Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany has garnered a reputation over the years as one of the main obstacles to a college football playoff system and he certainly cemented that this past week with his comments at a panel at the IMG Intercollegiate Athletics Forum. From Brett McMurphy at AOL FanHouse:
“The notion,” Delany said, “that over time by putting political pressure on, it’s just going to get greater access, more financial reward and more access to the Rose Bowl, I think you’re really testing. I think people who have contributed a lot have, what I call, ‘BCS defense fatigue.’
“If you think you (WAC Commissioner Karl Benson) can continue to push for more money, more access to the Rose Bowl, or Sugar Bowl. I have tremendous respect for Boise and TCU. … I think they are tremendous teams that can beat any team in the country on a given day. I think the only question is, ‘Does one team’s 12-0 and another team’s 12-0 equate?’ And that’s where the discussion plays out, not whether or not they’re elite teams or deserving access to the bowl system.
“I’m not sure how much more give there is in the system.”
* * * * * *
“I think the system does provide access and opportunity for a team like Boise State or TCU to play in the championship game,” Benson said. “But we’ve also proven that it’s a lot easier to get to No. 4 than it is to get to No. 2.”
Benson said he supports the BCS, but wants even more access and more revenue. This is not a popular subject with Delany.
“We gave up the Rose Bowl, the SEC gave up access to the Sugar Bowl, others were included but they never had access to any of this before,” Delany said. “You have to understand who brought what to the table. Who’s continuing to give and who’s continuing to get.”
Delany, then, not so subtly drew a line in the sand.
“The only thing I would say, if you think you (the non-automatic qualifying leagues) can continue to pressure the system and we’ll just naturally provide more and more and more,” Delany said. “I don’t think that’s an assumption that our presidents, athletic directors, football coaches and commissioners necessarily agree with.
“Karl (Benson) says we like this contract and we want more. Well, we’ve got fatigue for defending a system that’s under a lot of pressure. The pressure is for more. It’s never enough.”
With the already raging unpopularity of the BCS, these comments have received fairly negative feedback in the blogosphere. However, if people can put aside their abject hatred of the current system, they’ll see that Delany is actually correct if they’re fairly evaluating the situation.* The BCS conferences have given up a lot of access to the top bowls that never existed to the smaller conferences in the pre-BCS days. There is a ton of brand equity that has been built up in a game like the Rose Bowl and much of that is due to the relationship between that event and the Big Ten and Pac-10 over the past 7 decades. Would the Rose Bowl ever have been in a position to pay out as much as it does today without having had the Big Ten/Pac-10 tie-in built up over the years, or would the Sugar Bowl be as prestigious if it hadn’t been the long-time home to the SEC champ? Delany has a point that other conferences getting access to those games are piggy-backing on the brand equity built up by others. (The counter, of course, is that such other conferences never had a chance to play in those games in the first place. It’s a chicken-or-the-egg question – did the power conferences prop up the bowls or did the bowls prop up the power conferences?)
(* Note that Jim Delany isn’t necessarily correct on everything. Please see the new Big Ten logo and division names.)
Regardless, the most important point from Delany is something that no one can argue about: the AQ conferences still control the show. This is the simple reality that the vast majority (probably over 90%) of college football playoff/plus-one/Iron Man/Russian Roulette proposals completely ignore. Those proposals usually start by effectively smashing the system and completing starting over from scratch. A prime example of this is the 16-team playoff proposed by “Death to the BCS” author Dan Wetzel. That’s all well and good as a hypothetical, but setting forth a proposal that the AQ conferences would actually accept is an entirely different matter. The bowl system that Wetzel eviscerates in his book may or may not provide the values that he wants to see, yet no matter how much some people might hate it, this is an entrenched system where change is going to incremental as opposed to radical. Therefore, any changes to the current system must be driven by the AQ conferences and BCS bowls as opposed to being imposed on them, which means any viable proposal MUST give them what they want.
No one wants to hear this. The politically correct thing to say is that this should be about “fairness” and “equal access” for the little guy while the Big Ten and friends are running an evil cartel. I understand this sentiment, but college football fans need to get over it in order to find proposals that would actually work or else nothing will ever change. If you give the BCS an “all or nothing” proposal, then the BCS will always choose nothing.
Once you get past the primary purpose of the BCS rankings, which is to set up the #1 vs. #2 national championship matchup, the other BCS bowls act no different than movie theaters across the country every weekend. Movie #1 is a massive big budget huge studio action film with no redeeming social value whatsoever, while Movie #2 is a critically-acclaimed low budget independent film that’s going to win several Oscars. By every standard, Movie #2 is a higher quality film than Movie #1. However, Movie #1 gets placed onto 3000 screens across the country because it has a ton of mainstream appeal and will sell tickets, while Movie #2 only gets 100 screens since it has a niche audience. Likewise, the purposes of the BCS bowls are the sell tickets and get as large of a TV audience as possible. Is it “fair” that the BCS will pay $20 million to the college football equivalent of Tom Cruise* (who hasn’t done much lately but is still a huge name) and only $3 million to Daniel Day-Lewis (who has won multiple Oscars) because a whole lot more people buy tickets to watch Tom Cruise? I don’t know if it’s fair, but it’s almost certainly perfectly legal. Sports fans are typically emotionally charged and don’t necessarily think of games as entertainment, but that’s exactly how TV networks see them and why spectator sports exist in the first place.
(* Tom Cruise = Notre Dame)
As a result, for any college football postseason proposal to have even a whiff of a chance of succeeding, forget about “fairness” and think like Jim Delany. Here’s what I believe are the rules that any viable postseason system needs to follow:
1. The AQ conferences must make more revenue than today in an absolute sense – There’s usually not much argument about this one. Even Jim Delany would admit that a college football playoff would make more total revenue than the BCS. However…
2. The AQ conferences must maintain their revenue advantages over the non-AQ conferences in a relative sense – Most proposals (including the Wetzel proposal) always refer to point #1 as providing the revenue incentive to create a playoff but virtually never address this point #2. A playoff making more total money than the BCS means absolute crap to the AQ conferences – what matters to them is how that money is split. The easiest way to get the AQ conferences to kill a playoff proposal is to compare it to the NCAA Tournament – they want NOTHING to do with how the revenue is paid out in that system. Athletic department money doesn’t sit in a bank account collecting interest – it’s all spent right away on coaches, facilities, travel, etc. Thus, more money in and of itself isn’t as important to the AQ conferences as ensuring that they just have a whole lot more of it compared to the non-AQ conferences.
Of course, the non-AQ conferences want to do the exact opposite by closing the revenue gap. It’s a noble cause, but they’re not getting the AQ conferences to budge on this issue. If you had to rank these rules in importance, this would arguably be at the top of the list.
3. The AQ conferences must maintain their access advantages over the non-AQ conferences – I’m not trying to dump on Wetzel (as I find him to be a great writer), but his proposal to grant all 11 Division I-A conferences automatic bids to a 16-team playoff system will be used as toilet paper at the next annual BCS meeting. The easiest way to get a college football playoff proposal killed is to make it look like the NCAA Tournament – for whatever reason, many fans don’t understand that the AQ conferences are specifically trying to avoid that access and revenue sharing model at all costs. I know that it’s all about “fairness” again, yet there is absolutely zero incentive for the AQ conferences to ever think more than two seconds about agreeing to this, so why do people continue to propose it as other than a pipedream? Oh sure, there are faux incentives such as, “The SEC could’ve had 4 teams in a 16-team playoff this year, so that’s plenty of incentive for them.” However, from the AQ conference perspective, real incentives are actual or virtually guaranteed spots and revenue advantages that aren’t subject to on-the-field fluctuations from year-to-year. Two BCS bowl bids in the hand are worth four in the bush for the AQ conferences and it’s key that they are the only 6 leagues that are getting auto-bids in any scenario. I know that’s not “fair”, but once again, that’s kind of the point.
4. Don’t f**k with the Rose Bowl anymore – I know that some fans of other conferences would like to tell the Rose Bowl/Big Ten/Pac-10 group to leave and everyone can go back to the mid-1990s Bowl Alliance (even though didn’t work very well in practicality), but the TV networks would upchuck at that thought immediately. A “playoff” that doesn’t have any chance to include Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska and USC would be like attempting to sell the Major League Baseball TV package and telling the bidders that the Yankees and Red Sox aren’t ever able to make it to the World Series. That’s just a killer on TV rights fees and a non-starter.
At the same time, the Rose Bowl passes the “Grandma Test”. My grandmother is a Chinese immigrant that speaks limited English and has absolutely no idea about anything regarding sports, whether it’s the existence of the Super Bowl or when the World Series is played, yet even she’d be able to tell you that the Rose Bowl is in Pasadena on New Year’s Day. That’s what we call an extremely valuable tie-in. I’ve seen estimates that the additional exposure that the Big Ten and Pac-10 receive from the Rose Bowl tie-in (i.e. the worldwide coverage of the Tournament of Roses Parade, larger donations to various schools, media exposure, higher TV ratings for the game, etc.) is the equivalent of adding the revenue of a conference championship game without even having to hold one (and that’s on top of the actual BCS earnings). Simply put, it is a big deal for the Big Ten and Pac-10 to give up more access to the Rose Bowl (or give it up entirely) compared to the other BCS bowl tie-ins.
Plus, the Rose Bowl experience lives up to the hype and then some. (Here’s my personal recap of my visit when the Illini went to the game 3 years ago.) TCU fans, many of whom have been justifiably vehement opponents of the BCS system over the past few years, are going to find out in a couple of weeks why the Big Ten and Pac-10 care so much about going to Pasadena.
As a result, there’s going to be some capitulation to the Rose Bowl and its conference partners in order for the game to maintain a Big Ten/Pac-10 matchup as often as possible. However, it can’t be relegated to a second-class citizen compared to its fellow BCS bowls, either. Just as the AQ conferences need to maintain their advantages over the non-AQ conferences on a relative basis, the Rose Bowl needs to keep a similar edge over the other BCS bowls.
5. The BCS bowls are as elitist toward the non-BCS bowls as the AQ conferences are toward the non-AQ conferences – A common proposal from a lot of fans that advocate for a plus-one or playoff system is to add more bowls to the BCS system, particularly the Cotton Bowl since there seems to be this unwavering belief among the general public that Jerry Jones can and will buy off whoever needs to be bought off to make it happen. (Of course, all of Jerry’s money equates to about one Cowboys playoff win every 15 seasons.) In fact, I proposed this myself a couple of years ago in this unseeded plus-one proposal. I’ve come to realize, though, that the BCS bowl club is similar to trying to join Augusta National Golf Club – you can have all of the money in the world, but the current members have to really really really like you in order to make an extremely exclusive club a little less exclusive. The double-hosting system of the BCS today has become quite lucrative for the BCS bowls because they get to host and sell sponsorships and tickets for the national championship game once every four years (which they can also leverage in terms of procuring sponsorships during the years where they aren’t hosting the championship game). When evaluating the incentives and disincentives for changing the current BCS system, there really isn’t much incentive at all for the BCS bowls to let in another member to their club and only host the championship game once every five years as opposed to four. Even if a 5-bowl plus-one system were to make more revenue overall, the current BCS bowls would be only getting a 1/5th share instead of a 1/4th share whereas the AQ conferences presumably would get the same percentage shares as they do today (meaning the AQ conferences get the upside while the BCS bowls are taking all of the risk by having to split their pie into more pieces). It would be speculative as to whether that proposed 1/5th share is truly better than the current 1/4th share (especially when coupled with giving up the national championship game more often) , which means that the best way to realistically get any change is to construct a system that somehow protects the exclusivity of the current 4 BCS bowls.
6. The bowl system can’t become completely NIT-ish – Dan Wetzel argues that the bowls could still exist separately under his 16-team playoff proposal. The problem is that this is a false argument – taking unranked Big Ten and Pac-10 teams, having them play in Pasadena, and slapping the “Rose Bowl” label on the game isn’t actually allowing the Rose Bowl to co-exist in practicality. The playoff proposal that Wetzel advocates would constructively destroy the bowl system in the same manner that the expansion of the NCAA Tournament completely devalued the NIT and he knows it. Now, plenty of sports fans want to see that happen, but once again, the bowls from top-to-bottom are about access advantages for the AQ conferences and they aren’t just going to give those up. There’s a little bit a flexibility left in terms of creating a plus-one system yet still maintaining a quality group of schools for all of the bowls (whether BCS or not) to choose from, but it’s a delicate balance as you can’t make the bowls too much more diluted than they are (or at least without a corresponding legitimate incentive in exchange for such dilution).
This is a long-winded way of saying that for anyone that wants to improve today’s BCS system, LESS IS MORE. (That’s why this 8-team playoff proposal I had a few years ago would never work.) The current AQ conferences and the BCS bowls need to be better off on both an absolute basis and a relative basis (with an emphasis on the latter). With all of the aforementioned rules in mind, I propose the following:
THE BCS FINAL FOUR
I’ve been slamming my head against the wall for quite awhile trying to figure out how to have at least 10 schools participate in BCS bowls and incorporate a seeded plus-one, yet still maintaining the traditional bowl tie-ins and keeping the Rose Bowl/Big Ten/Pac-10 triumverate happy. Then, I remembered the “less is more” mantra and realized that the answer is so simple that I can’t believe that I’ve been missing the proverbial forest for the trees. Instead of trying to find some type of rotation among the BCS bowls for the semifinal games or having to add a 5th BCS bowl, here’s all we that we have to do for what I call the “BCS Final Four”:
A. Separate semifinal games – Take the top 4 teams in the final BCS rankings and have them play in 2 semifinal games that are separate from the BCS bowls (just as the national championship game is now). This would mean that there would be 2 semifinal games, the national championship game and 4 BCS bowls incorporating 12 total teams in the BCS system every year.
B. BCS bowls keep tie-ins – The 4 BCS bowls keep their traditional tie-ins with the same at-large selection rules as today, except that (i) the at-large pool is expanded to the top 18 in the final BCS rankings, (ii) the cap on BCS bids from any single conference is raised from 2 to 3 and (iii) as a political concession, the highest ranked non-AQ school gets an automatic BCS bid no matter what (even if it’s ranked below #12).
C. Double-hosting of semifinals and final at BCS bowl sites – The sites of the semifinals and national championship game will rotate among the 4 BCS bowl locations, meaning that each location gets to host 2 semifinal games and 1 national championship game in each 4 year period (resulting in lucrative double-hosting seasons 3 out of every 4 years).
D. Semifinal site tie-in preferences – Each semifinal site each season gets a preference in hosting the game that involves one of its traditional conference tie-ins, if applicable. For instance, if New Orleans and Pasadena were to host semifinal games this year, then New Orleans would take the game involving the SEC champ (#1 Auburn vs. #4 Stanford) and Pasadena would get the game featuring the Pac-10 champ (#2 Oregon vs. #3 TCU). The higher ranked team gets priority if both semifinal sites have a claim to the same game (i.e. if Auburn had lost to Alabama and ended up at #4 and Oregon moved up to #1, then Pasadena would get the #1 Oregon vs. #4 Auburn game instead of New Orleans).
E. Championship Game in Mid-January – The national championship game would be played at least a week (probably 10-14 days) after the semifinal games are completed. One possible permanent date could be Martin Luther King, Jr. Day as a Monday that many people have off as a holiday. Another possible date is the day after the NFL regular season ends assuming that a new 18-game regular season pushes the last week of the season back two or three (if a 2nd bye week is added) weeks from when it is now. Note that except for the bowls played on New Year’s Day, all of the games need to be played in prime time between Monday and Thursday for TV purposes and to avoid going head-to-head with the NFL on January weekends. This is the stance of the BCS today and it would be expected to continue.
All of the selling points come from its simplicity and adding to the current system as opposed to taking anything away. The AQ conferences get to retain their access advantages while still receiving the revenue upside of a mini-playoff. The non-AQ conferences, while not getting radical changes they want, are thrown the bones of a guaranteed BCS slot along with a greater chance of getting to play for the national title (as Karl Benson was correct that making it to #4 is a whole lot easier than making it to #2). The Rose Bowl, Big Ten and Pac-10 get to keep their bond while still maintaining the prestige of that game in comparison to the other BCS bowls. The Big Ten and SEC are virtually guaranteed to receive 3 BCS bids every year, which is essentially the only change to the BCS that Jim Delany has ever actively pushed for. All of the BCS bowls would be ecstatic to have double-hosting 3 out of every 4 years while also having more access to the top traveling schools from the Big Ten and SEC, which would be a reasonable trade-off for an increased chance of losing their normal tie-ins to the semifinal games. The non-BCS bowls will barely be impacted because only 2 teams are being added to the BCS system. (One clear loser would be the Capital One Bowl, though, as its contractual Big Ten #2 vs. SEC #2 matchup, which is already typically moved down to Big Ten #3 vs. SEC #3 since those conferences already regularly receive 2 at-large bids, would get even lower teams on the pecking order. Note that the Capital One Bowl has actually beaten the Orange Bowl in the TV ratings for the past 3 years and even beat all of the BCS bowls other than the National Championship Game and Rose Bowl in 2007-08, so it shows the power of even the #3 teams from the Big Ten and SEC, much less their respective champions, and why the BCS bowls would love to take them in an expanded at-large pool.) The TV networks would pay a fairly significant premium for this system compared to the current one, but with only the minimal changes of 2 extra games and 2 additional teams.
