer this time instead of workable solutions as to what makes complete sense in a couple of different scenarios, we'll take some time and analyze why, no matter how logical the argument from a competitive standpoint, it'll never happen.

Maize and Brew has a relevant log on this with some links to Ty Duffy and Dan Wezel's suggestion for a play-off. While I like the idea of an 8 team and see the logic of it and small probability of eventually stumbling and bumbling our way into it, we will never see (at least in our lifetime) a 16 team D1 football play-off.

Ain't gonna happen.

The key is to follow the money. The major DI AQ conferences couldn't be happier with the current arrangement. They get loads of dough from the 5 BCS games and the have a built in line item in the budget of "BCS income" that they can count on every year. The other bowls also have pockets to line and the lesser bottom tier bowls make money due to the fact that schools have to "pay their own way" to play in the bowl and guarantee a specific amount of ticket sales. All for 20 more days of practice and a competitive edge in recruiting by stating they have a X number of years in a row bowl record. And the D1 AQ schools get bottom line impact regardless as the BCS money that gets distributed still nets out to a positive that they can count on every year.

That's worth repeating: They can count on that money every year. Without adding or doing one damn thing. And everyone knows that if your the CEO or CFO of a major corporation, income that's generated without having to lift a finger or add content is a great thing. Even if you have to spend a little to get it. Its a really great thing. And it gives the politically correct arguments that additional play-off games would adversely affect the "student athlete", even though DII schools have 4 weeks of play-offs before Christmas. IE: During finals.

So, unless you can dangle an extremely large amount of $$$$$$ in front of all the D1 AQ schools, no one (that matters) is going to be too eager to do anything about it. That's the first dagger in a Playoff argument. And that's what were stuck with. I was actually excited when Orin Hatch decided to challenge the BCS and what the "National Title" moniker stood for. Unfortunately, the BCS had all the answers and Orin looked like a complete boob when this thing actually came under testimony in the Finance and Commerce committee. Had Orin completed some minimal research, he could have painted a much worse picture of what's really going on. Instead, he came off looking like the idiot and the BCS was in fact given a shot of confidence from the US Government.

So, there's a second dagger in the ole D1 Play-off argument.

Finally, the current arrangement works. Yes, Va Tech was screwed from Labor Day after losing to Boise State and compounded their predicament with the James Madison loss. And they have certainly been the comeback story of the year in College Football and would probably benefit more than anyone else from a Play-off as a chance to redeem what has been an extremely successful season otherwise. I would have also enjoyed a play-off in 2006. I firmly believe that the best two teams played in Columbus in November, regardless of what Gatorland did to tOSU in the National Title game. There was simply too much time off for tOSU that year for them to be effective in that game. But everyone was happy with that game at the time and it was likely the game we would have seen anyway. But the circumstances might of how the two teams got to the final would have been entirely different. And there might have been a Wolverine team in there that would have made an impact as well. As well as a USC team. And the list goes on.

But this year is certainly a banner year for the BCS argument. You can't deny that Oregon and Auburn are two of the best teams in college football. Yes, TCU was undefeated (in the WAC) and while that's impressive President Gee had it right when he talked about relative conference strength. I'm actually a little pissed off that he backed down when he could have used the opportunity to defend the strength of his conference and the rivalry game argument. I was surprised that a few others didn't chime in, but I understand the whole "political un-correctness" of the statement Gee made. It might not have been appropriated, even though everyone knew it was the truth.

Don't hand me SOS of other schools based on some rating. Historic rivalries and trophy games in the big conferences are more difficult to play than any Strength of Schedule that a computer can spit out. You want to argue about it?

What about an undefeated WVU against a 4-7 Pitt 2007?
How about a 4-7 UCLA vs. an undefeated USC in 2007?
How about all the years tOSU was undefeated and had to play Michigan when they were 8-4?

The meat grinder of the AQ conferences is why they are up where they are today. Sorry Boise. Sorry TCU. But until you can beat Virginia in the last game of the season (and Nevada) you're argument simply doesn't hold water. And you're going to have to do a lot more in order to be deemed worthy.

Especially without a play-off to make you the Cinderella.

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