Wednesday, May 2, 2012

A College Football Play-Off is Coming - Holy Crap!

So, we’re looking at a College Football Play-off by 2014. And the MMQ is pondering why I have a funny feeling in the pit of my stomach. We’ve been screaming, cursing and crying for some sort of play-off and the PTB who have held the Bowls sacred are now going to give the masses what they want.

Does that make you nervous? It should. But why, MMQ, Why?

Several Reasons, in no particular order:

1. Play-off Game Timing – Bowl Play-offs vs. Immediately

Here’s my issue: IF LMU had played Alabama in the SEC Championship in December, my feeling is (and I’m basing this on nothing more than what LMU did to Georgia in that game) that LMU beats Alabama. They were rolling and had a rhythm going and simply looked both offensively and defensively, not to mention special teams, like the best college football team ever.

But now fast forward 6 weeks. Timing is gone. Satan has oodles of time to look at every scrap of offensive film from every game that LMU played this year. He had his defense more than ready. It was geared to do one thing: Stop the LMU offense. Which, kudos, they achieved with flying colors. But, and this is kind of where I’m going: Could Satan have done that in one week and achieved the same result? I’m guessing, no.

If Satan would have played OKIE State immediately after the SEC championship and LMU would have played Stanford….well, anything can happen.

Think of it this way: No other sport takes a month off before starting their play-offs. That’s the way College Footballs needs to start thinking. Who Cares About January….the NCAA has March Madness..Why not


2. Conference Championships will mean NOTHING….

Wisconsin would have been screwed last year. Plain and simple. And I honestly believe the B1G was one of the better college football conferences out there. Were the top teams (Cheeseheads – Sparty) among the elite of college football? No, they weren’t. But that shouldn’t diminish a season where two last second victories in a tough conference knock you out of contention for a play-off berth. Alabama LOST to LSU AT HOME….they shouldn’t have had a shot even though they ended up winning the whole thing.

The idea that you can be one of the top 4 teams and not be a conference champ is simply wrong and this one point probably irks me the most.

3. Adding two “BCS” bowls or whatever they are going to be called.

So, if the Rose, Sugar and Fiesta (or the Orange) become the Play-off tie ins, you’re going to need two more “BCS” bowls. Which ones are most likely and why?

First, everyone can probably see that the Cotton and the Citrus (Capital One) are two of the better non-BCS bowls worth watching. Why? Usually, the Citrus gets two really good teams from the B1G and the SEC. Makes sense that the match-up will be a good one. So, why would the Citrus suddenly give up the “agreement” it has with the B1G and the SEC to potentially get stuck with a Boise State? My guess is the Citrus doesn’t. And the B1G and the SEC will be just fine with that.

And that’s going to be a problem. The Cotton also has had some pretty good match-ups (lately) for the same reason: They have power conference tie ins and they aren’t going to want to have to bring a U-Conn or Rutgers in and not sell tickets. Not that you can sell a lot of tickets in Dallas on and especially after New Years….

See the problem? You can’t have tradition and move forward. My guess is that you will be surprised by what bowls are added to the BCS line-up. And it just might not be the Citrus and the Cotton as everyone expects. They don’t want to give up their New Year’s Day monopoly at this point and families won’t travel to Orlando (or Dallas) during the first working week of the year to watch a prime time game that isn’t on New Year’s Day. The Citrus is close enough to see what has happened to Miami with the Orange Bowl not being on New Year’s Day and how much damage has been done there. (How Much Damage? The Orange had the equivalent attendance as the Gator that was on New Year’s Day – THAT’s how much damage) The Outback also had better ratings and attendance on New Year’s then the Orange… It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the Orange tries to fight and get a time slot back on New Year’s Day and somehow keep their BCS status (and dump the Beast tie in, which can’t be helping, either). So, don’t expect the Citrus to accept the invite if they have to give up their 1:00 PM New Year’s Day time slot. Just a hunch…

Buuuuuuttttttt – (Here’s the MMQ’s OUT) If the Citrus gets to KEEP the B1G and SEC tie in AND stay on NEW YEAR’S DAY and not move to a prime time night slot post New Years, all bets are off and the Citrus WILL BE the next BCS bowl…

Ditto for the Cotton….
MEANING: The SEC and B1G will have the option of having 3 teams in the BCS…the strong get stronger and everyone else just falls down the list on the pecking order.

How’s that for covering ass?

4. Preserving Bowl Tie-Ins for Semi-final Games

This one puzzles me the most. I get why the Rose is important and I understand that the it’s all the Pac 10 really has (yeah, there’s the Fiesta, but the drop off after that is steep…). But if the B1G is in first place and they play the 4th place team in the Rose and the SEC is in 2nd and they play the 3rd place nationally ranked team, well, what game will you go to – assuming you figure your team has a shot of winning the play-off game? I thought so. So, have the PTB created an un-intended consequence where the bowls that they most want to preserve will be destroyed because Fans will take a “wait and see” approach as to whether or not they are going to attend?

More than likely. And that’s too bad…I mean, I do like the Rose and I think it should be preserved…somehow.

So, MMQ – What would you do?