Finally, the importance and “do-or-die” nature of the regular season is preserved. I know a lot of “universal access auto-bid” proponents like to say that the regular season would matter more if all conference champions would get bids, using the logic that all of those conference races would then have meaning (resulting in a lot more games then having importance in the national championship race). There’s a little bit of truth to that line of thinking, but that’s more of a “lowest common denominator” argument. The flip-side is that games such as the 2009 SEC Championship Game, 2006 Ohio State-Michigan and especially early season matchups such as Boise State-Virginia Tech completely lose their senses of urgency in a large-scale playoff system. By expanding access by just 2 teams, it keeps that sense of urgency from the very beginning of September to the end of the season – there’s a tiny bit more wiggle room if a team slips up one week, but not enough where any school can afford to take a single game off like playoff-bound NFL teams often do in the last week or two of the season.
Here’s how the BCS Final Four system would have looked these past two seasons:
Semifinal 1: #1 Auburn (SEC champ) vs. #4 Stanford (top 4 auto-qualifier)
Semifinal 2: #2 Oregon (Pac-10 champ) vs. #3 TCU (Non-AQ auto-qualifier)
Rose Bowl: #5 Wisconsin (Big Ten champ) vs. #11 LSU (Pac-10 champ replacement)
Sugar Bowl: #8 Arkansas (SEC champ replacement) vs. #6 Ohio State (at-large selection #1)
Orange Bowl: #13 Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. #9 Michigan State (at-large selection #2)
Fiesta Bowl: #7 Oklahoma (Big 12 champ) vs. Connecticut (Big East champ/at-large selection #3)
Semifinal 1: #1 Alabama (SEC champ) vs. #4 TCU (non-AQ auto-qualifier)
Semifinal 2: #2 Texas (Big 12 champ) vs. #3 Cincinnati (Big East champ)
Rose Bowl: #8 Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. #7 Oregon (Pac-10 champ)
Sugar Bowl: #5 Florida (SEC champ replacement) vs. #13 Penn State (at-large selection #3)
Orange Bowl: #9 Georgia Tech (ACC champ) vs. #12 LSU (at-large selection #2)
Fiesta Bowl: #6 Boise State (Big 12 champ replacement) vs. #10 Iowa (at-large selection #1)
It’s interesting that the Rose Bowl would still be unable to take Stanford this season under this system, but that’s mitigated a bit by being able to grab a great-traveling SEC school. In most other seasons, the Rose Bowl matchup wouldn’t have changed at all. With the way that Big East (besides West Virginia) and non-AQ teams often get passed around like a doobie in the bowl selection process, the BCS bowls actually look better off for traveling fan base and TV marketability purposes having the opportunity to grab LSU and Michigan State this year or Penn State and LSU last season.
The BCS Final Four is a proposal that maintains the importance of the regular season, provides for a 4-game playoff, keeps the other BCS bowls interesting, constitutes a fairly simple change to the current system, and, most importantly, could be a system that the AQ conferences and BCS bowls would actually agree to in real life. It’s not perfect, but if we wait around for perfection on this issue, then nothing will ever change. Less is more when you’re dealing with the people that run the BCS.
(Follow Frank the Tank’s Slant on Twitter @frankthetank111 and Facebook)
(Image from PR Newswire)
436 thoughts on “The BCS Final Four: A New Plus-One System”
Hawkeyes first in the Lepers division.
Tom Cruise – did you not see him in Tropic Thunder? Best role to date, and further demonstrated why white guys should not dance in a certain manner, even if they think they look cool.
Delany can (and does) pretty much say what he wants ’cause he happens to be at the (proverbial) “top of the food chain”. He’s old school, like many of today’s academic and athletic leaders—but… he (like many of the others) is out of touch with reality… The reality that you don’t crown a “champion” (or who is “champion” worthy) based on human speculation and crazy computer logarithms.
In the real world there certainly is plasticity, and there are some UN-earned triumphs, but, by and large, most leaders, most winners got there by earning it.
It’s time these leaders in academia (or so-called academia) quit playing the charade, and finally call big time division 1 football what it is… the NFL’s minor league… and the “Golden Cash Cow” for these universities athletics departments. Amateur athletes on parade, making dough for many… except themselves… UNLESS they are one of the VERY FEW that can punch their ticket for the prime-time of the NFL.
Quit the BS—start using division 1 football as a true minor league—like a Triple A baseball league… schools can recruit and give scholarships at their option. Meanwhile, the NFL teams can “draft” players and sign them to “minor” league contracts to play out through college… and/or give the opportunity to move to the NFL and bigger contract when ready. The exception being the move up can only happen at the end of college football season… AND, no moves back down. This approach still gives ALL student-athletes opportunity for scholarship, and better, an opportunity for LEGAL income if you are a stud that an NFL team wants. To keep it a little real, the athletes still need to maintain a certain minimum GPA to keep eligibility.
The conference alignments and regular seasons can remain as they are. The post-season takes the top 16 teams–can use conference champions, BcS formula(s), whatever… to determine teams. First week of playoffs at the home of the higher seeded team (top 8 seeds). Second (4 games) and third (2 games) weeks can be historic bowl tie-ins (likely with some date . changes). Fourth week is championship game–pick a venue. AND… IF 50 of the other 120 d-1 teams are cryin about not getting to play for anything… continue the other toilet bowls…
Voila… everyone is happy, except maybe the former BcS commissioners and their bowl croneys…. oh, and maybe the talking heads on ESPN…
Mr. Cuban and some others can input some initial money (pretty much 100% guarantee they’ll get a positive return on investment).
Large sums of money to be made…
No more mythical champion. Opportunity for student-athletes to actually get paid legally with ties to NFL. Continued opportunity for other student-athletes to get college degree and play d-1 football.
Just my thoughts… The BcS has seriously diminished the “importance” of many of what used to be good bowl games. Playoffs will make every post-season game meaningful. AND… since only 16 of 120 are selected… the regular season remains very important…
Correction: “Logarithm” should be “Algorithm”
Side note: How bout the U of Minnesota getting a bunch of free publicity for Monday Night Football game (Vikes/Bears)… Hey, it may be cold up here (sometimes) 🙂 but TCF Bank Stadium rocks!! Hopefully, we can get the Vikings back playin outdoors like they should be… here in MN.
I feel that way about the lions too. The cold is an advantage, take it.
It is to the point, I just shake my head when it comes to the lions. *sigh*
It won’t ever happen. A roof allows you to host other events (concerts, b-ball, etc.). TCF is too small at 50k-ish to be a legit option.
TCF is definitely one of the nicer stadiums I’ve been too, though.
That is the worst idea I have ever heard. Pro football sucks.
Wow, I don’t think there is a single part of that proposal I like. Absolutely none of the power bases would support it, either. There are kernels of truth in what you say, but you combine your ideas in a way that everyone with power now loses.
@mnfanstc: Did you read Frank’s first paragraph(s) in this entry? FIRST MAKE SURE YOU ARE MAKING THE AQ CONFERENCES HAPPY AND MAKE SURE THEY GET MORE!
Otherwise, all it is is noise, which, by the way, you owe me 2 minutes of life back for reading your comment.
I just couldn’t resist… I’d be crazy to think that my ideas (or something similar) would ever be implemented…
I just wish TPTB would grow some cojones and call this BCS nonsense what it is—-exploitation—-
I get a smile every time another hiccup occurs with this very monopolous system—each hiccup is one day closer to getting this BS cleaned up…
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Playoff proposals are like opinions: everyone has one.
Well, that’s like … your opinion, man.
I vote we make the BT Title Game & SEC Championship Game the de facto semifinals. : )
I vote no. That would open the opportunity for a 10-3 South Carolina that got shellacked by Arkansas and beat by Kentucky in the title game. A scenario like that is exactly why I disagree with huge, multi-round playoff scenarios.
Limit the opportunity for the national title to the most deserving teams only, but make sure you include all deserving teams. That number would vary from one season to the next, but I think four is the best number to go with. Teams like Boise State or Cincinnati from 2009 would be out of luck, but 5 undefeated teams in one year almost NEVER happens.
Sarcasm… it’s in the dictionary.
touche. I shouldn’t have read too much into your post. Guess it just gets obnoxious hearing about how the Big Ten & SEC are the gods of college football. The CBS guys blathering over the SEC this year were particularly annoying, praising Ole Miss, 4-5 at the time, for giving LSU a close game.
No worries. : )
I’d note only this: I think it muddles things to call what you propose a “plus-one.” What you’re proposing is a 4-team playoff. In my mind, the “plus-one” label is only meaningful in contradistinction to any actual seeded playoff. To me, “plus-one” means that you “go back” to only 4 BCS bowl games:
Rose: Big Ten vs. Pac-10
Sugar: SEC vs. at-large
Fiesta: Big 12 vs. at-large
Orange: ACC vs. at-large
(Big East guaranteed an at-large)
Then, after these games are over, you run your BCS formula (or whatever evaluation tool you’re using) to ascertain the 1st- and 2nd-place teams and they play in a championship game. That is to say, to me “plus-one” is only meaningful as a label in describing an effort at retaining the “2-team playoff” aspect of the current system, but trying to put a layer of high-profile season-ending inter-conference games between the regular season and the championship in order to increase the size of the data set to determine who the top 2 should be.
Nothing against your proposal, just that I think that I think it is important to be consistent in what we mean when we say “plus-one,” and I think that it doesn’t mean anything unless it means something other than a seeded, bracketed playoff of any size >2.
Didn’t mean to have “that I think” twice in that last paragraph. I didn’t mean to express uncertainty about my own state of mind.
I think you hit I on the head. In all deference to Frank, the unseeded Plus One preserving the Pac B1G match-up will accommodate the tradition, the controversy (which fuels our passion for college football) and yet will give us a proper ncg whether there is 1, 2, or 3 underrated teams.
Unseeded +1 is worse than the current system. All is does is create more $.
It adds an extra game for wear & tear on the players bodies w/o winnowing the field. Most years, it is less clear after the bowls who #1 and #2 are than it is before. Teams get different strengths of opponents with different motivations (example Utah vs. Alabama in the Sugar Bowl in 98-Alabama checked out after loss to FL, Utah had a chip on their shoulder-Utah looked much better than they would have in different scenarios). If Pac 10 and Big 10 are #1 & #2, they play in the Rose and then have to play a #3 who may have played a #7 or #8. What if #1 and #2 are the same? Do they play again or do you make the winner play #3?
Also, pollsters weight the bowl games significantly more than the regular season (they generally lack the intelligence to remember back six weeks before), when IMO, the bowls should be weighted less since they are so different from a regular season games with the layoffs, long preparation and differing motivations.
As for terminology, a +1 refers to both seeded and unseeded systems. Its just that TPTB seem to like the unseeded system better since it keeps things more the same and solves nothing.
What’s the point of saying “plus-one” then? You just confuse things by using “plus-one” as a synonym for “4-team playoff.” “Plus-one” is only useful as a label if it means something different.
Point taken, but I didn’t invent the terminology. I guess they are saying they are just adding one game.
I have never seen a proposal that uses semifinals separate from the BCS games. It is very interesting.
It certainly isn’t perfect. 2009 Boise State would still not get a chance to earn a championship. But it is less awful than what we have now.
If we have an 8-game playoff that uses the 4 BCS bowls with their tie-ins as quarterfinals, would that not also work? Then the BCS bowls would not only have double-hosting 3 out of 4 years, but every game they host would have direct championship implications.
Is the prospect of the Rose Bowl being a perennial quarterfinal worse than having the Rose Bowl game never host the national champion? At least this way it would be the actual Pac12 Champ vs the Big Ten Champ every single year.
And every other bowl would benefit because the BCS/playoffs would only remove 8 teams instead of 10 or 12.
I would think there would be an uproar about loss of access. Even the Big Ten and SEC would lose some access, not to mention the non-AQs. The BCS won’t go back to 8 games.
Well, if we want more access we can create more access. And we can do it while still making winning your conference extremely important.
Let’s keep the BCS tie-ins where they are. But instead of having 3 at-large teams, have 6. Each non-tie-in spot in the Sugar/Orange/Fiesta can be filled by the winner of a play-in game.
That means that 11 teams get into the BCS playoffs.
The Pac12 and BigTen champs still always go to the Rose Bowl.
The BigXII champ always goes to the Fiesta.
The ACC champ always goes to the Orange.
The SEC champ always goes to the Sugar.
Once the play-in winners are decided, proceed with the 8-team playoff at the BCS sites.
Perhaps we would only be half-demoting the BigEast. They wouldn’t get to avoid the play-in round, but their champion can be guaranteed a spot in that round. Maybe we can offer the same deal to the Mountain West. Theoretically this could even allow for all 11 conference champions to get in if they all finish undefeated or at least very highly ranked.
The little guys get a road to the title, and would have to beat 4 good teams to claim it. The big guys get to keep their traditional partners, and have a great incentive to win the conference and avoid the play-in round. And by having 11 spots, we actually create more access.
But now you’ve grown the playoff to a size that will be rejected. 4 rounds will not happen in the near future, probably never.
I like the idea. You could also do it with 10 teams as we have now and seed the 6 AQ in with 4 teams having to play for 2 slots.
Bingo. Were that in place we could be seeing TCU-OhSt in the ___ Bowl and Stan-AR in the ___ Bowl tomorrow (or keep it even simpler and just have TCU and Stan host on campus play-in games tomorrow.) WI-OR already set for the Rose Bowl, AU-CT for the Sugar, with OU and VT waiting to see which winner they’d play in the Fiesta and Orange.
10-team BCS-based playoff, some compromises but win-win for everyone. FTT makes some interesting points but I don’t agree in some of the latter ones being absolutes.
Plenty of ways to do a playoff, but 8-10 teams is optimum.
My “The BCS: A Love Story” (http://bydivineright.wordpress.com/) also goes backwards–to 8 teams in the BCS, with on-campus semifinals. That won’t happen. The BCS won’t go backwards.
But, I like where this little exchange ends: with Playoffs Now’s proposal.
Frank, I think this idea is actually excellent. It would be beneficial for almost all parties (non-AQ’s, Big Ten, SEC, bowl games), but there’s a problem: allowing 3 autobids would allow the Big Ten and SEC to further distance themselves from the other four AQ leagues. The ACC and Big East, who have never had two BCS bids in the same season, would have an especially hard time buying into this. Even for the now-depleted Big 12, having 2 BCS bids in a season may be rare.
These leagues don’t want to volunteer the SEC and Big Ten more opportunities to distance themselves from the pack any more than the 6 AQ’s, as a whole, want to let the non-AQ’s gain any ground on them.
Otherwise, it’s the best proposal I’ve seen. I can see a plus-one happening, but anything beyond that ignores just how staunchly against playoffs these commissioners & college presidents are.
IMO the Big 12 and Pac 12 would be the biggest beneficiaries of an expansion to 12 teams.
During the BCS era, the Big 12 would have benefitted most with the 3 team limit off (and this was when both UNL and CU were down-they were only involved once.). In merit, the Big 12 would have had 3 teams 5 times. In the current beauty contest, since Texas was #3 2 of those years, the Big 12 still would have benefitted.
The Pac, when they had two teams qualified, always seemed to be #11. So the Pac 12 would frequently get one of the two extra slots.
Even though SEC and Big 10 teams usually win beauty contests, they aren’t Notre Dame. If the other teams are clearly much better, they will get the bid.
4 of the 6 conferences would benefit from the extra 2 slots and the 2 team limit really needs to come off with 6 wildcards or you could be stuck with a #2 BE team. The ACC and BE have rarely had two teams qualified, so they would slip a bit relative to the others, but they can dream of WVU,TCU,Rutgers, Miami, Clemson, FSU becoming top 10 regulars.
Adam and Robber Baron – The links are kind of buried in this new post, but I have actually written proposals for the unseeded plus-one and the 8-team playoff using the bowls with their traditional tie-ins before:
As you can see, I like both of those scenarios a lot, as well. There are 3 main issues that I now see with the 8-team playoff using the bowls, though. First, it’s simply a much more radical change to add on 2 rounds of games and college football history is all about incremental change. Second, the double hosting isn’t that great of a bonus anymore because you might end up seeing teams travel to the same site twice in the same bowl season (compounded by the fact that getting fans to travel to potentially 3 neutral site games is practically difficult). Third, the cat’s out of the bag now that there are 10 BCS bids each year now, meaning that the conferences that typically receive multiple bids (Big Ten and SEC) aren’t going to want to see any system go back down to 8 teams.
The “pure unseeded plus-one” that Adam referred to is probably the other realistic option out there for change in the near future. There are aspects of it that I love (namely, the complete reversion to the traditional bowl tie-ins and that all of those games have the potential to truly matter again just like the old days).
The issue that I see with it now is, out of all things, fairness. Yes, I just spent about 4500 words talking about how we need to ignore fairness, but that was looking at putting the top 4 into separate semifinal games and having the BCS bowls go back to being the traditional ticket and travel package selling machines that they were created to be. In the unseeded plus one, though, the movie theater analogy that I wrote about doesn’t quite work anymore. If there are national championship implications in each of the BCS bowl games again, then there’s a whole lot more scrutiny as to who receives the at-large bids and how the match-ups are made. Jim Delany & Co. can’t be forced into a creating a new playoff system, but the last thing that they want to do is to invite more political heat with a new system where conspiracy theories arise as to who TCU gets to play in its bowl compared to Oregon or Auburn. The other tricky part is that there definitely would need to be a 5th game added somehow to get 10 total participants. I see the unseeded plus-one as the only way that the Cotton Bowl has a chance to get up to BCS status.
