Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Why I'm NOT Going to The Orange Bowl and Death to Conference Championships!!!

Kudos to the commenters!!!  I’ll keep a closer eye on the comments in the future and try to respond in a timely fashion.

Don’t forget to vote for the Hot Seat Mascot!  The Play-In Games were a little thin and it seems like there’s only a couple of you out there deciding who will be the 2016 Hot Seat Mascot of the Year!

From this point on is a rant.  Be Warned.

So, I started doing some math and was trying to figure out how to get the ole family down to Miami for the Orange Bowl.  The first stop was the Michigan Alumni Tour web Page.  As seen below:


So a three day family vacation would empty the old wallet by $8,916, assuming two children and two adults.  That’s WAY OVER my pain threshold for Family Travel and Entertainment. 

So I did a little investigating.  Delta flights for the same period were running anywhere from $1,000-$1,200, depending on flight departure time and # of stops.  That too, quickly became a non-starter with respect to what I’ll pay for a plane ticket going….anywhere.

Adjusting dates and increasing the length of the stay to 5 days, in addition to going with the cheapest Horse, Cattle & Freight Air Carrier out there (Spirit) got the flights down to $575.  That’s not too bad!  Considering the location we’re headed and the time were travelling I thought the premium was reasonable and worth it. produced several condo options on the beach either in Ft. Lauderdale, Hollywood or Miami for a very attractive $160-$175/night. 

A rental car for 5 days clocked in at $550 (I know – ouch).  But again, premium time and location.

So, multiply some of that by 4 and add all that up and you come up with

Flights:                                   $2,300

Local Transportation:             $550

Lodging:                                $875

Game Tickets:                       $480

TOTAL:                                 $4,205

That’s actually right in my wheel house!  I figure that anytime I can take a family trip with all the attractions included for around $1,000/day it’s a good trip!  So why didn’t I feel good about spending this money on my family?  Because I didn’t feel good.  So I tried putting my finger on what was bothering me.  Of course, that money is being spent in the state of Florida and also going to a bunch of Orange Bowl officials that have done nothing more than print up some tickets, brochures, programs and other stuff that probably costs them peanuts.  And the only reason I was going to Florida was because Michigan was there….

AND THEN, I began thinking about this whole Bowl thing…And it started to piss me off.  The Detroit Lions are on the verge of making the play-offs.  The ticket prices on Stub-Hub for play-off games start at $263 and $390 respectively. Lion Fans will get to see their team on their HOME FIELD if they win the Home Field Advantage.   

And if Michigan were playing a Home play-off game in Ann Arbor last weekend, I would have been willing to spend about 4 times face value for a ticket, or around $400. That would be $1,600 for the family. And the money would be going directly to the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and staying in the state of Michigan.  Yes, some of that money would have to go to which ever University Michigan would be playing, but that’s okay.  The opposing team should get something from the gate and also TV rights.  And if Michigan wasn’t playing at home, well, I could always road trip to the Team they were playing.  That would be interesting and probably not as costly as a bowl. 

But the idea of supporting an antiquated system and what amounts to a meaningless Bowl Game at this point simply rubs me the wrong way.  Ergo:  We’re not going to Miami.

I’m ready for a College Football Play-off that’s real and meaningful.  This past weekend we had 2 Conference Championship games that were MEANINGLESS to the overall CFP rankings.  The SEC and B1G had NO IMPACT on the CFP.  Bama was in regardless of the outcome of the SEC Game and the B1G champ was never getting in because of the suckeyes.  The ACC and the Pac 12 Championship had some impact, but in the end, nothing changed in the CFP as the results were “as predicted”.  What’s even worse:  Both Clemson and Washington were “in” before the Conference Championship games and could ONLY DROP IF THEY LOST!!! They were better off calling in sick and saying, “Hey – we’re good!!”

SuperFan commented on the Blog (THANKS!!!!) that if we went BACK to the old system and started the 4 team play-off from those results, you’d have this:

I say just return to the old Bowl format as the first round of the playoffs. Then a 4 team playoff after that. How would that have panned out this year?
Rose-PSU v Wash
Sugar-Bama v suckeyes
Orange-Ok v Clemson
Fiesta- MICHIGAN v USC (could swap M and suckeyes)
Cotton- W vs Buffs - The Cotton Bowl would serve as the longshot bowl. So if one of the four top bowls was a poor performance by both teams, resulting in an undeserved or unimpressive win, then the Cotton winner MAY get the nod IF they had an impressive performance.
This seems to take care of all reasonably likely outcomes. BIG v PAC 12, SEC v at large, ACC v Big 12, and the Fiesta and Cotton serve to give worthy non-conference champs a way to recover from failing to win their conference.

Also, please explain in detail how your NFL style playoff would have worked using this year as an example.  I am certainly not opposed to an extra home playoff game, but not sure how this would be implemented.  Would these be forced inter-conference match-ups?  Who decides who plays at home?

SuperFan’s proposal helps define who the best 4 teams are, BUT now you’re playing a LOT MORE FOOTBALL GAMES in far-away locations and in multiple college semesters (that would be two to three additional weeks of college football).  And a total of 16 games (?) if I’m counting correctly for the NC teams (that would still include Conference Championship games!).    It’s ending later than January 9th and there will be more games in more exotic locations.  I’m not sure I want that…  There’s no way the average fan could even come close to supporting their team through all that….So, no, that won’t work.  Good idea, but not feasible from a timing, money, student athlete health (and future career considerations), safety and fan affordability standpoint. 