1. SELECTION: Somehow tie the 4 spots to Conference Championships as much as possible. I know that’s not a popular position, but dammit, I don’t want to see a re-match of any kind whenever it is avoidable. In addition, with a 12 game schedule, it’s high time that the power conferences went to a round robin format and keep the D-II schools out of the line-up. Coaches will hate it as injuries will surely mount, but that will be the true test of a champion. I don’t care if the B1G champion or even the SEC has 2 losses, they will have proven it against EVERYONE IN THEIR CONFERENCE! That, frankly, should be enough. Yes, there will be a discrepancy when you look at the Big 12, B1G, SEC, ACC, Pac12 and Beast (snicker) as to who the top 4 are…But that’s what the polls are for. Sorry if you 2nd in your conference and ranked number 3…You just didn’t cut it…

2. VENUE: I still like the Home Field for the first round and I will continue to bang the drum HARD on that approach. Keep the MONEY with the Team and conference that is winning. That makes sense. All the noise about infrastructure and being able to “handle” the kind of crowd that shows up for a big game like this? Puh-leazzzzzzzzze….You’re going to kill me because I’m laughing so hard. All that talk is Bowl Suits worried that the charade they have been perpetrating on the teams for 30 or so years is going to be revealed. And AD’s all over are going to see what kind of money home-playoffs could generate. And that would simply be the end of smaller bowls.

3. Keep the rotation for the National Title game among the current BCS bowls. (Which is kind of what is being proposed) They are kicking around a “highest bidder” for northern cities and the like, but I think if the traditional bowls want to bid like anyone else, so be it.

4.  But what about the Independents (Domers) MMQ? What about them?

I’ve been trolling the NDNation board lately and the level of stupidity over there and of the Domers (JEEZ I HATE THESE GUYS!) in general is baffling. The playing field is no longer level, the Domers do more than anyone else to put themselves behind the eight ball, and they STILL think that Domer football can somehow find a way to get to a National Title Game in the next 3-5 years with the new format. Hee-hee….It is to laugh.

Putting it simply: That ain’t gonna happen.

However, it got me to thinking about the odds of winning a National Championship using the last 15 years as a point of reference. Why 15? Well, with the BCS, it’s pretty clear that the SEC has an upper hand in the mess and has won the last 6 NC’s, making them somewhat of a force in the discussion. But what if you truly had to handicap it as what was “probable” for any given team or conference to win a National Title? For the top teams in the country, you know the odds are better than 1:132. I mean, realistically, any team that’s not in a power conference (SEC, B1G, ACC, PAC12, Big 12) can immediately be ruled out. That leaves it at about 1 in 60.

This past year, there were two realistic teams from each power conference that had a shot:

SEC: LSU and Bama
B1G: MSU and Wiscy
ACC: Clemson and Va Tech
Pac 12: Oregon and Stanford
Big 12: Okie State and….Well, let’s just say Okie State this year.

So, assuming for a second that’s the case every year (that there’s two reasonable challengers for the national title in each conference) you have to take the odds of being in a power conference:

6 conferences and 60 teams in those conferences, or about 1 out of 10 for any given conference to have a shot at the national title. But that number is really skewed right now with the NCAA rules and the way the SEC is bending them in their favor. That’s for another discussion. However, you can easily eliminate the bottom 8 to 10 in each conference every year which really puts a number of actual teams that have a shot at the title somewhere between 16 and 20. So, let’s say for the elite of College Football, they have a 1 in 20 shot of winning a national title, with the edge of conference power going to the SEC, making their odds slightly more favorable, probably around 1 in 8.

So, Michigan’s odds of winning a national title in any given year are 20:1. Which makes some sense.

Why CAN’T the Domers win? Because they would never get a shot at making a play-off game. Assuming for a minute that any undefeated team from the power conferences is in, there is still going to be another “VERY GOOD TEAM” from another power conference that may have one loss that will be below the Domers, until their conference title game. That game (assuming the 1 loss team wins it) will give the very good 1 loss team an additional win that the Domers or any other independent for that matter, simply won’t have an opportunity to get. Even without the conference championship, the Strength of Schedule of being in a conference and playing 13 games vs. 12 will be impossible to overcome.

Not to mention that the opinion polls will still play a factor when deciding on who should be in the top 4, which, generally speaking, when it comes to the top 4, I’ve rarely found an example where the masses are incorrect. Yeah, after about the top 10, it can get screwy, but who really cares? And that ranking will not be favorable for the Domers.

Example: Would an undefeated Domer team (last year) ended the season ranked ahead of Alabama with one loss? The answer should be easy: There’s no chance in hell. The Domer schedule wouldn’t have been as “tough” and even though it would have been close (See Okie State and Stanford) the Domers would have been in 3rd place.

So – Where, Exactly, does that leave us?

We didn’t solve anything today and this was more or less just an open airing of grievances akin to “Festivus”. I just hope that as the thing slowly evolves, everyone comes to the realization that regionality can be maintained along with bring power conferences together for a football play-off. Independents will “slowly” figure this out and eventually get on board with someone. Or somehow align themselves with someone in the future.

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