That being said, I’d take the unseeded plus-one any day over what we have now. The best thing about it is that the Rose Bowl would truly be the unambiguous goal for all Big Ten and Pac-10 schools again as opposed to being a very nice consolation prize. Here’s how I’d see an unseeded plus-one shaking out for this season (assuming the Cotton Bowl is elevated with the Big 12 tie-in and the Fiesta Bowl gets the first at-large selection):
Rose: #5 Wisconsin vs. #1 Oregon
Sugar: #1 Auburn vs. #3 TCU
Orange: #13 Virginia Tech vs. #8 Arkansas
Fiesta: #6 Ohio State vs. #4 Stanford
Cotton: #7 Oklahoma vs. Connecticut
I must say that I love how those games look, especially the Rose, Sugar and Fiesta. There’s even some justice for TCU with the Horned Frogs getting an unambiguous shot at the national title if it can knock off Auburn.
I believe the Fiesta has a B12 tie-in, so Oklahoma should be one of the participants.
The assumption would be that the Cotton is elevated and takes the Big 12 tie-in (so that’s where OU is slotted), while the Fiesta will then always get the first at-large pick.
I’d just like to emphasize that I don’t mean to be expressing a preference; I just meant that the “plus-one” terminology, in my opinion, only properly applies to an unseeded format. Once you seed it, then it is properly referred to as an x-team playoff. I was just objecting to using the two terms interchangeably, which I think has confused the overall national discussion of the issue.
At what point does the Rose Bowl lose significance? I acknowledge that backtracking from 10 teams won’t happen and the Rose Bowl has proven to still be the Rose Bowl, even without national championship implications. But, sending the Big Ten’s 3rd team to Pasadena, to play a New Year’s Day exhibition, after which the #2 or #1 team might play the same stadium, days later, might diminish The Granddaddy, while forcing the end zone painting crew to consult with their comrades at the Citrus Bowl, to learn how they transition from Champs Sports Bowl to Capital One Bowl.
You see 2 BigTen teams ranked in the top 4 in the BCS?
Admittedly, two Big Ten teams in a final four was a bit of an exaggeration to make the point. But, there would’ve been 2 in 2006 (#1 Ohio State and #3 Michigan), if selection was based strictly on BCS standings, which is an improbability, to say the least. The rhetorical, “At what point does the Rose Bowl lose significance?” still stands.
When non-BigTen/Pac10 teams get in it, which happened a lot more in the past than it would in the future under this plan.
I don’t think it should be the top 4, it should be the top 4 conference champs (with a provision for independents. If you don’t win your conference you don’t get a shot at the national title in the plus four, you allready HAD your shot. This season that would mean the following:
Semifinal 1: #1 Auburn (SEC champ) vs. #5 Wisconsin (Big Ten champ)
Semifinal 2: #2 Oregon (Pac-10 champ) vs. #3 TCU (Non-AQ auto-qualifier)
Rose Bowl: #6 Ohio State (Big Ten champ replacement) vs. #4 Stanford (Pac-10 champ replacement)
Sugar Bowl: #8 Arkansas (SEC champ replacement) vs. #10 Boise State (at-large selection #1)
Orange Bowl: #13 Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. #12 Missouri (at-large selection #2)
Fiesta Bowl: #7 Oklahoma (Big 12 champ) vs. Connecticut (Big East champ/at-large selection #3)
I also think they need to re-evaluate the Big East’s auto-bid. I think you should incorporate them with the non-AQ’s, and guarentee instead, spots to the top 2-non AQ conference champs.
@David K. – I actually thought about having the conference champion requirement that you just described. There is a big part of me that believes exactly how you do – if you can’t win your conference, then you don’t deserve to win the national championship. That being said, looking at it realistically, the BCS has consistently rejected that type of restriction on the national championship game matchup, which would mean that they’d be even less likely to suddenly have that restriction on the top 4. What would likely happen, though, is the human voters will start to self-select knowing that the top 4 is the key cut-off (as opposed to the top 2) and try to ensure that only conference champs are ranked that high. They actually even did it this year, where the polls all have Wisconsin at #4 (while the computer rankings pushed Stanford up in the overall BCS rankings).
As for the Big East, the conference is terrible this year but they’ve clearly been much better than any of the non-AQ conferences over the past several seasons (and statistically better than other AQ conferences in several different seasons). The issue is that they don’t have any real marquee schools, which means that they never get the benefit of the doubt in a down year like this (even when their champ was ranked #3 last year and was a missed Texas field goal away from making it to the national championship game), whereas a conference such as the ACC that has performed worse than the BE on the AQ criteria on several occasions receives a reprieve with Miami, FSU and Virginia Tech in the fold. Besides, the Big East is a politically important AQ member as the conference with the only BCS schools located in the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut (AKA home of the NYC media and a whole lot of really influential politicians). The other AQ conferences can freely ignore squawking from places like Idaho, but snubbing Tri-State schools won’t fly from a practical standpoint.
As a Stanford fan, I actually wouldn’t mind going with the top 4 conference champs. We did have our shot.
As for the Big East, I think that maybe we should ease up on them. They are really bad this year, but by some measures they have been an excellent conference. In the BCS era no other div 1-A conference has a better bowl record.
The Big Ten has the 7th best record.
While I agree the Big East should keep their bid, especially with the addition of TCU, bowl records are a virtually useless statistic. As that article points out, the records are largely the result of the opponents faced. The Big East played CUSA and MAC teams in more than a third of their bowl games. The Pac 10 also played non-AQs 1/3 of the time, but often the elite ones (BYU, Utah). The other AQs didn’t play more than 1/6 of their bowls against non-AQs.
The Big Ten consistently plays the hardest slate of bowls, and often against home teams. The Big Ten’s BCS record would be great except for playing USC (0-5), and 3 of those games didn’t involve the conference’s best team. USC never played the SEC during their recent run. This is not to deny that the Big Ten was down the past few years, just to show that bowl records are relative.
I agree that the Big Ten has the hardest slate of bowl games, but these complaints about the bowls being “road games against the SEC” are a baseless cop-out. Big Ten fans LOVE going down by the tens of thousands to Florida, Texas, and especially Pasadena in January. They’re eager to watch a game in mild weather. Let’s face it: we’d all rather be in Orlando or Tampa on January 1 than in Columbus or Madison.
It’s because the Big Ten travels so well that it’s been able to get so many good second-tier bowl games; the ACC & Big East would murder for the BT’s bowl lineup. Crowds at the games are 50/50; they’re not “road games.”
And seriously, why do we think Big Ten teams would have some huge weather advantage if the bowl games were held here? Big Ten teams have never had home games in December or January (with the exceptions of Illinois & Wisconsin non-league games the past few years). The real winter weather doesn’t roll around until after the regular season is over, so BT teams have hardly any more experience in the cold than anyone else. It’s a different story in the NFL.
You need to separate the fans enjoying the trip from the game being neutral. Of course people like to go south in winter for vacation. That doesn’t magically negate the home field advantage, though.
First, I didn’t say anything about the SEC. Almost all of the bowl games are road games (Pac-10 in CA, Big 12 in TX and AZ, SEC in FL). Yes, Big Ten fans buy a lot of tickets so the crowd is not 95% against the teams. The lesser bowls get fewer Big Ten fans, though. However, there is more to a road game than just crowd noise.
USC is 24-9 in Rose Bowls, and 7-7 in other bowl games. You don’t think playing in LA helps them a little? Miami won 3 of their 5 titles in the Orange Bowl (6-3 in Orange, 12-12 elsewhere). LSU won their two BCS titles in New Orleans. I’m not saying they couldn’t have won elsewhere, but it helps.
There is a definite advantage to having shorter travel, similar weather and more friendly faces and fans around. Why would homefield advantage only apply to the regular season?
Not that I’m advocating northern bowl games (especially outdoors), but you want to know why people think the Big Ten would do better in the north?
Look at the Hurricanes using sideline heaters when it is in the 40s and even 50s. The same with other southern schools. If the cold makes them that uncomfortable, they won’t play as well in it.
None of that mentions the comfort of staying near home, with friends and family and most people on the street supporting you, rather than traveling across the country into enemy territory. More local ticket sales mean the crowd is behind them, too, if not like a home game.
USC plays better in the Rose Bowl because they care. Hometown may be a factor, but its not the only one. Texas, in the SWC, historically did very poorly in bowls other than the Cotton (and most were also in Texas), because the Cotton was the goal. Anything else was a disappointment. I imagine USC has the same attitude.
You seem obsessed with motivation deciding bowl games. You posted the canard earlier about Utah beating Alabama only because Bama didn’t care.
I guess the B10 doesn’t care about bowl games. SEC must really care. USC only cares about the Rose. Texas only cares about the Cotton. All teams must care less on the road, thus they lose.
Motivation is frequently an excuse when the big schools lose. When the simple answer is they just got beat.
Doesn’t matter whether its big name schools or an Iowa St.
Someone who’s really into betting could probably give you a good analysis. Teams that lose their coaches usually lose bowl games. Teams that lose at the end of the season usually lose in bowl games.
In college football motivation is a big factor. You see it in the regular season, like Missouri losing to Texas Tech the week after losing their UNL showdown or Utah getting stomped by Notre Dame the week after losing their TCU showdown. There’s just bigger differences between the teams in the bowls.
The real issue is the polls and the basis the coaches and writers use to rank teams. A lot use a system where they move teams up and down and mostly stay with what they had at the beginning unless someone loses. So if you aren’t expected to do well at the beginning of the season you are penalized. Losing late also hurts you more than losing early. Coaches, working 80-100 hour weeks during the season, don’t get much time to look at teams outside their own conference. Pollsters over-weight the last game and with bowls, it has been 6 weeks since any other game.
And these polls primarily drive who gets selected.
Nobody ever said home field advantage was the only factor in bowl games, but it is silly to deny that it is a factor.
Motivation is always a factor in bowl games, but I fail to see how you can unequivocally state that USC is less motivated than their opponents in all non-Rose bowls and more motivated in Rose Bowls.
It is strange how often motivation seems to work better for the home team. It’s almost like there is some sort of advantage there.
I didn’t say it wasn’t a factor. I also didn’t say USC was more motivated than their opponents in the Rose Bowl. I said THEY were, if anything like Texas, more motivated than when THEY played elsewhere. Texas had a history of laying an egg as favorites in the Sun, Bluebonnet and notably in the Freedom Bowl. It got Fred Akers fired as coach.
The Big 10 had a long streak of losing in the Rose Bowl, no matter who the Pac 10 sent from the 60s through the 80s. For the California schools, they may have had homefield advantage. Not so sure it applied to Washington.
You didn’t say home field wasn’t an advantage, but Michael in Indy implied it.
If USC only cares at home, that further illustrates the advantage of home bowls. However, motivation only matters if one team is inherently better or more motivated than the other. So you were either assuming USC cared more than the Big Ten about the Rose Bowl or that USC was always the better team.
The big streak was from 1970-1987 (P10 went 16-2). USC and UCLA went 12 of the 18 times and went 11-1 (WA 2-1, Stanford 2-0, ASU 1-0). Clearly there were other factors involved, but home field was a big help.
Remember, teams didn’t have indoor practice facilities then like they do now.
It isn’t home that matters in motivation (especially since Pasadena is UCLA’s home). Its the bowl. The Rose Bowl, meaning conference champ, is the goal of all the B10 and P10 teams. For some of the kings, anything less is a dissappointment. USC wouldn’t care if the Rose was played in Boise. Or if it was a BCS championship played in Miami. But the Sun Bowl or Vegas Bowl are letdowns.
I do agree with Michael that its not the same as the typical homefield advantage. There are a lot of fans from the other team and a lot of neutral fans. And both teams get their routine disrupted by all the bowl festivities.
For “home field” bowl games, I didn’t clarify as much as I should have.
Obviously, a Big Ten team playing LSU in the Sugar Bowl (1 hour from campus) is in a virtual road game. Playing Florida in the Gator, Outback, or CapOne Bowl would be like a road game. Playing USC in the Rose Bowl is kind of like a road game.
It’s a little different when it’s a Big Ten team playing in a Florida bowl game against someone besides Florida. Just because you’re playing a bowl game in the South against a team from the SEC doesn’t mean the SEC has home field advantage.
For example, you’d really be reaching if Alabama ends up beating Michigan State in Orlando and said, “But MSU was in a road game.” Come on. Bama is a lot closer to Orlando than MSU, but it’s still a ten-hour drive from Tuscaloosa.
The Big Ten has actually been equal to the SEC in bowl games recently (take out OSU, and I believe they’re ahead). However, that doesn’t mean that weather and home field isn’t a factor. The weather’s a factor because if you’ve just spent the past few months in freezing weather, it’s going to take a while to adjust any sort of humid or even hot environment, and a few days often isn’t enough. BigTen schools also often do play Texas schools in a Texas bowl, Cali schools in the Rose Bowl (specifically, USC more often than not), and Florida in a Florida bowl.
I counted it up, and since the 1993 Rose Bowl, the Big Ten is 8-2 against all teams other than USC in the Rose Bowl (including 2-0 against UCLA), but 0-5 vs. USC in the Rose Bowl.
The Big Ten teams would routinely kick the SEC teams ass in games played outside in Detroit or Minneapolis in December and January. As proof, you might check out how well NFL dome teams do playing outside in the NFL playoffs.
Year in and year out the Big 10 teams take on the hardest bowl match-ups.
By the same token, the Big East teams have the easiest bowl match-ups, by far.
So to say the Big east has been an “excellent” conference based on bowl winning % is very misleading……
Texas fans would disagree with you because, even with ccgs, conference champs can be controversial with 3 way ties. We overwhelmingly believe Texas had the best team in 2008 but got shafted by the poll and BCS system. Texas beat OU by 10 on a neutral field (same as FL in BCS game), lost on a last second TD pass on the road (not at home as FL did) and lost at the end of a murderer’s row schedule that was too early in the season for the pollsters to remember (Arkansas, at CU in the altitude, #1 OU, #11 Missouri, #6 Ok. St., #6 Texas Tech). Instead ESPN and Musberger kept pumping up OU and how they deserved the championship as they broke up a close game against Missouri late in the 3rd quarter and ran up the score in the 4th, forgetting that Texas led Mizzou 35-3 at halftime and coasted in with running plays and reserves to win 56-31.
Whether you agree or not about Texas, the point is that conference champs can be unclear and decided by arbitrary means.
Picking four teams that year seemed really difficult. USC, Texas, OU, Florida, and Utah were all worth consideration. But I agree that OU should have been the one eliminated, having lost to another team in that group of five. If you threw in Alabama, they would have been eliminated for the same reason–losing to another team in that group (Florida).
That was a very, very unique situation though. In almost any other year, I’d argue that a team in a 4-team playoff should have to have won its conference.
I know it’s not a popular opinion, but I’d rather go back to the old bowl system than have a large playoff in college football. If you like the large playoff format, go watch the NFL. But this is the first proposal that I’d be willing to accept. I’d like to add the following small adjustments:
– Notre Dame is a non-AQ school (if not being a conference is so important, this shouldn’t be an issue)
– Move the semifinal games to BEFORE the New Year (put them in the middle of that Capital One Bowl Week that ESPN loves – no need to make the post-season longer)
Great blog; it became my summer expansion handbook. Love the BCS Final Four idea, which is what it should be called, by the way (if the NCAA allows). Great brand recognition.
My only suggestion: the top four BCS ranked conference champs (AQ status need not apply) are the Final Four semi-finalists. I’m a strong proponent of “if you can’t win your conference, you can’t play for the national championship.” Just like Michigan in ’06, Stanford had their chance this year and didn’t capitalize. A rematch would have been unfair and, very likely, a poor television draw compared to other NC games. This only furthers the value of the regular season, which would now act as a de-facto 10-week “divisional” playoff round for all the “Death to the BCS,” 16-team playoff dreamers. Can’t beat that.
I had the “conference champs Final Four” thought a couple weeks ago and did the research to find out, for the entire BCS era, which teams would have qualified and which would have been skipped over for not winning their conference (ie Michigan & Stanford). I can email the list to you if you’d like.
This little tweak would make your BCS Final Four the best post season alternative I’ve heard yet.
Phil Steele proposed a four-team playoff for the past decade, and he really had strong arguments for why 4 was perfect most years. Interestingly, he stopped giving “perfect examples” in 2006 b/c of all the parity and really a lack of “elite” teams after that point. He still proposes a 4-team ideal…but acknowledges that it’s not as perfect as he once hoped.
Agree with the conference champion requirement. Note that the potential BCS nightmare scenario goes away with the Nebraska Expansion, as now no two teams from the same conference can finish the regular season undefeated as everyone has a round-robin or championship game. No way my dream of an all Big Ten National Championship game happens, and it will make picking one team from the Big Ten easier.
In Frank’s Plus One BCS picture,
Rose: #5 Wisconsin vs. #1 Oregon
Sugar: #1 Auburn vs. #3 TCU
Orange: #13 Virginia Tech vs. #8 Arkansas
Fiesta: #6 Ohio State vs. #4 Stanford
Cotton: #7 Oklahoma vs. Connecticut
The Rose and Sugar would be de facto semifinals with no regards to what #4 Stanford does. This supports Frank’s Final Four in the name of transparency.
Also, I wouldn’t seed the Final Four. I’d picked the most compelling match ups. If I’m the Rose, I’d want the match-up of top four Big Tennish and Pac 12 champions no matter what they were rank if I had the semifinal, and if I had the championship game I’d want them split with the hope that they both win and meet in the final. I think the fairness concerns are limited with having only four teams.
Great stuff Frank. Really well thought out and written article! I’m a fan of the Wetzel DTTBCS method because I like the big 16 team tourney. But this really makes sense. Especially given my eye opening tweets with Andy Staples tonight. Had no idea of the actual control these BCS conference commissioners had on the NCAA. I always thought they just helped some NCAA body arrive at the post season decisions not that they were the NCAA body making the decisions. I guess any playoff system other than the current BCS really will have to cater to them.