Where am I going with all this? The College Football format needs an overhaul.  We don’t need or want more games.  12 regular season games for Student Athletes is plenty – and in some cases, too many.  However, when Conference Championships have two teams from “divisions” that aren’t even the best two teams in that conference, there’s a problem.  And in the case of the B1G, Michigan defeated both teams that played in the Conference Championship.  That’s messed up.  Step 1 of the solution:  Get rid of divisions and get rid of Conference Championships.

Then what?  Well, for starters, as we’ve now freed up an additional weekend (the first weekend in December), I’m ready to expand the CFP to either 6 or 8 teams.  6 would be a logical step, but my guess is Michigan would have been screwed yet again as Oklahoma would have got the 6th spot and Michigan would have been bumped to the 7th spot because “no conference championship”.  In this day and age where it’s impossible to play a round robin conference season, I’m not sure what a conference championship even means.  So 6 teams sucks.   

Regarding why conference championships are meaningless:  Consider this- Georgia will only play Texas A&M twice in a 12 year span.  Yet Georgia will play ACC opponent and rival Georgia Tech 12 times in that same 12 years.  Does that make sense when you’re trying to decide who should be a conference champion? 

The B1G has a similar situation with Iowa and Iowa State.  Those two play EVERY SINGLE YEAR but Iowa will only sees cross divisional rivals twice in an 8 year span. 

Solution:  Eliminate two or three non-conference games.  You can have 1 non-conference game (that doesn’t count against your play-off consideration) against another Power 5 school.  Play 11 conference games.  The teams on top with the best conference record at the end of the season are the Champions.  Keep the CFP as is and let the committee decide on who the best 8 teams are. 

That’s it.  Will there be teams that still get screwed?  There’s no question that somebody will still feel like they’re getting hosed.  But the fact that conference members don’t play each other for years is silly and needs to stop.  And the Bowls are still in the mix (unfortunately) and there are still two that are meaningful.  Well, three, I guess, with the National Championship. 

In response to Super Fan and what this season would have looked like with 8 Teams (and no Conference Championships – It’s simple, really.  I took the liberty of assuming that a 3 loss USC team would look more attractive than 4 B1G Teams getting into the play-off, (but I have it as an either or)  And I still think the committee would have flipped flopped osu and Clemson to not have a repeat of The Game 1 week later.  Meaning Michigan would have been playing in Clemson rather than Columbus a 2nd time: 


To better illustrate the meaningless-ness of Conference Championship games – I used both the CFP ranking AFTER the Conference Championships and the one right before, the teams are roughly the same and only the order changed.  With Conference Championships, the play-off will have to be played either on the same day as Army-Navy or the following week (December 17th).   However, using the Ranking prior (and eliminating the Conf. Championships), Michigan as the #5 seed would have been playing on the road in Washington.  Which is fine.   In the 2nd scenario (without Conf. Championships), the same amount of games played in the same amount of time and the same dates they play now (for most teams in the play-off) and finish the season at the same time it finishes now. 

Okay…I’m done with that for this season!


Msuperfan said...

Greetings fellow M fans and GO BLUE! Russ(err, sorry the MMQ), has confused me with the claim that my suggested format yields 16 extra games and a significant lengthening of the season? A 4 team , post Bowl, playoff only extends the season one week for the first round losers and two weeks for the champ and runner-up. As for eliminating conference champ games and reducing the non-con games, that seems ok, but perhaps more deliberation to be sure that would not make it more likely that a worthy team is left out is warranted. I will leave that for a later discussion.
One of my greatest objections to this drive to create a Div I football championship is the impact on tradition. I think that most would agree that one of the most significant factors of why we love college football is tradition. Well, those Bowls (the big ones anyway) are tradition. Beyond that, they were also meant to be a perk (in the days of less prosperity) for the players to visit a place (usually nicer that time of year than their home location) that they might not otherwise be able to visit. Many college athletes do not come from affluence, thus a trip to Miami or Pasadena, or New Orleans can be quite an experience for that 18-21 year old; especially for the ones that will never play on Sunday.
It is true that the combination of conference re-alignment (manglement) and conferences dissolving means that some of the Bowls will not have the exact same format, but it's close.
I invite you all to re-study how nicely my proposed system would have worked for this very odd year. I suggest that it is very hard to envision how any worthy team would be left out if my system were in place. Plus it re-institutes the Bowl tradition.
Regarding the cost to follow your team; most people have neither the time or money to go to every game. A fan must decide, do I go to the Bowl, or do I cheer from home and go the the next round, or do I watch that game at home in the hopes of going to the NC game. There are enough fans of most major universities to fill each stadium without any repeat fans. Maybe the ridiculous ticket inflation would even slow down, as fans of favored teams may eschew the Bowl, allowing fans of lessor financial resources to watch their team in a Bowl game. As of now, there is just no way that the average fan can afford to go to the Superbowl or the NC game of NCAA DivI football or men's hoops. I say MAKE THE BOWLS GREAT AGAIN! :)

Msuperfan said...

One more thing... regarding the elimination of conference divisions and championships; let's not forget the crazy tie-breaker scenarios that could yield. Even back in the good old Big 10 days when we knew how to count, there were years with three co-champions with University presidents voting on the winner! Who wants that? What if five BIG teams finish with one loss? I think that would be theoretically possible. right?

MMQ said...

All good comments and there are no great solutions. But I still stand by the fact that if conference championships aren't deciding anything for the CFP, which is what we really want, get rid of them and add the 4 games in the same weekend. Fans will flock to those locations and inthinknthe regular season still matters. And yes, ties will ALWAYS happen and tie breakers suck. What are youbgonna do?