Logistics question…when would the semi-finals occur? I couldn’t find that anywhere. While the the non-Rose Bowl BCS bowls move their dates around, the Rose is LOCKED on January 1. Can the semifinal occur on December 26th (let’s say) every year and does that give the BCS host cities enough time to turn over their hotel rooms and celebrations for their actual bowl games on January 1 (at the earliest, later for others)? Just wondering…
While I love “Death to the BCS”‘s proposal ( http://mbd.scout.com/mb.aspx?s=157&f=1395&t=6656489 ) (and I could see the NCAA implementing it if an act of Congress (or an act of God!) overthrew the BCS entirely), I also acknowledge that it doesn’t acknowledge the need for POWER and control that the BCS schools want. It’s not just about money…it’s POWER and money. Your proposal does appease that desire…but it also makes me sick.
Sure, a 4 team playoff is better than what we’ve got…but getting there by giving the BCS Cartel everything they want just leaves a bitter taste in my mouth.
Over the course of this past year, I’ve learned a lot about how universities, conferences & the NCAA operate. Many of the opinions/beliefs that I had at the beginning have changed. While I oftentimes agree with Adam’s ideology, I usually understand why this will work and/or that won’t (with the exceptions of the BT logo and naming conventions). Most of my newfound knowledge is owed to FtT & the many posters. This proposal is probably the most plausible (though I do like the 1 as described by Adam above).
A somewhat recent idea of mine in regards to a potential playoff plan…
Everything pretty much remains the same (no NT game) as of today BUT after all the bowl games, the BCS rankings rank a top 4; they’ll all most likely be winners of the current BCS bowls. Those four teams are seeded 1-4 in a simple 4-team playoff…
Incredibly simple, keeps all the people happy that like [e.g. profit] the current setup and makes the people wanting a playoff happy.
but why extend the season longer into January…when no meaningful college football is played for about 4 weeks in December? What sport (or what team) takes a month off at the end of the season? Why not play Frank’s semifinal games this weekend (after Heisman weekend…two weeks to hype up the semi games…two weeks to prepare stadium/travel…???
While I think this idea is a very good one, here are some points to ponder…
1. Would there be any Football Four AQs? In theory, a conference may have 2-3 BCS bids, but none of them contending for the mNC. I would assume that it would be more lucrative for a conference to have one of their teams playing for the mNC.
2. What happens if two non-AQ teams are in the top four? We almost had Auburn, Oregon, TCU & Boise State as the top four. How would that sit with the BT, ACC & Big East?
3. What happens in the (extremely unlikely) event that >4 teams are undefeated (and conference champions)? I would assume the BCS ranking determine the participants, but that would be an exceptionally ugly situation.
4. No matter the number of teams, someone is always going to complain. Look at March Madness… 64, then 65 & now 68 teams get into the tournament, yet someone always feels like they got left out. Really? You did? Let’s see… you didn’t win your conference (tournament) and were not ranked in the Top 25, but you deserve to be in the tournament… oh, okay!
5. No matter what is said, the Rose, Sugar, Orange & Fiesta Bowls are going to be 2nd Tier bowls as the SemiFinals & Finals will be 1st Tier. They will still be above the rest of the bowls, but they won’t have mNC implications.
One of the things I appreciate about college football is the ultra-high standard for winning the national championship. If you expand from the current two-team playoff to an 8-team playoff, you lower the standard. Go to 12 or 16, you’re lowering the bar even more.
All I’m interested in seeing is for all the teams who’ve had a flawless season–or at least damn-near flawless–to get a fair shot at the title. Yes, that will still require subectivity, but so be it. I’d rather see a controversy over who should be #4 (Stanford, Wisconsin, or someone else) if it allows a very deserving, undefeated #3 TCU get a fair chance to win the national title. If the playoff is 8 teams, then clearly the demands of the regular season have been compromised more than necessary.
What needs to be avoided is situations like Auburn in ’04, Penn State in ’94, Utah in ’08, and Boise in ’09. What also needs to be avoided is buying into this notion that a Michigan State team that got destroyed by a 7-5 Iowa, or an LSU team that lost twice this year, still deserves to be in an 8-team playoff.
Keep the standard as high as possible, but give a fair shot for all who meet it.
There is no National Championship, it’s still mythica until you play it on the field. So you can not say there is a high standard. Sorry can’t buy that argument against a playoff. Realize the powers to be won’t allow one. But I would like a good old fashioned playoff, because there is too much politics in the current season.
I agree about diluting the pool of worthy teams if the playoff has too many teams. In most years, 4 teams is more than plenty. My questions/comments above are partially rhetorical, bit would need to be addressed by tPtB before they signed on.
I like the thought behind your plan, but I wonder if it still isn’t too much of a radical change. Inertia of the system is king, in my opinion. Also, your plan does nothing to prevent bracket creep.
I think any future playoff system develops in the same way the BCS did. The system could stop anywhere along the path (and could skip a step or two).
1. Unseeded +1. The Cotton Bowl is added and gets the B12 tie-in, and the at large selection order rotates after the Fiesta gets first pick. The Rose Bowl goes back to always being B10/P12 to get them onboard.
2. Semi-seeded +1. The 5 tie-ins remain, but now the at larges are selected to achieve as close to 1/4 and 2/3 as possible without affecting the Rose Bowl selections.
3. Mostly-seeded +1. Only the Rose Bowl tie-ins remain, and the teams are selected to achieve as close to 1/4 and 2/3 as possible. The former tie-ins are used to select game sites, and for placing the remaining teams.
4. Seeded 4 +1 (a 4 team playoff). Now all the tie-ins are gone except for selecting game sites and placing the remaining teams.
This incremental path eases the powers that be into the changes to get to the same 4 team playoff you propose. It has the benefit of using the BCS bowls all along so they stay paramount. Also, bracket creep to 8 is not as easy since it would involve creating new, important games which they could prevent. Your plan starts down the slippery slope by creating new games for the semifinals, so adding another round becomes easier. For that alone, I think Delany and others would fight it.
Why is everyone so eager to see 8-team and 16-team playoffs?
Why would it be an improvement for a Virginia Tech team that lost twice, including a loss to a 6-5 FCS team, to still get a chance to win the national title? Or how about #5 Ohio State, who lost its only game against a top 25 team? Or Arkansas or LSU or Boise or all these other teams who’d be in a playoff?
Ohio State failed where Auburn and Oregon did not. They missed their chance, and that’s what is great about college football. Every game counts… most of the time. The flaw is that every game counted for TCU, but not enough to get a fair deal. Our sympathy should go towards them, or the ’08 Utah team or ’08 Texas team or ’09 Cincinnati team…
Teams like Ohio State, Oklahoma, Michigan State, Virginia Tech, and Boise ought to be in great bowl games as a reward for their seasons, but not in a playoff. As far as I’m concerned, they’re already eliminated.
How much does “sympathy” count for in other sports? What do TCU, Utah, Auburn 04 get from your sympathy?
The point isn’t that VaTech or OSU deserve a shot…the point is that we’ve had not just myriad undefeated teams get shafted throughout history (my 60’s-90’s PSU had more than their share) but now we’re seeing arbitrary teams being selected (beauty pageant) with 1 or 2 losses. While people like you can argue for the flaw in the “shafted” teams’ resumes, you then must also ignore the flaws in the two lovely teams who are chosen for the CG.
There are numerous levels to this debate. What is a fair system? What is real solution? What is a profitable system (rough economy, schools and states struggling)? What is best for the integrity of the game? I’m not “pro-16 teams” as much as I am for a system that does a better job at addressing all these questions.
I am not in favor of any playoff. I preferred the old system and was perfectly happy with split titles. However, I recognize that things change and the system is more likely to advance than retreat. That is why I am for an unseeded plus one system.
For the traditionalists, the old bowl tie-ins return.
For the playoff fans, there is a title game.
For the non-AQs, there is access to the big bowls and a chance to build the resume and earn a title shot.
Everybody gets most of what they want. Those who support large playoffs are SOL, and they should be for trying to screw up the best sport around.
16 teams gives you inclusion.
8 will almost certainly give you anyone who is the actual best team.
4 can easily leave someone out and relies too much on inaccurate polls and beauty contests.
Personally my preference is 10-12. 16 gives you teams who have no realistic shot or realistic claim. 8 means non AQ schools frequently will get no chance to prove themselves.
I do prefer all of these to 4.
Congrats on being tweeted by Stewart Mandel and Andy Staples, frank. My favorite writers all converge…it’s going to be a good day.
Veering off topic a bit. I understand that any changes will be hard to accomplish for many reasons. The news about Cuban’s idea got me thinking though, what if the non-AQ’s would start without their BCS masters?
If the non-AQ’s start a playoff system on their own, you could have the MWC, C-USA, MAC, Sun Belt, WAC and at least BYU of the independents to start with. Army and Navy might want to be a part of the new coalition and if the money was right maybe even ND would join. Heck the BE may be interested since they never get an at large bid and their contracts are always behind the other conferences.
Worst case scenario you start with the 5 non-AQ conferences and BYU. You could take each conference winner and 3 at large bids. The games that would result would surely get good ratings even going up against the early season bowls. Play the first 2 rounds at the higher seeds home field and the final at a neutral location.
Off the top of my head, this year would have TCU, Boise (due to their higher rank even though the WAC was a 3 way tie), UCF, Miami (OH) and FIU as conference champs. The 3 at large bids would be Nevada, Utah and Hawaii if you take the highest ranked. I believe that the seeds would look like this.
TCU #1 – FIU #8
Boise #2 – Miami #7
Nevada #3 – UCF #6
Utah #4 – Hawaii #5
There would be a couple of good games in the first round. If the highest seeds won you would end up with 2 rematches, TCU – Utah and Boise – Nevada. I don’t like the rematches but it is more likely to happen the smaller the pool of schools you have to choose from. Again, following seeds you end up with TCU – Boise in the final. I think that would make for some great programming in December. Much better than most bowls that would be played then.
This, with all due respect, has to be one of the dumbest things I’ve ever seen written. To assume that Cuban would throw the kind of money around necessary to get this off the ground is preposterous. Second, No ONE would care!
Without the AQ conferences, any discussion is dead.
I don’t care if it ends up being Cuban or martians. The amount of money needed to get this off the ground with just the non-AQ’s would be considerably less than if the AQ’s are involved. For the non-AQ’s to do better financially than they do now as beggars at the fat cats tables is all that is necessary.
There are probably alot of people like you that wouldn’t be excited by the matchups. I think that most of them would be better than the alternative. We have to watch watered down, nobody bowls in December now. Why not add some excitement and let the kids prove who is best among them on the field? And let the schools make more money at the same time.
I understand alot of the arguments against playoffs but by not taking advantage of the money that the conferences and schools could make with a playoff the people running the schools are not being good stewards.
The money argument is a little deceptive. A 4-16 team playoff would make more money than they do now, but that amount is dwarfed by the increase of adding just one extra game to the regular season. If they resolve to add an extra game, they would not be good stewards of their institutions to add it to the post-season.
Congratulations, you just created a football version of the NIT. Something that people watch because there’s nothing better on, but that nobody gives to craps about.
And besides, where’s the incentive for the non-AQs? They love getting their shots at the big boys, even if they don’t get to take a crack at the biggest (#1-#2) of them. This system removes that possibility.
I only suggest that the non-AQ’s consider it if the money they can make is significantly better than their current share of BCS money. If they could successfully set up a playoff/exhibition system and begin closing the money gap with the AQ conferences the AQ conferences are going to become much more open to change. The point of setting up such a system would be to eventually get all FBS schools/conferences involved.
This wasn’t something I put a great deal of thought into. It was just a thought triggered by the news that Cuban was looking at a playoff system and reading the BCS BS. This could require, or lead to, a separate subdivision of the NCAA and many other changes that need much more consideration.
On an expansion-related note, I’m fascinated by the reactions in the Big East to TCU coming. The threat of increased competition helped get two coaches fired (Wannstadt and Stewart). I wonder if either would still be around without the looming threat of TCU. I liked the WVU AD’s comment about the Big East title going through Fort Worth soon.
“I see a rapidly improving Big East,” Luck said. “The addition of TCU is going to raise the bar for all of us in the Big East and we need to respond to that and prepare ourselves. Because I believe eventually the road to the Big East championship will go through Fort Worth and we need to be prepared to go ahead and beat a team like TCU on the road, claim a Big East championship and get to national championship consideration.”
Maybe this will be the boost necessary to get the league to raise its level. Perhaps schools got a little complacent after losing VT and Miami and only now are starting to push themselves again. They see the butt kicking headed their way if they don’t step it up.
Maybe. Or maybe they just got tired of mediocre coaches?
Others have noted that the Big East’s past additions had an initial bump after joining but then dropped back off (Louisville was top 10 for a few seasons, USF jutted into the top 10 a few times). Who knows how long Patterson will stay? Who knows how long his coordinators will stay? Who knows how recruiting will be affected by becoming an “eastern” school rather than a southwestern school? I bet TCU wins less than 2 “Big East” crowns in its first five seasons.
They seemed content with mediocre coaches for years in that conference.
The Big East has had plenty of coaches who were anything but mediocre, but they just couldn’t hang onto them. Bobby Petrino at Louisville, Rich Rodriguez at WVU, and Brian Kelly at Cincinnati all worked wonders when they were in the Big East, but they all left for cushier jobs.
Edsall is still there.
True. I should have mentioned him, too. Edsall’s an outstanding coach. I’m sure he’s been pursued by other schools in the past few years. Maybe he’s holding out hope for coaching at Penn State one day… or maybe he’s like Gary Patterson and just sincerely wants to be at the school where he is.
They’ve managed to hold on to plenty of mediocre coaches for years, though. See Syracuse, Rutgers and USF for more examples.
Not being able to keep top coaches doesn’t excuse keeping mediocre coaches.
Huh? Syracuse & USF just changed coaches. Granted, in USF, it’s because the coach committed an egregious offense & not because of on-the-field performance.
Since 1987 Syracuse has won 8+ games 10 times, so they know success is possible. However,
Pasqualoni won 8 or more games once in his last 6 seasons (6 or fewer 4 times).
Robinson got 4 seasons despite never winning 5 games, and looking worse than their record.
Leavitt never lost fewer than 3 conference games in 7 seasons in a conference, and the Big East only plays 7 conference games.
Schiano has never lost fewer than 2 conference games and is barely .500 for his career. His predecessor was horrible for 6 seasons.
Schools in more competitive conferences would have fired these coaches sooner. These schools were not that concerned with the results, and they are in a relatively weak conference. Imagine what the records would have been in a better conference (Vanderbilt like?).
As much as I hate Greg Robinson for what he did to SU football, I don’t think 4 years is too unreasonable (I would have fired him after the third year). I think they held onto Pasqualoni so long simply because the previous long-time AD was retiring and he wasn’t going to do the firing/hiring.
Anyway! To comment on the original post, I just don’t see TCU coming in and dominating the BE. Certainly nowhere near as much as Miami did.
The SEC already brought this proposal to the BCS in 2008 and it was soundly rejected. There will never, ever, ever be a playoff. I wish people would just understand this and move on.
The far more realistic option, based on comments from Jim Delaney in particular, is bowl reverted back to traditional tie-ins with a plus one after that.
Here’s a look: http://thebubblescreen.blogspot.com/2010/12/my-bcs-solution-old-school-plus-one.html
@Sean – The SEC’s proposal was a bit different from this one here. What they wanted to do was use the existing BCS bowls and rotate the semifinal games among them. The Big Ten and Pac-10, in particular, wouldn’t have any of it because they would’ve given up the Rose Bowl nearly every other year. I agree, though, that a traditional tie-in/plus-one would be a realistic option, as I’ve written about that previously, as well:
I like the four-team playoff, but I can’t see it working in reality with the bowls.
For example, in your proposal the Orange Bowl wouldn’t have hosted a semifinal game since 2000. That’s a decade of meaningless football and I don’t see the ACC getting better.
And the Rose Bowl, with two tie-ins, would have an unfair advantage over the Fiesta & Sugar Bowls.
I wrote a little this morning about the reasons why a playoff isn’t happening. It basically comes down to — college football, as a whole, is making money and fans are still tuning in. Until they don’t, I don’t see the presidents having a reason to change it up. Ya know?
As always, great post. But I think you’re missing something even more basic. Sean posted a link and I have been saying it for years since we went to the BCS system: January 1st ain’t what it used to be.
I would love to see someone look at the revenues, pro-rated for inflation, incomes, etc. from the time when the Sugar, Orange, Fiesta and Rose were all played on New Year’s day. My guess is that with everything being equal, the increased revenue (from television) isn’t covering what used to be a great New Year’s tradtion for all the fans that had a New Year’s Day January 1st bowl to attend if your team won it’s conference. THAT’S what’s missing. Go back to the old January 1st schedule, add your +1 game a week later and give the game (and New Year’s Day) back to the fans.
I recently saw that Orange and Fiesta ticket sales are in the dumpster.
Sarcasm aside, if these games were still on January 1st, they might be selling more tickets and getting more people to attend. But if you are a casual fan and find yourself having to take vacation days at the beginning of the year just to see your team live and in person, well, the results of that are self evident. People won’t go. And if TV ratings fall off as a result maybe there is some logic (money) to gonig back to the way January 1st used to be.
Besides that, I couldn’t agree more with what you posted. The Big Guys need to keep what they’ve earned and built over the years and the Non-AQ schools need to be happy with what’s left over.
AND to echo your sentiment: STOP SCREWING with the ROSE BOWL. Stanford vs. Wisconsin would have been great this year. TCU (which is the BEast now, anyway) would have looked fine in the Orange. I feel bad for all the loyal Stanford fans out there that must be feeling totally robbed for not getting to attend the Rose after they finally get to a point where they could have been there.
I do remember devoting January 1 to bowl games. The Outback and Cotton aren’t always intriguing anymore. I suspect the TV drawfs the decline in ticket sales. Prices have also gone through the roof as well, hurting the quantity of sales.
I think you may be pointing out one different weakness in his proposal with your comment about ticket sales. The championship game has somewhat degraded the 4 bowls that aren’t. With semi-finals in the bowls, you mess with the Rose Bowl, but you don’t degrade as many bowls. With 2 separate semi-finals, do you degrade all 4 big bowls? They get a new revenue source with the double hosting, but their January 1 game may become an afterthought.
Overall one of the best proposals out there, I agree with Bullet that there will be problems with double hosting so frequently. Down the chain, Capital One and Cotton Bowl (assuming they aren’t invited into the BCS) get shafted. For example this year, the Cap One would have a 7-5 PSU or Iowa instead of an 11-1 Michigan State and Cotton Bowl would have So. Carolina or Mississipi State instead of LSU.
All I know for certain is that whichever bowls AREN’T on New Years (I think the Sugar, Orange and Fiesta swap for the New Year’s night time slot?) have lousy ratings comparatively speaking. I know some of that always has to do with the matchup and the Orange tied to the ACC has to be part of their problem, also. But never the less, I think you have a better shot at higher ratings, regardless of who’s playing, if you’re on New Year’s day. The Chik Fil A bowl always seems to pull a great number on New Year’s Eve as well and I think that day should be considered as more of an option leading up to the “Big Event” on January 1st. After that, peopl are just done with Colege Football.
In defense of the ACC, the Orange hasn’t gotten much ratings help from the teams on the other side of the field, either.
These have been the ACC’s opponents since the 2003 season.
’10: Iowa (Ga. Tech)
’09: Cincinnati (Va. Tech)
’08: Kansas (Va. Tech)
’07: Louisville (Wake Forest)
’06: Penn State (Florida State)
’05: N/A; Orange Bowl was title game
’04: Miami (Florida State)
The ’04 and ’06 contests had good ratings thanks to two traditional powers. ’07 had an ACC team with virtually zero fanbase to speak of, but Louisville isn’t exactly Ohio State, either. ’08 had a Big 12 team, but unfortunately that team was Kansas, not OU or Texas. ’09 had the extremely popular Cincinnati Bearcats. The bad ratings for the ’10 game were probably due more to Georgia Tech, but again, Iowa was yet another team that doesn’t deliver in the same way a national power does.
I can only imagine how frustrating it was for the Orange Bowl to watch the Sugar get both Arkansas AND Ohio State while they got Stanford. (That’s not a knock on Stanford the team; it’s on their ability to draw good ratings.)
Michael in Indy,
The reason the ACC plays all these crappy teams is because the BCS bowls consistently try to pair up teams that bring in the highest ratings, and the ACC just doesn’t make the cut. The reason the Big Ten got all those new bowl tie-ins with the SEC is because they’re the two leagues that have schools with fanbases that travel well and get phenomenal TV ratings.
I love cfb and I agree. After Jan 1st, my attention is way down.
Don’t feel too bad for us Stanford fans. Yes, we would have loved to go to the Rose Bowl. But we also understand that it wouldn’t have been a “real” Rose Bowl trip. We did not win the conference. Oregon did.
I appreciate the sentiment, but I would have preferrd watching Stanford and Wisconsin as a fan…And if you’re thinking that VaTech will somehow be an easier opponent for you and that you will preserve the 1 loss season, well, I happen to think you’ll have your hands full with the Hokies.
TCU in the Rose is just wrong. There’s limits to what you can screw with, and the BCS just crossed the line.
But Texas and OU in the Rose Bowl you were okay with?
I can’t speak for him, but no. Anyone not B10 or P10 is a blight on the greatest of all bowl games.
So USC/Texas in 2006 was a blight on the Rose Bowl!!!
Yep. Great NC game, bad Rose Bowl.
Frankly, yes. The tradition that Texas brought to the Rose made it seem worthwhile and that it would be a game for the ages. Michigan also played Texas in the Rose and I didn’t have a problem with that, either. TCU? Are you kidding me? What great rivalry games has TCU played in the past that makes them an enticing team to watch?
Sorry…Just a average fan’s opinion…
Jim? Jim Delaney?
“The Big Guys need to keep what they’ve earned and built over the years and the Non-AQ schools need to be happy with what’s left over.”
It is exactly because of this type of thinking that the non-AQ’s should work with Cuban, or anyone else, to create their own playoff. Meaningful games amongst these schools in December would find alot of fans like myself interested.
You’re proposing a football NIT. Diehards like myself, who watch most of the bowl games because we are crazy, would tune in. But it wouldn’t exactly draw big ratings. It would beat the ratings of any pre-December 28th bowls, but not by a lot.
TCU is already leaving the non-AQ mix, and I’m not sure if an NIT game would benefit Boise any better than a regular bowl game. Those are the only names that would draw eyeballs. Sun Belt vs. MAC games aren’t going to be a big draw.
Anyways, this is a playoff that would require NCAA signoff, so its a non-starter.
If only there were a group of smaller, less popular schools staging a similar playoff already so we would have some basis for comparison…
I still need a provision that states Conference Champions only in the Semi and NC games (to protect the importance of winning a conference title game – otherwise last year the loser of Fla Bama would have still made a semi and probably would have set up rematch with the winner (1 vs 4), same goes for 2006 OSU v Mich). Frank – can you expand on why the BCS doesn’t have this currently? I know it is bc ND isn’t in a conference – so why not just say ND (and all independents) are exempt – they only need to finish in top 4 (or top 2 currently)
I don’t remember the discussion. Maybe someone else does, but there was considerable debate after UNL made the championship game against Miami in 2001. UNL lost 62-24 in its last game to CU and finished 10-1. CU won the Big 12 39-37 over Texas and was #3 at 10-2 (one of their losses was 41-7 to Texas). Oregon had 1 loss and was #4. Everyone knew UNL shouldn’t go, but they were #2 in BCS. They decided not to include a conference championship provision.
That was when the BCS removed strength of schedule from the formula because NU surpassed Oregon and CU on the strength of their schedule. The big sticking point about conference champs was and is Notre Dame. Secondary consideration was that not all conferences had championship games.
In general the BCS has tried to avoid constraints whenever possible. They understand that there may be unusual circumstances that a hard and fast rule can’t take into account but the polls can.
There’s also the recurring point that the participants in the conference title game are only chosen on the basis of a subset of all games played. A team that goes 8-0 in conference and 8-4 overall is likely not as good as a team that went 7-1 in conference and 11-1 overall — even if the 11-1 team lost to the 8-4 team head-to-head.
In short, just because you win your conference doesn’t mean you’re the best team in your conference.
Nice analysis and creative approach.
On #4 I partly disagree with you. Bowl Alliance, while not optimal, was very successful. It was bad-for Pac 10 and Big 10. They realized it and joined to create BCS. Rose, B10, P10 aren’t essential to starting a system-just for maximizing it. That said, I think B10 and P10 learned their lesson and will participate.
On #5 I totally disagree. Cotton was probably the #2 or #3 bowl for the 70s and 80s. It got outbid by the Fiesta (primarily because the decline of SWC had weakened it), which was a relatively new bowl and really nothing until the late 80s-90s when tie-ins forced indies to the Fiesta and PSU/FSU/ND/Miami were among the nations top powers. In fact the historical tie-ins, other than the Rose, are anything but historical. The Orange was open for most of its history. It started liking Big 8 teams and in the later years of the Big 8 signed a deal for the champ. The Sugar only signed the deal with the SEC realtively late (70s I think-AL played in Orange 74 season, 72 had no SEC teams). Mostly it was just good business sense to invite SEC teams. And of course, the Cotton had SWC teams, so B12 teams rarely went to the Fiesta until Cotton got left out in 1996. I think it will all have to do with $. I don’t think there’s any need or effort to limit it to 4. They have power, but its primarily about $. Only the Rose is immune.
It was the effort of the bowls to get tie-ins that led to the rise of Miami as well as the Fiesta. In the ’83 season UNL and UT were the unquestioned top teams and only unbeatens. It would have been a dream matchup much like USC and UT in 2005. The bowls had worked some of those in the 70s. But in ’83 Big 8 was tied to Orange and SWC to Cotton. Texas got upset by UGA in Cotton and Miami upset UNL in Orange to win their 1st MNC.
The Bowl Alliance lasted 3 years (1995-7). The Big Ten got 2 at large berths of the 6 available. In 2 of the 3 years, a split title was possible. In 1997 it was unavoidable once MI won the Rose since MI was #1 in both polls but the BA winner (NE) was guaranteed #1 in the coaches poll.
There was also anti-trust pressure coming from BYU being excluded. There were congressional hearings and such. They decided reforming into the BCS which didn’t explicitly exclude the lesser teams to be the better part of valor.
As to the Cotton, I wouldn’t be totally surprised to see it bump the Fiesta bowl out in the next contract if the BCS remains as is. Now that it is in Jerryworld with his money behind it, I would think the B12 would prefer to play there. Two of the northern schools that preferred Arizona are gone. I’m guessing the Texas four and Oklahoma two would prefer Dallas and will out vote their brethren.
The Sugar has often been at the bottom financially as New Orleans doesn’t have the corporate base the other cities have. But leaving New Orleans out would be pretty hard to do. Dallas has had a weather disadvantage to the other 4.
Who suggested the Sugar being dropped?
B16TEN to reconsider division names?
I don’t know how much to read into it. It’s a good sign that he spoke publicly about the possibility of changing the names, but putting things off until January could be an easy way to hope everyone forgets over the holidays. I think they will learn the same lesson Coke did, that sometimes you have to listen to your customers.
I still think names are out, but hopefully geographical terms are under consideration.
putting things off until January could be an easy way to hope everyone forgets over the holidays
I don’t know if this is necessarily the case. I think it’s more a matter of: when the division names were announced, there was literally nothing going on in the college football world, so, the entire spotlight was on these names. I think the thought now is to let the bowls occur so there’s other talking points and then see if the reaction is quite as negative
however, I do agree that the division names are heinous. I think that allowing families to come together during the holidays and talk about it more is only going to create more negative feedback. I agree that “Legends and Leaders” makes a great catchphrase for the conference, and I hope we keep it. I think the way out for delany & co. will be to issue a press release saying that that’s going to be our new slogan and we’ll have new conference names being whatever they are (I personally vote for Great Lakes and Great Plains)
There had to be other names considered. If they were really looking to change, they should have set up online polls today with their top five choices to get feedback. They could even submit them to the various alumni associations if they are worried about getting spam results from open voting.
They could also set up a new email address just to accept idea submissions. They would largely ignore all of the fan input like always, but it would let people feel like they had a say. They might even find a good idea, or at least a consensus opinion.
I vote for “Lakes” and “Rivers”
They should definitely ask for feedback.
One issue that remains with any type of Final Four or traditional tie-in/plus-one is the issue of ticket sales. Fans won’t travel to a traditional BCS site for a semifinal when they know they have a chance to go elsewhere for the championship (i.e. Oregon fans would not travel to New Orleans for a semi-final when they understand they could go to Glendale for the championship).
I understand that the bowls love this idea because athletic departments are ultimately responsible for unsold tickets, but can you see athletic directors and university presidents signing off on this? Would it be an option to have these semi-final games at regional locations (Auburn could host Stanford in Atlanta) to ensure fans would attend games?
Is this all a moot point because the bowls have so much power in this game and can force the athletic departments to do what they want, or increased revenue from this format could make up for unsold tickets?
Yeah, ticket guarantees are a hassle, and having to do it twice in two weeks? Ouch. That’s why you institute a true playoff and have the games at home sites. Save fans some money, keep the parking and concession revenues with the school – everybody wins.
actually, there’s a very simple solution to this which simultaneously solves two problems:
along with complaining about the BCS system in general, another common complaint is the long layover until we get to the “real games”. this complaint comes both from fans and teams. fans don’t like waiting around for the big games to happen and teams get rusty
stagger the semi-final games and championship game. so, christmas weekend (3-4 weeks after the end of the season), have the semifinals. then have the BCS games new year’s weekend. then have the final right around the time it is now. now, the semifinals can double dip travelling fan bases: christmas weekend and new year’s weekend. fans usually take a vacation (regardless if their team’s in a bowl game or not) around christmas anyways. plus, fans’ll still take that extra day off in january for the title game if their game makes it. and, the teams won’t get rusty
Semi-finals on campus: “The BCS: A Love Story” (http://bydivineright.wordpress.com/).
Why do we need to keep the month in between the close of the regular season and the beginning of the playoffs (January 1 in your proposal)?
On the one hand, I feel like 3 games before January 1 (this year, a 16 team playoff would have needed games on Dec 11, 18, and 25!?!) is too many. However, if you had an 8 team playoff…give first round home field advantage…use the BCS bowls for a semifinal…and then the championship game would sell out with or without traveling fan bases…mid-January for the championship game.
Or, use Frank’s proposal but instead of letting the BCS bowls double dip with two hostings per years give home field advantage to the higher seed.
I have no real problem with the two-week gap between conference championships and bowl games. Sure, you could fill that void with quarterfinal games and the like. But, starting a playoff in mid-December, with quarterfinals either on campus or at a lesser bowl site, creates at least 3 problems: (1) it infringes upon final exams, (2) fans of the quarterfinals losers will be less likely to travel to a bowl game after their team has been eliminated from the playoffs, and (3) expecting fans to travel, en masse, for a semifinal bowl game, and then a championship game, days later, is problematic. Having the 4 BCS bowls host quarterfinals preserves their status as the biggest games of the New Year, and shifting to on-campus semifinals eases the challenges of travelling fan fatigue. Alas, I’ve come around to the notion that there’s no turning back from a 10-team BCS to an 8-team BCS playoff. I prefer the 10- and 12-team playoff ideas, with elimination games for the non-AQ’s and at-large teams, leading to quarterfinals at the 4 BCS sites, on-campus seminfinals, and a BCS national championship c. MLK Jr Day.
@Frank – thanks for the Rose Bowl travel tips. I’ll be sure to read that before I head off to Pasadena.
Speaking of, what exactly is Delaney complaining about? Last I checked, we’re facing Big Ten co-champion Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl – it’s the Pac-10 and Stanford that have a beef. Delaney should be pissed at OU for taking Iowa’s spot back in 2002 or whenever it was. Sure, some control over the Rose Bowl was ceded, but the Big Ten and Pac-10 got access to the title game in exchange. Pretty good trade.
Also, I wish people would stop framing the playoff debate as AQ vs. non-AQ. This system could help everyone, not just the Boise States. USC 2003, Auburn 2004, Texas 2008, Cincy 2009 – I’m looking at you. And as far as relative wealth goes, most of the non-AQ schools have no illusions of competing business-wise with the big AQ schools; most of them are just trying to keep their heads above water. College athletics are being cut left and right, and that should concern any college sports fan.
Now, to the proposal. The AQ conferences are mighty indeed, but I think you overestimate how much power the bowls really have. There’s a reason they spend so much on lobbying and campaign donations – they’re scared witless that someone will realize what a good scam they have going on and do something about it. If the schools decide that they can do better than a bowl system, it’s curtains for the boys in the blazers.
And your system keeps the bowls involved – that’s a non-starter for me. I’d rather keep the current system than get those guys even more entrenched. Radical change can indeed happen, and I’m not giving up on a true playoff that keeps John Junker and co. out of the cookie jar.
So, in the spirit of compromise and accepting some realities, I offer this amendment to the Wetzel plan: autobids for current AQ conferences, followed by the 10 highest-ranked teams remaining. No limits on how many teams per conference can participate. The system can throw a little money to the non-AQ folks whether they make it or not, just as they do now (along with the FCS conferences). This accomplishes a few things:
a) bringing in piles more money to college football
b) creating a playoff that doesn’t give the bowls a cut – handing over piles of cash to those guys every year is unacceptable
c) giving the non-AQs an actual chance at a national title without giving them any greater access to the system. Boise might make it most years, but that’s about it.
d) creating a possibility for a more equitable future. Getting the playoff created is the thing; once it’s going, the non-AQ folks can still write their congressmen and press for greater access, just as they (and until recently we) are doing now.
So there you go. In Mark Cuban we trust.
Your idealism is inspiring. Frank’s pragmatism has me weighing the various plus-one or four-team playoff proposals. But your sober distaste for the boys in blazers makes me want to hold out for radical change, too.
I have a question for you, though. If we start with the Wetzel plan but abandon the auto-bids for all conferences, do we really need to have 16 teams? We can have 6 auto-bids and 6 at-large bids, resulting in a 12-team playoff with four teams getting opening round byes. That way the teams at the top try to end the season strong to get a bye, the teams right behind them fight for homefield, and the four behind them just hope to get in.
6 at-large bids should be enough to get in the deserving non-AQs or independents while still providing the usual second (and perhaps third) bids for powerful (or cupcake-inflated) conferences.
It’s hard not to detest the bowl execs when you look at how much they get paid to organize one game a year. There are ADs who put on six or more games a year who don’t make that much. If I were a bowl exec, I would be looking at giving myself and my staff a paycut and sending more back to the schools. That’s one way to stave off a playoff system.
I thought about the first-round byes, which would be a huge advantage for top teams to play for late in the season, but more games = more money (and more football, which is a good thing), and if you’re already putting playoff games during a weekend, why not have eight games instead of just four? The top teams would still be playing for home field throughout the playoffs (until the title game, at least), and that would be a powerful motivation. 16 seems like the maximum; after that, you start letting in too many and possibly degrading the regular season a bit. 16/120 = 13% of all teams; that’s half of what MLB allows in (8/30 = 27%), and that’s a pretty exclusive postseason (for now, anyway). If your goal is only to include any team with a real argument for being the best in the country, eight is enough. Four would have excluded Boise 2009, Utah 2008, and some other quality squads.
Oh, and I might institute an MLB-style rule where teams from the same conference can’t meet in the first round; matching up with a team from another conference is what the postseason is really all about. With 16, I think you could shuffle the seeds without too much difficulty.
I like the idea of 10-12, but the layoff can also be a disadvantage, especially if the 1st round is January 1. In fact, that was part of the argument for expanding the NCAA to 64 teams. A lot of high seeds were getting beat in the 2nd round when their opponents already had a game to work off 1st round jitters.
I don’t want to defend the bowl execs too much, but they do a lot more than organize one game. They generally have events all year round, plus a crazy week of activities during bowl week. They have to organize a ridiculous number of volunteers and businesses during the holidays while dealing with tens of thousands of visitors. There is a lot of work to do during the year to get things ready. It’s not like an AD running a home game.
I’m not saying they earn their full salaries, but it is more work than most people think.
Delany is mad because (pick your favorite):
1. the Rose Bowl isn’t B10/P10 (again)
2. the Rose Bowl is lessened every time it isn’t B10/P10
3. it could have been a B10 team that missed out
4. the power schools have spent over 100 years building the bowls into what they are, and now the non-AQs want a free ride on their coattails
5. the Rose Bowl loses out once every four years for no gain to the B10 or P10 (they had NCG access before the non-AQ rule)
People will stop framing the playoffs as AQ versus non-AQ when non-AQs stop whining about a lack of access and a glass ceiling. There are other reasons for a playoff, but the biggest push lately has been the non-AQs complaining about not getting a fair chance.
If the playoffs were separate from the big bowls I wouldn’t care if the non-AQs had zero access to the bowls. I just want them to have access to whatever process determines the champion. But as long as the process uses the big bowls, I don’t care who built what. If a team might be the best in the land, I want to see them try to earn a title whether they are AQ or not.
This. The Rose may not be a playoff game per se, but winning BCS bowls is the only way for Boise State and co. to earn the respect that might eventually get them to the championship.
And what they should do is make the Rose take the Big East champ from time to time. That’s the one the other BCS bowls are REALLY trying to avoid.
You prove my point.
IMO, Delaney never should have given up BIG 10-PAC 10 exclusivity in the Rose Bowl. He over-reacted to the ’94 season when NEB beat out PSU. What people don’t understand about that is that it was then just as likely that the Big 10/Pac 10 would screw the other conferences, as vice versa…That is, if OSU or USC were #1 going into the RB, the #2 SEC and Big 12 team would have been on the outside looking in, exactly like PSU. IMO, Delaney gave that up for nothing but “the common good”…..
It was both the 94 and 97 results. Delaney saw the writing on the wall: the other conferences would almost always play a tougher game at the end than the Rose Bowl. And subsequently the B10 and P10 would lose out more often than not. It all depends on whether the Rose Bowl or National Champs is more important to you.
If UM, OSU, PSU, or USC was #1 going into the bowls, it would be the other leagues on the outside looking in…..the only situation in which the PAC 10 or Big 10 was screwed was if one of their teams was #2 going into the bowls…..
Just for fun, here’s how my proposed playoff system would look this year. I think I have the seeding right:
2 Oregon — — Auburn 1
15 Alabama — | | — Texas A&M 16
10 Ark. — | | | | — Ohio State 9
|– | |_____ | |–|
7 UConn — | | — Stanford 8
3 TCU — | _____| — Wisconsin 4
|– | | –|
14 Ok. St. — | | | | — Missouri 13
11 MSU — | | — LSU 12
|– | |–|
6 VT — — Oklahoma 5
Oh, man. I got an erection just looking at it.
There are four SEC teams and three Big Ten teams in there, but only one guaranteed berth for non-AQs (sorry, Boise and Nevada) – will THAT keep the fat cats happy?
Well, that didn’t work. I’ll try again.
I guess that’s an improvement. You get the idea, at least. A&M at Auburn and LSU at Oklahoma in the first round would be epic. There are some others that would be pretty good as well.
Jim Delany has noticed your reaction to Legends and Leaders. Says league may reconsider in a year. http://es.pn/glmSez about 1 hour ago via TweetDeck
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looking at your post has made me rethink this based on certain items:
A) History – (** denotes current BCS bowl):
Era #1 : The pre World War II era
Rose Bowl** – 1923 (Pasadena): Pac 10 (start) vs Big 10 (post WWII)
Sugar Bowl** – 1935 (Atlanta) : SEC
Orange Bowl** – 1935 (Miami) : ACC / Big East
Sun Bowl – 1935 (El Paso) :
Cotton Bowl – 1937 (Dallas) : Big 12
Era #2 : The post World War II era
Gator Bowl – 1946 (Jacksonville) :
Citrus Bowl – 1947 (Orlando) :
Liberty Bowl – 1959 (Memphis) :
Peach Bowl – 1968 (Atlanta) :
Fiesta Bowl** – 1971 (Tempe) :
Independence Bowl – 1976 (Shreveport) :
Holiday Bowl – 1978 (San Diego) :
Era #3 : The ESPN era (current)
Outback – 1986 (Tampa)
Insight – 1989 (Tempe)
Champs – 1990 (Orlando)
Las Vegas – 1992 (Las Vegas)
Alamo – 1993 (San Antonio)
Little Ceasars – 1997 (Detroit)
Humanitarian – 1997 (Boise)
Music City – 1998 (Nashville)
GoDaddy – 1999 (Mobile)
New Orleans – 2001 (New Orleans)
Hunger – 2002 (San Francisco)
Hawaii – 2002 (Honolulu)
Meineke – 2002 (Charlotte)
Armed Forces – 2003 (Dallas)
Poinsettia – 2005 (San Diego)
Texas – 2006 (Houston)
Compass – 2006 (Birmingham)
New Mexico – 2006 (Albuquerque)
Military – 2008 (Washington)
Beef O Brady – 2008 (Tampa)
Pinstripe – 2010 (New York)
TicketCity – 2011 (Dallas)
I find it more than a coincidence that the majority of the modern bowls are in NFL cities! A possible solution if the NFL does not agree to stricter agent rules, is that the NCAA eliminates minor bowls in offending NFL cities. (just a thought)
B) Enforce the “intent” of student athletics by not adding travel burden to student athletes or student fans. This means both the cost of said travel in hard currency, and the soft cost of missed classes due to travel. I know this gets passed off, but it would be nice for the NCAA to actually take a stand here.
SOLUTION :::: Step #1: move the Sun Bowl to the same week as the CCG’s and have the best team in the Longhorn Conference play the best non AQ schools in a “clearing house” game. This levels the playing field between between CCG winners (who must play 13 games) and those who do not, so that all teams going forward have played 13 games.
a) this brings some luster back to an “original” bowl
b) as a Texas based bowl, it would help travel costs for schools/fans
c) everybody has played 13 games, so are are somewhat equal
d) happy advertisers (better a blowout here than after New Years)
At this point you have;
Big 10 CCG winner (13 games played)
SEC CCG winner (13 games played)
Pac 12 CCG winner (13 games played)
ACC CCG winner (13 games played)
BE CCG winner (13 games played)
Big 12 vs best non AQ team winner (13 games played, counting Sun)
SOLUTION Step :::: #2: The New Years games have MNC implications, and are limited to the Big 4 historic bowls (Rose, Sugar, Cotton, and Orange) with the following matchups:
Rose = Big 10 CCG winner vs Pac 12 CCG winner
Sugar = SEC CCG winner vs (open slot #1)
Orange = ACC CCG winner vs Big East CCG winner (expanded to 12)
Cotton = Sun Bowl winner vs Notre Dame / BYU / (open slot #2)
SOLUTION :::: Step #3: At this point you have a maximum of 4 teams with a shot at the MNC (and probably 2 real teams) so you play the MNC at a site convenient to both participating schools (if the participating schools were Notre Dame and Ohio State you play in Lucas, if the participating schools are Florida and U$C you play in JerryWorld, etc.). If all four are possible then you have a mini playoff in said year, with the winners meeting in a MNC game.
My guess is at least 80% of the time it will be only 2 teams, and you have only added 1 extra game for those 2 teams (which minimizes time off from school and travel expenses for students and athletes).
SOME ADDED THOUGHTS ON BOWL GAMES IN GENERAL:
a) In a 12 game regular season, you must win 75% of your games to qualify for a bowl game sanctioned by the NCAA. If you do not have at least an 8-4 record, you do not go bowling! I know there is money involved, but are 2 6-6 teams selling out the venues? Are we seriously rewarding non winning seasons? (the 6-6 teams)!
This year the bowls would have been limited to:
ACC – Florida State, Maryland, North Carolina State, and Virginia Tech
BE – West Virginia University and University of Connecticut
Big 12 – Nebraska, Missouri, Oklahoma, Oklahoma State, and TAMU
Big 10 – Mighigan State, Ohio State, and Wisconsin
CUSA – University of Central Florida, Southern Mississippi, and Tulsa
IND – Navy
MAC – Miami (OH), Ohio, Temple, Northern Illinois, and Toledo
MWC – Texas Christian, Utah, Air Force, San Diego State
Pac 10 – Oregon, Stanford (U$C is on probation)
SEC – South Carolina, Auburn, Arkansas, LSU, Alabama, Mississippi St
Sun Belt – NONE
WAC – Nevada, Boise State, Hawaii, Fresno State
(or roughly 24 bowls in the season, much easier on folks pocketbooks for marginal teams, and much more worthy of post season play).
b) All bowls must be played between Christmas and New Years (when hotel rates are generally cheapest). Bowls should take travel costs into account when scheduling distance. More decent seats should be available to fans (many schools complain about their allotment because more and more seats are winding up in professional scalpers hands [Ticketmaster, Stub Hub, etc] or big corporations). Sure it way not be as profitable, but it will ensure a viable fan base 20 – 40 years from now.
c) Bowls pick like the draft (you could even make a big special for TV) so there is a pecking order based on history and consumer support for each bowl. Age and actual people through the turnstiles should be rewarded.
Not like any of this will happen, but it is food for thought.
Comments or suggestions to improve this concept?
I was wondering if this would ‘cheapen’ the Rose Bowl, so I took a list at the potential match ups. I understood the Rose Bowl would be making more money (due to the multiple games), but I was curious if their brand would suffer due to dilution:
Actual Rose Bowl Teams
2010: Ohio State vs. Oregon
2009: USC vs. Penn State
2008: USC vs. Illinois
2007: USC vs. Michigan
2006: USC vs. Texas *
2005: Texas vs. Michigan
2004: USC vs. Michigan
2003: Oklahoma vs. Washington State
2002: Miami vs. Nebraska *
2001: Washington vs. Purdue
2000: Wisconsin vs. Stanford
Proposed Final Four System Rose Bowl Teams
2010: Oregon (7) vs. Ohio State (8)
2009: USC (5) vs. Penn State (8)
2008: USC (7) vs. Illinois (13)
2007: USC (5) vs. Wisconsin (7)
2006: Oregon (5) vs. Wisconsin (18) (I would take an at large here– Notre Dame and several SEC teams were on the table)
2005: Cal (5) vs. Iowa (12)
2004: Ohio State (5) vs. Wash. State (16) (I would take an at large here– Miami (FL) and KSU were available)
2003: Iowa (5) vs. Wash. State (6)
2002: Illinois (8) vs. Stanford (9)
2001: Oregon State (6) vs. ? (No Big 10 team ranked in the final 15, unless you count Nebraska)
2000: Wisconsin (7) vs. ? (No Pac 10 team ranked in the final 15)
It’s hard to keep track of who would get taken where, because of the Big East / ACC mix up and the Nebraska flip. Also– the Rose Bowl used to house the National Championship on a rotation (meaning a match up like Nebraska vs. Miami isn’t fair to compare to Frank’s system). Also, do we presume that the selection process goes forth with the idea that having a Big 10 or Pac 10 team in the Final Four doesn’t result in the Rose Bowl being ‘skipped’ or penalized in their selection order? There really isn’t a perfect way to go back and determine who would pick who.
Many of the Rose Bowl games remain unchanged (2010, 2009, 2008).
In 2007, they miss out on a higher ranked Michigan (3) team in favor of Wisconsin (7).
In 2006, they hosted the NC game.
In 2005, the Rose Bowl selected two outside bids rather than the top rated Big 10 and Pac 10 teams. Texas (4) would have been off the table, so my guess is they would have gone with Cal (5) vs. Michigan (13) (sorry Iowa (12)).
In 2004, USC (3) & Michigan (4) were off the table. The next auto Big 10 & Pac 10 teams were Ohio State (5) and Washington State (16). Assuming others take their auto bids, teams like Miami, FL (9) & KSU (10) were still on the table.
In 2003, an auto Big 10 vs. Pac 10 match up would have increased the Rose Bowl appeal. The actual game was Oklahoma (7) vs. Washington State (6). Iowa (5) was available.
In 2002, the Rose Bowl hosted the National Championship.
In 2001, Washington would have been off the table. The resulting match up probably would have been Oregon State (6) vs. Purdue (not in the top 15), rather than Washington vs. Purdue.
In 2000, there weren’t any Pac 10 teams in the final 15 BCS rankings. I’d presume they’d opt for the same Wisconsin vs. Stanford match up.
There isn’t too large of a difference in the quality of the Rose Bowl over time (especially recently). Really all we’re talking about is two slots (3&4) being off limits. Several years, those slots contained Pac 10 or Big 10 teams (as you’d expect), but the game itself didn’t suffer very much. If you allow the Rose Bowl to replace their auto-bids with other teams, this gap narrows even more. Again, there isn’t really a great way to compare the two systems over time, because the process and conference affiliations have changed.
Here’s a rule I’d like to tack on. A team is dq’d for playing more than one d2 school or not playing 1 aq team in the ooc schedule (nd, byu, and navy count as well).
Almost nobody plays D2 teams.
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road game index:
1.0 at LSU
0.99 at OSU
0.95 at PSU
0.9 at Iowa
0.85 SEC mean
0.8 at MSU
0.78 B10 mean
0.71 B12 mean
0.7 at Purdue, vs. LSU in sugar bowl
0.65 P10 mean, vs. Texas in Jerry bowl
0.6 vs. USC in rose bowl
0.55 ACC mean
0.5 at Illinois, vs. Fla in Gator Bowl
0.45 BE mean
0.4 at Indiana, vs. Fla in Outback Bowl
0.35 MWC/CUSA mean
0.3 at NIU
0.25 MAC mean
0.2 v. OSU/Nebraska/Alabama in any bowl game
0.1 at Buffalo, two random schools who don’t travel well in random bowl
0.0 neutral field in moscow, russia
Can somebody explain what the road index means?
Frank’s proposal IMO is a vast improvement on what we have now. Defining the 4 would not be easy though.
For a little more data on prior years & seeing how it would flow:
BCS rank-team-W-L-post bowl AP rank
1 Florida 12-1 (1)
2 OU 12-1 (5)
3 Texas 11-1 (4)
4 Alabama 12-1 (6)
5 USC 11-1 (3)
6 Utah 12-0 (2)
7 Texas Tech 11-1 (12)
8 Penn St. 11-1 (8)
9 Boise St. 12-0 (11)
10 Ohio St. 10-2 (9)
TCU was 7 in final poll
1 Ohio St. 11-1 (5)
2 LSU 11-2 (1)
3 Virginia Tech 11-2 (9)
4 Oklahoma 11-2 (8)
5 Georgia 10-2 (2)
6 Missouri 11-2 (4)
7 USC 10-2 (3)
8 Kansas 11-1 (7)
9 WVU 10-2 (6)
10 Hawaii 12-0 (19)
Texas was 10 in final poll
1 Ohio St. 12-0 (2)
2 Florida 12-1 (1)
3 Michigan 11-1 (8)
4 LSU 10-2 (3)
5 USC 10-2 (4)
6 Louisville 11-1 (6)
7 Wisconsin 11-1 (7)
8 Boise St. 12-0 (5)
9 Auburn 10-2 (9)
10 Oklahoma 11-2 (11)
WVU was 10 in final poll
1 USC 12-0 (2)
2 Texas 12-0 (1)
3 Penn St. 10-1 (3)
4 Ohio St. 9-2 (4)
5 Oregon 10-1 (12)
6 Notre Dame 9-2 (9)
7 Georgia 10-2 (10)
8 Miami FL 9-2 (17)
9 Auburn 9-2 (14)
10 Virginia Tech 10-2 (7)
WVU was 5, LSU 6, Alabama 8 in final poll
1 USC 11-0 (1)
2 Oklahoma 12-0 (3)
3 Auburn 12-0 (2)
4 Texas 10-1 (5)
5 Cal 10-1 (9)
6 Utah 11-0 (4)
7 Georgia 9-2 (7)
8 Virginia Tech 9-2 (10)
9 Louisville 10-1 (6)
10 Boise St. 11-0 (16)
Iowa was #8 in final poll
If you look at the 13 year history of the BCS, 1999, 2002 and 2005 were the only years where 1 and 2 were clear. 2006 was relatively clear since UM#3 had just lost to #1OSU. But the other 9 years there were more than 2 contenders. So the current system is working less than 1/3 of the time.
4 covers the contenders in 8 of the 13 years. But in 98 and 2000 there were a bunch of 1 loss teams behind the 1 unbeaten. In 2007 (an odd year with a 2 loss champ), 2008(Utah & USC left out) and 2009(Boise left out) 4 definitely wouldn’t cover all the contenders. So 4 covers 8/13 years (10/13 for those who think 1 unbeaten means noone else deserves a shot). Frank’s proposal significantly improves the system, but can still leave legitimate contenders out.
The BCS always works. It was designed to match up the #1 and #2 ranked teams every year, and it has always accomplished that.
The BCS was not designed to be the absolutely best way to determine a national champion. It was not designed to give everyone with a claim at being the best a shot at the title. It was not even designed to match the two best teams necessarily (but it tries to).
Playoff proponents and non-AQ fans need to stop projecting their wishes on the BCS as if it was supposed to accomplish them. It was designed to get #1 and #2 in the same game, instead of being in separate bowl games like they often were before.
Things that aren’t the BCS’s fault:
1. Biased polls – blame the voters
2. #3 being a good team, too – the BCS never said they weren’t
3. The rest of the world not thinking your team is as good as you think it is
Things the BCS could improve or help improve:
1. Oversight of polls
2. Selection of computer polls
3. Voter selection for polls
4. Voting methodology
BCS IS marketed as a national championship game. Coaches poll voters are forced to vote BCS game winner as #1. So they claim more than they deliver.
And it is #1 and #2 as they define it through computer polls limited in what they can consider. Its conceivable this year, Ohio St., had they gone unbeaten, could have been #1 in both polls (almost certainly since they started out higher than Oregon or Auburn) and left out because of a poor computer ranking.
I suspect such a result would get even the Big 10 re-thinking their support for the current system.
If OSU had been #1 in both polls (as well as the Harris), I guarantee they’d have been in the championship game because the human polls matter so much more than the computer numbers. Also, I’m not sure why you think an undefeated OSU would have worse computer numbers than Oregon. I’m virtually certain OSU would be ranked higher by the computers than Oregon if they hadn’t lost.
OSU had a weak strength of schedule this year. And while polls matter more, they only count 2/3.
I don’t see your point. They say they will match up #1 and #2 and they do, making it the BCS NC game. No other system will have any more of a claim to a NC game. Playoffs often don’t even match #1 and #2.
Blame the coaches poll for agreeing to vote the BCS champ #1 if you don’t like it, but that is also not the BCS’s fault.
Yes, it is possible for a team to be #1 in both human polls but miss the title game, even with the new formula. USC in 2003 didn’t seem to change the Pac-10’s mind, though.
Brian—Agree that BCS system has delivered, as far as the NC game is concerned…….I don’t get the +1 plans becuase you really have just as good a chance at screwing over whoever ends up #3. That’s why I like a bowls +2 formula (ie…4 teams after bowls)if a playoff is absolutely necessary…….In a bowls +2 formula, the #5 team is the only one that can bitch…and who cares what #5 thinks? Plus, a bowls +2 plan makes all of the bowl games relevant again, which is why I would prefer it over the current system….
I should have said that the bowls +2 plan makes all of the BCS bowls relevant again…not ALL bowls….
The fundamental problem with 4 is that in 15 years, someone will come along and say “The system is broken. Only a third of the time are the top 4 teams clear. In years x, y, and z the #5 team had just as good an argument”.
The point of the current BCS championship game is to avoid split champions, a situation which has only occurred once since it started, compared to several times per decade before it.
Of course, I never had a problem with split champions. Not sure why other people do.
The BCS is an improvement on what happened in the 80s and 90s, but with all the set bowl alignments, you really had better matchups in the 60s and 70s. Of course the 60s and 70s might have had teams invited in October (but then again BYU just got invited for the 2011 and 2012).
So explain what it is that you like about split champions.
I didn’t say I liked them. I said I didn’t understand the dislike. Presumably, you realize there’s a difference between liking something and not disliking something.
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I like the propsal, but I think every conference champ from the aq’s has to be in with a shot to win. None of this x team looks better shit. You win a big boy conference, you are in.
UConn, who lost to Temple and is 8-4, gets in? Virginia Tech’s a pretty good team as it turns out but still lost to James Madison. They get in?
I think it’s a lot more fair to just keep it the way it is. Auburn and Oregon are undefeated. They’ve proven their worth, and there’s something that just doesn’t seem right the only thing Auburn’s 13-0 earns over UConn’s 8-4 is a home game.
You know, the commissioners do have a point about the problem with diminishing the regular season. As the NCAA Tournament has gotten bigger and ratings for March Madness have grown, interest in basketball from November-February has almost bottomed out.
Besides, sometimes non-elite teams win big boy conferences, and not just the ACC and Big East. They shouldn’t get an automatic bid toward the national title; autobids to a BCS bowl are sufficient.
In my view, yes. I think it would improve the ooc. I hate to use the f word, but I think it is only fair.
Why not just have the 4 bcs bowls move back to jan 1 and feed into the final four round with home games at the top 2 after the bowls. Then play the champ game. Every major league gets a shot.
Seriosly, leaving them out is just wrong. Would MLB just look at the national league pennant winner and say, oh the yankees will crush them, let’s just skip the series.
The MWC proposal (taking out the autobid for the MWC) deals with the issue of weak champs from AQ conferences.
10 teams selected similar to now.
Top 8 are in a playoff, other 2 matched in a game not part of a playoff. Traditional ties kept as much as possible.
This year it would look something like:
#2 Oregon vs #5 Wisconsin
#7 OU vs. #4 Stanford
#1 Auburn vs. #6 Ohio St.
#3 TCU vs. #8 Arkansas
#13 Virginia Tech vs. U UConn
Not happening just because you think it’s more fair.
I don’t get why people still throw out playoff proposals for 8-16 teams when there’s a snowball’s chance in hell that we’d see that any time in the next few decades.
Things change. 15 years ago, I would have thought the SEC would be the biggest opponent to any sort of playoff and the ACC would be almost as unlikely as the Big 10. Now they are leading the charge on a seeded +1.
Presidents have made all sorts of changes based solely on $ (i.e. 12th game). The playoff $ are enormous. If they figure out the power issue (which doesn’t seem that difficult-but you could say the same thing about a lot of issues in Congress that never seem to get solved), I think its extremely likely we get an 8 to 16 team playoff in the next 20 years or so. The non-AQs like the idea and SEC and ACC at least like the 4 team idea. A number of Big 12 ADs have spoken in favor of a playoff. I can’t see the BE benefitting more from the current system. So if the Pac 10 gets convinced, something will happen. That may be a be “if”, but not necessarily a remote possibility.
Like most playoff proponents, you ignore the fact that the football powers make the vast bulk of their money now through the regular season. A 12th game doesn’t hurt the regular season. Given their conservative nature, what is the probability that the powers that be would do something that could potentially harm their cash cow? I’d say it’s rather close to zero.
Oh, and you thinking 15 years ago that the SEC would be the most against any sort of playoff just tells me that you’re poor at prognosticating the future; not much more.
If you have a sure several hundred million more, you take a good look at it. 16 team superconferences-That’s real conservative.
There seems this almost religious belief among some that because bb regular season isn’t what it used to be any playoff harms the regular season.
That basketball regular season was pretty important with a 25 team NCAA tourney.
Now, you not only have 68 teams with 8th and 9th place teams making the tourney, virtually every conference also has a conference tourney which does make the regular season meaningless except for tourney seeding. And yet every conference except the Ivy has instituted these tourneys. They view it partly as keeping interest alive in the regular season for teams in the bottom half, in addition to a revenue source.
If you have a 40 team fb playoff so that half the AQ teams make it, it approaches what bb has, except for no conference tourney. An 8 team tourney is very similar to the 25 team NCAA bb. A 16 team only includes 5-10 non-champs, depending on how you structure it. And a 10 team conference was large back in the days of a 25 team NCAA. 6 to 8 were more common. Now 12 is becoming common.
I don’t see how Frank’s proposal or an 8 team proposal could possibly hurt the regular season or make any regular season games less important. I can see the arguments on 16, but I don’t agree. Room for error/loss is very small. Its still far short of what bb has done.
Good point. Instead of making a fair system that makes tons of dough and no one can argue about, let’s make an unfair one that makes tons of dough and lets everyone complain. No other sport in the world I am aware of with a playoff says here are our leagues, but dome years the league champs can’t participate in a championship.
If uconn scheduled an away at A sec school and a neutral against a big ten, for example, and lost them both and then went undefeated in the beast, there is no way they should be “out” while some school with a crap ooc should be “in”, which is what would happen in a pick 4 situation more often than not.
A few comments:
1. I believe the semifinal locations can’t be tied in since they would have to be set several months in advance.
2. The power conferences dictate the terms, not the bowls. If the Big12 wanted to add the Cotton Bowl to the BCS lineup and the other conferences were OK with that, all the existing BCS bowls would say is “OK sir”.
3. If this is actually implemented, I think the Big Ten (maybe Big East as well) would demand the championship game rotate around the country (maybe with each conference choosing the setting for a title game, rotating around).
If I understand his plan correctly, the locations for the semi-finals would be set in advance. He would use the tie-ins to select which teams played where.
Is the #1 team’s tie-in bowl site available? If so, 1/4 is played there. If not, is the #2 team’s tie-in bowl site available? If so, 2/3 is played there. If not, is the #3 team’s tie-in bowl site available? If so, 2/3 is played there. If not, is the #4 team’s tie-in bowl site available? If so, 1/4 is played there. If none of the tie-ins help set the locations, maybe #1 gets to pick.
Frank, I’m very close to saying I wish they’d go this route and that’s a lot coming from me. The only thing that gives me pause is that I still don’t like the idea of 2 non-champs in the playoffs (Stanford lost to Oregon and should be eliminated). On the flip side though, putting 4 conference champs in almost always eliminates a Rose Bowl champion. In the end, this address most of the short comings of the BCS and still preserves the bowls and I wouldn’t be upset if they switched to this.
One other idea: What if we just played 5 BCS bowls and then had a 4 team playoff after that (with only the four existing bowls holding the rights to the championship)?
1. Won’t happen.
2. Almost no school (except for schools like LSU or USC that are located close to their bowl sites) wants neutral site quarterfinals (which is what the bowls would be), semifinals, and finals.
I think they should do something like this.
every division winner of an AQ conference goes to a bcs bowl game, that is it. No at large bids. there are 6. Have two at large bids for non AQ conferences as determined by the polls. The first 4 games are traditional bowls. Rose bowl always gets the pac10 and big ten winners, no matter what the ranking, same for the traditional line ups for the rest of the bowls. The two non AQ teams play in some crappy bowl, who cares. The winners advance to two more bowl games, they play. Then the final game gets rotated amongst the five big bowls.
This solves several problems.
no team that can’t win its own division deserves a shot at the title.
AQ teams get a legitimate shot at the title, but they get the tougher road which AQ teams want. They have to play each other, thus statistically making it harder for an AQ team to win it all.
Traditional tie ins are kept.
The AQ teams get a guaranteed bcs bowl game.
This is the best solution which factors in money and the keep the non AQ guys out, but give them a shot, scenario.
I can’t imagine there is a college football fan alive that thinks a team that doesn’t win its own division should be playing for a national title.
Texas 2008 is the perfect example against your comment. Texas was in a 3 way tie for the division title but lost out due to the BCS tiebreaker.
If its a clear 2nd, that’s a different point. In 2004 Texas and Cal were both 10-1 at #4 and #5, but both lost to unbeaten conference champs, #1USC and #2 OU.
Who gets the leagues’ bids is their problem. In this case, the b12 us to blame. The bcs just sets the system up. I think a bcs tiebreaker is dumb, you’re letting outsiders decide your business.
Looks like I can copy and paste:
1. Won’t happen.
2. Almost no school (except for schools like LSU or USC that are located close to their bowl sites) wants neutral site quarterfinals, semifinals, and finals.
No BigTen school would want to travel hundreds of miles away for all 3 rounds of an 8-team playoff.
3. Also, under your proposal, the route for the non-AQ schools would be among the easiest. Boise would only have to beat the CUSA champ or BYU or ND, which is easier than beating the SEC, BigTen, Big12, or Pac12 champ most years.
4. Finally, how happy would the Big12 be if it is annually matched up with, say, the SEC champ in the Sugar while the ACC is matched up with the BE champ in the Orange? Think Texas’s road to a national title would be a tad bit more difficult than, say, FSU’s? Think they’d be happy with such an arrangment?
It seams you could develop a 4 team play off useing the exitsting bowls: 2010 – Sugar Bowl Auburn vs. TCU & Oregon vs. Wisconsin. 2009 – Sugar Bowl – Alabama vs. TCU Fiesta Bowl Texas vs. Cincinnati 2008
Sugar Bowl Florida Vs Utah and Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs. USC 2007- Rose Bowl Ohio State vs. Oklahoma Sugar Bowl LSU vs. Virginia Tech 2006 Rose Bowl Ohio State vs. USC Sugar Bowl Florida vs. Louisville 2005 Rose Bowl USC vs Penn State Fiesta Bowl Texas vs. Notre Dame 2004 Rose Bowl USC vs. Utah Fiesta Bowl Oklahoma vs Auburn
This is based on AP Ranking prior to bowls and only conference champs or independents. The NC game would be played a week after the bowls.
I’m sorry, Frank, I dislike your BCS Final Four proposal. Yes, it is good to establish a proper semifinal for the NCG, but removing the best four teams from the BCS bowls makes those bowls second-rate, hardly better than the Capital One Bowl and other second tier bowls (except for the money, of course).
In my proposal I went in the other direction and made every BCS bowl relevant (with two serving as semifinals and two as quarter-finals). That would make the BCS bowls more important and more interesting. However, I now accept that my proposal is unrealistic because it reduces the number of teams in the BCS bowls from ten to six. Clearly the prospect of four teams deprived of BCS money would stop such a rearrangement of the BCS bowls.
In my opinion, the best we can realistically hope for is a semi-seeded Plus-One, with each AQ champ going to its traditional bowl (Big East champ to fifth BCS bowl) and the bowl with the highest ranked champ getting first choice of opponent (except for the Rose which always has the Big Ten and Pac12 champs). By matching the highest ranked champ with the first choice opponent, that bowl becomes a virtual semifinal and almost guarantees the winner a place in the NCG. It’s not as good as a real semifinal, but it’s the best we are going to get without undermining the traditional bowl tie-ins.
Such a semi-seeded Plus-One would preserve the priviledges of the AQ conferences, strengthen the traditional bowl relationships, restore the relevance of the BCS bowls, and enhance the credibility of the NCG.
@StevenD – I’m probably going to write another post on this with an idea that’s fairly similar to yours. I agree that there are ways to use the bowls and a plus-one to create at least one or two national championship “play-in” games (if not outright semifinals) while working around a locked-in Big Ten champ vs. Pac-10 champ Rose Bowl. Whether that’s a better solution than this BCS Final Four proposal is up for debate, but I’d be all for a traditional tie-in plus-one over the current system for sure.
Wouldn’t mind seeing the B10 and PAC-12 playing each year in the Rose Bowl as a semifinal game to the BCS championship game, especially if both conferences expanded to 16 teams with Texas and Oklahoma in the PAC and Notre Dame in the B10. You would have 32 teams, almost half the current AQ membership, vying for the Rose Bowl, prior to the Plus-1 championship game.
The biggest problem with the current BCS is the Non-AQ’s have easy schedules and no CCG. Next year, the B12 and BE won’t have a CCG. The top Non-AQ’s should be required to play each other, or the champs of the B12 and BE to eliminate a couple of the unbeaten or highly ranked teams. This would reduce the possibility of multiple unbeaten teams in the final BCS rankings. Texas and Oklahoma are going to have a “one game season” next year now that Nebraska is gone. That makes it way too easy to go unbeaten and qualify for a BCS game.
Wow, what a scintillating start to the bowl season. Must C TV. So glad more of this is all we have to look forward to.
I know this is off topic, but what’s going on at Notre Dame? More articles in the Chicago Tribune this weekend about the two students who died since the start of the school year. Sounds like the newspaper is hinting at unethical behavior or a possible cover up by the university. How serious of a problem is this for the school and it’s reputation? Is it just bad PR work by the university, or worse? I’m not an ND hater, but the stories don’t seem to want to go away.
@Pat – I’m not sure what’s going on at ND. Part of it is a rolling effect – one story invites scrutiny into other stories on-campus, and that starts snowballing to the point where it turns into the perception of a lack of institutional control. If you watched the latest 30 for 30 documentary called Pony Excess, this is effectively what happened at SMU in the 1980s – the competitive Dallas newspapers started snooping around and the more they looked, the more dirt they found.
Those stories are extremely disturbing. I’ll admit I’ve never been a fan of Notre Dame, the football team, but I have always admired Notre Dame, the university. It’s just an outstanding school, and I appreciate that, for the most part, it’s just as hard to get into the school for an athlete as it is for a non-athlete. But it is unacceptable that their police department responded so slowly. I understand the players cannot be named due to privacy laws, but they don’t have to be named in order for the police to take action. I feel awful for that family.
Michael, I agree with you. Notre Dame is an outstanding school that I have long admired and, I thought, held itself to a higher set of standards, including athletics. That’s why I’m so surprised to see these articles persist in the Tribune. They’re the type of stories I would expect to read about at an SEC school, not ND. I wonder if some heads will roll within the administration after their bowl game?
By the way, the player has been “outed” on the Internet if you want to dig for it. He’s a starter.
I’ve mentioned before that my favorite FBS program is Florida State. My parents, cousins, and aunt all graduated from there. Although I did go to a school closer to home, the family connection will probably always draw me towards the Noles. And since I have such an interest in Florida State, the only way I’ve known how to respond to the all too many issues, like that huge academic scandal in 2008, is to feel very disappointed. It doesn’t mean I don’t pull for FSU anymore, but more importantly, I’m not going defend players who cheat just because I’m an FSU fan.
It would be interesting to see how Notre Dame fans and alumni are responding to what should be seen as nothing less than a crisis. Should they turn their backs on the school they love? No, but they shouldn’t defend egregious actions by the university’s investigators, either. I hope they’re embarrassed, not defensive.
Wow. Most disturbing is the defensive nature of the administration (at least as portrayed in the article). The two attorneys who experienced it themselves make it sound like Notre Dame has traditions other than independence.
It’s Notre Dame…Does this really surprise anyone that follows this university, with or without bias, and watches how they do things?
Notre Dame, to me, at least, defines the word hypocrite. IMHO they have become the worst example of what collegiate athletics have become. More money for the powers that be and in order to get that money, they have to go above and beyond when it comes to protecting their investment. With Sullivan and then Lizzy, the Domer brand would have suffered more recruiting losses and bad press. I’m sure that poor girl suffered accusations and punishment from students and whoever else that “worships” at the altar of the Domers…
It’s sad, but Schembechler had it right: “To Hell with Notre Dame…”
I think this comment is over the top dude.
And Bo was a crass dickhead sometimes.
About Rule No. 2: Is the revenue split about the AQ teams getting further ahead of the non-AQ teams, or is it about the AQ teams making more money?
It seems to me like they would just want more money than they have now (to spend on coaches, travel, facilities, etc), but the way you describe the situation it seems like they’re concerned about staying ahead of the AQ teams.
For example, how would the AQ’s respond to a system where they all make $2 million more a year than the AQs do now, but the non-AQ’s make $3 million more than the non-AQs do now?
@joe – Judging by the actions of the AQ conferences, maintaining the gap is every bit as important as more money in and of itself. Part of the point of spending all of that money on coaches and facilities is keeping a leg up on the arms race to get ahead of other schools, and the to the extent that an entire segment of schools wouldn’t be able to realistically be able to participate in that arms race, it’s worth as much as the extra dollars themselves.
Now, it’s a balancing act – it’s probably more appropriate to say that there’s a tipping point for the AQ conferences in terms of how much extra money they’d be willing to take versus how much they want to maintain the revenue gap. In your example, if the AQ conferences make $2 million more and the non-AQs make $3 million, where the AQ/non-AQ revenue split goes from 90/10 to 85/15, that’s probably acceptable to the AQ conferences in exchange for that extra $2 million. If that revenue split goes toward 60/40 or 50/50, though, then that’s where the AQ schools would squash it. The AQ schools wouldn’t want to make an extra $2 million more if it means the non-AQ revenue goes up $10 million.
I think you hit a very significant point with your item #3. Keeping the gap seems to be very important.
Its interesting that the power conferences are most in favor of expanding the basketball tournament but most opposed to “bracket creep” in football. I was surprised to actually hear Delaney say something positive (or at least neutral) about a plus 1. But then he was very concerned about it becoming +2 or +3.
Many may not remember it, but there was a significant drive toward a playoff in the 90s. The Bowl Alliance was an attempt to cut it off. There was an NCAA committee holding hearings and studying it in 94. The SEC voted 12-0 opposing it and the committee was shortly thereafter, disbanded. Tony Barnhart, in an article quoted Mike Tranghese (BE commissioner), “The only way it gets started is if there’s more money. Is there more? Yes, but who gets it? How is it divided?”
The major conferences decided then that there would be no NCAA sponsored playoff. They needed to be the ones deciding the questions asked by Tranghese.
@ Frank – I agree with your analysis on how the larger conferences want to maintain their competitive advantages over the non-AQ conferences. With the 85-scholarship limit and expanded television coverage, we’re now seeing more non-AQ programs either challenging BCS program during the season and in the bowls more often and with better results. Add in additional resources to those schools and you now get perhaps a dozen Boise States that have the ability to compete on the larger stage rather than the one that now exists.
I realize that the Big Ten’s future expansion has been put on hold. You have been in the forefront discussing the relative strengths of the candidate schools using all sorts of metrics.
Do you feel that the conference commissioners look at prospective candidate schools’ football programs to see if they are likely to elevate themselves with the infusion of more money combined with acceptance into the conference. In other words, when the Pac 10 looked at Utah, for example, did the confrernce think it’s better to have them within the Pac 10 (or Pac 12) than outside of it in order to maintain the AQ/non-AQ competitive imbalance? I realize this isn’t the only realy why the Pac 10 invited Utah, but would that be a factor in their deliberations?
One discussion I’ve had with friends about conference expansion is that it might well be intertwined with any acceptance of a playoff in Division 1-A college football. If the major conferences take the next step in expansion and move up to sixteen teams, then the number of high end non-AQ programs is going to be decreased. Would having fewer competitors outside the direct influence of the power conferences actually make a playoff more acceptable to Delany, et. al.?
One thing this latest round of moves and expansion has shown is that the number of 12-team conferences with two divisions within Division 1-A has increased. Four of the six BCS confernces are configured this way with the two others having or looking to have ten teams (if Villanova or some other school joins the Big East with TCU). The MAC and C-USA also have at least twelve–that leaves the MWC (with ten), the WAC and the Sun Belt also outside that number.
Is there some trigger point in the competitive balance question/factor where a playoff becomes more likely? If the Big XII and Big East, for example, were both to go to twelve teams–does that make a playoff system more palatable to the major stakeholders in college football now that 72 teams are within their immediate universe? Or do you think the Big Ten and/or SEC and/or Pac 12 (which has already tried to get to sixteen and may try again) has to expand beyond their present numbers to get the ball rolling?
Okay, I’ve gone all-in for a SEMI-SEEDED PLUS-ONE. I think I’ve managed to address all the issues. Here goes:
A fifth BCS bowl is added (eg Cotton) on New Years Day. This will preserve the 10 BCS slots. This new bowl will not be in the NCG rotation, thereby maintaining the one-in-four rotation for the existing BCS bowls.
In early December, after the conference championship games, teams will be allocated to the BCS bowls in this order:
(1) The BigTen and the Pac12 champs play in the Rose Bowl. If both teams are ranked in the BCS top four, then the winner of the Rose Bowl automatically goes to the NCG.
(2) The highest ranked team (excluding Rose Bowl teams) plays the third ranked team in the new BCS bowl. If the third ranked team is unavailable, then the fourth ranked team plays in this bowl. If both the third and fourth ranked teams are already playing in the Rose Bowl, then the top two teams play in this bowl. The winner of this bowl automatically goes to the NCG.
(3) The remaining AQ champs go to their usual BCS bowls. The bowl with the highest ranked tie-in team gets the highest ranked at-large team. If both teams are ranked in the BCS top four, then the winner of this bowl automatically goes to the NCG.
At the conclusion of the BCS bowls, the winner of the new bowl will go to the NCG to play the winner of another bowl with two top-four teams or (if no other bowl has two top-four teams) the highest team in the new BCS ranking.
If the semi-seeded Plus-One were operating this year, Oregon (#2) would play Wisconsin (#5) in the Rose Bowl, Auburn (#1) would play TCU (#3) in the new BCS bowl, and Stanford (#4) would play Oklahoma (#7) in the Fiesta Bowl. The winner of Auburn/TCU would go to the NCG to play the highest ranked team (probably the winner of Oregon/Wisconsin).
If the semi-seeded Plus-One were operating last year, Oregon (#7) would have played Ohio State (#8) in the Rose, Alabama (#1) would have played Cincinnati (#3) in the new BCS bowl, and Texas (#2) would have played TCU (#4) in the Fiesta. The winner of Alabama/Cincinnati would have gone to the NCG to play the the winner of Texas/TCU.
Changing from the current system to a semi-seeded Plus-One should not be difficult. In fact only one significant change is needed. Instead of sending #1 vs #2 to the NCG, we send #1 vs #3 (or similar) to a new BCS bowl on New Years Day. That’s it. All the other BCS bowls occur at the usual times with the usual tie-ins, and the NCG occurs at the usual time in usual bowl.
As I understand it, the Cotton wants to be a BCS bowl. There may be others as well. It should not be difficult for the BCS to find a suitable bowl to host a New Years Day matchup between two top four teams. And it should not be difficult for the BCS to get this bowl to agree to not being in the NCG rotation (thereby maintaining the position of the exisiting BCS bowls).
So the conferences and BCS bowls keep what they have, a new location gets a BCS bowl, and we get a pathway to the NCG that runs through the BCS bowls.
I Know there are some Indiana fans on this board. I thought I would give you some information on your new co-DC Mike Eckler.
He is mostly known for his endless energy and for being a little bit of goof ball. I have no idea how he is on X’s and O’s but he is known as a good recruiter. Some notes:
– From Blair, Neb. Walked on at Kansas St. Special Teams standout. Once got his head stuck in a sign after head butting it to inspire his teammates before a game.
– Was a grad assistant at LSU before being added to Pelini’s staff at Nebraska. Three years of experience as a full time (paid) college coach.
– Once got a recruit’s last name tattooed across his back. Told the recruit that if he didn’t sign with Nebraska he would regret it for the rest of his life and he would regret the tattoo the rest of his. The player signed, the tattoo was actually a temporary one.
– Sometimes is in the wrong place at the right time.
Thanks for the info…..and pretty damn funny how the official got out of the way but he didn’t………
I like this guy and I really like getting Mark Hagen back from Purdue. Not as excited about Mallory—his D at NM was rated LAST in the country last year. We like the Mallory family a lot, but…….
Old time football in Minnesota.
Are people still saying college players should play in these places in mid-January?
It is kind of funny to hear the pros complain. Players literally got frostbite in the Ice Bowl in Green Bay (67 championship game-Packers/Cowboys). They had only had 40 man rosters back then, so there wasn’t as much substitution. I remember a game from around 77 in Cincinnati, a critical game next to last one of the season, vs. the Steelers. The field was literally ice. It was a low scoring 17-7 game since noone could do much. I imagine Minnesota’s turf, probably field turf, is in vastly better shape than either of those fields were. The technology of playing fields is vastly improved.
i played outside in MI last sat. “touch”, but pretty rough. when the ball hits you, holy crap!
i say, play it.
If you have a dry period in the south the ground gets pretty hard also.
Actually football as a kid was never more fun than when playing in the snow.
My problem with playing that game on an unheated, rock-hard field is the hypocrisy of the NFL.
The commissioner has given a lot of lip service about player safety being the number-one concern, reducing concussions, cracking down on illegal hits, yadda, yadda, yadda.
But, oh… it’s no problem to play a game where the surface is so hard you can dribble a basketball on it. And just think how much of a ratings draw the game could be: “First outdoor game in Minnnesota for the Vikings in 29 years, to the day!” “It’s Minnesota’s Frozen Tundra on ESPN’s Monday Night Football!” But player safety is the number one concern. Riiiiiiiiiiiiight.
Vegas ought to have an over/under on concussions for this game.
LOL, what hysteria. I take it you are too young to remember what things were like 30+ years ago. No heating coils, far less insistence on perfection, innate common sense understanding of cost/benefit, a real work ethic, and matter of fact dealing with difficulties as they came along. You’d be amazed at what we somehow ‘survived’ with pretty much just a shrug of the shoulder.
Anyway, here’s what I remember most about outdoor pro football in Minnesota (especially starting at 5:00):
Am enjoying this game, especially the frozen field and the fans tossing snow in the air whenever something good happens.
I’m 34 and can attest that my generation has an extremely high percentage of total vaginas.
If only, JJ, if only.
I was a lineman in the days of mud and cold, and I had more fun. Go back and listen to Art Donovan speak, and it is the world of soft these days.
You probably remember back when college running backs never ran out of bounds unless forced to. Now they’ll run out of bounds a half yard short of 1st down on a 3rd down play to avoid contact. Pros didn’t run out every play. Of course, there were still some 200 lb linemen back then instead of all being 280+. Earl Campbell with the Oilers & Saints was probably the last of his kind, running over defenders instead of away from them.
@bullet – When I was a kid, I owned an “NFL Films Greatest Hits” video that featured mostly bone-crushing defensive maulings (all of which would likely be penalized today), but also had an entire segment devoted to Walter Payton featuring him running over and smashing through defenders. I distinctly remember him saying, “I wanted to punish them for trying to tackle me.” The only one that runs like that anymore is Adrian Peterson. Regardless, it reminds me of one of my top 5 YouTube clips ever – it was probably created within the first month of YouTube’s existence, yet this Walter Payton montage still never fails to make it a little dusty where I’m sitting. RIP GOAT.
I’m somewhat surprised that there aren’t any heating coils under the TCF field, but not shocked since the University of Minnesota doesn’t reasonably expect to have to use the field after Thanksgiving weekend. However, I’m mortified that the facility overall wasn’t built to be used in weather under 30 degrees (i.e. no heating in the concession areas). It’s definitely not unusual for it to get that cold there in November.
Regardless, if anything bad happens, this is completely on the Vikings (with the NFL being an accessory). They were absolutely hell-bent on playing this game in Minnesota so they wouldn’t have to cancel a long-planned reunion weekend for its top players in history for the 50th anniversary of the franchise (somewhat understandable) or move it to Indianapolis or Detroit where tons of Bears fans would’ve made the trip (complete sour grapes). The Vikings were so worried about the latter that they had preferred going to Atlanta to use the Georgia Dome (to make it mutually inconvenient for everyone) than move the game to Indy or Detroit if TCF wouldn’t work.
The whole thing is an unacceptable fiasco. Why isn’t the Metrodome spec’d to handle the snowfall they got? It’s not like it was snowfall the likes of which the Twin Cities had never seen before. Heavy snow, certainly, but not outside the range of foreseeable circumstances. A domed stadium in Minneapolis needs to be able to withstand 17″ of snow.
Similarly, like you say, it’s crazy that UM just built a brand new stadium and it lacks basics. Frankly, I find it disappointing that they don’t have the heating coil system under the field, since even if they didn’t reasonably expect to use it after Thanksgiving — it’s Minneapolis, they could reasonably get decent snow and cold in November (they had to clear out a ton of snow when they got pounded the weekend of the Minnesota-Illinois game — when Minnesota was hosting a Women’s Soccer “pod”). But even setting that aside, like you say, it’s crazy that the concession areas aren’t heated.
MSU and UM don’t have any hear in the concourses or stadium other than suites. Toughen up!
It isn’t my sense that the November weather in Michigan is as harsh as is fairly normal in the Twin Cities.
You’re right. The Great Lakes have a significant moderating effect on the weather for MI while MN gets the arctic wind straight from Canada. Just looking at 11/25’s data, the average high is about 7 degrees lower for Minneapolis than Lansing (and 10 degrees colder than Detroit).
The snow storm that collapsed the Metrodome was the largest single day snow since the early nineties. It was also bitterly cold (negative 20 wind chill). The snow itself wasn’t fluffy or wet (which means it wouldn’t slip off the teflon roof), it was like ice shavings. These types of conditions aren’t typical for the twin cities. I’m happy to pay for repairs on something that happens every 30-40 years, vs. shelling out for a brand new stadium or roofing structure.
As for TCF– it took a lot of fundraising to get the $288mm to build the thing. Luxury features like heating coils and heated concession stands weren’t considered. It’s just a tug of war between Capital dollars to build the thing and Operations and Maintenance dollars to run the operations (in case of snows, etc.).
My guess is this: the Vikings aren’t going to get a new stadium. The Metrodome will be repaired and viable for another 5-10 years. At that time, the Minnesota public will have a choice to make– cough up the coin for a billion dollar retractable roof stadium, or mod TCF to a tune of $300mm. My guess is the Vikes may get their new stadium at that point.
No one says college players should play outside in January, but if there is a 4-team playoff, the championship game should rotate around; no reason why Detroit or Indianapolis (or Minny) shouldn’t host a national championship game.
Plus, I don’t think an 8-team playoff will happen, but if it does, it’s much more likely that the first round would be played on home fields after championship week (and I don’t see the Cadets and Middies complaining about playing football in Philly in early mid-December). The presidents really don’t want to stretch the football season in to the next term because not only do the football players have to miss classes (and football teams are huge compared to any other sport), but also the band, cheerleaders, team managers, and other students associated with the program.
If there is a round (for 8 or definitely for 16 team playoffs) in December, it should be regional. Whether on home fields or regional bowls (Big 10 in Pizza Bowl in Detroit), the seeded teams should be at least close to home, so you aren’t asking all the fans to do so much travel a week after the conference championship games.
Doing it in January is a different question. Obviously, Minnesota winterizes and shuts down their stadium in December.
I don’t really have a problem with a domed (other than Minnesota!) northern championship game site, but, at least at first, Frank is probably right that politically, the big bowls (whoever they happen to be) have to get the rotation.
Normally David Jones of the Patriot-News doesn’t put together such a great read, but this article:
suggests not only scrapping the division names but the alignment as well, suggested alignment is:
The Great Lakes: Penn State, Michigan, Michigan State, Northwestern, Wisconsin, Minnesota
The Great Plains: Ohio State, Indiana, Purdue, Illinois, Iowa, Nebraska
With the following crossovers: PSU-NEB, OSU-MICH, MSU-IND, NW-ILL, WIS-IOWA, and MINN-PUR,
the Big Ten Division Creator:
Gives this a 94, or an A+ rating.
Not bad, and other than PSU-OSU not being a yearly rivalry it seems not a bad setup.
That is 100% on the money if OSU/UM have to be split up. (Though, I’d still move the game up a few weeks; or peg it to labor day; make it a holiday event.) Someone write Big Jim.
This is ass backwards in my opinion–you don’t align the teams based on what would give good division names (which is what this would appear to do). The present alignment of divisions breaks down the teams by winning percentage EXACTLY over the last 17 years as I discussed here:
I think some folks get a little too worked up about the balance issue. The teams fortunes do and will change over the years. The biggest problemt in dividing them is the OSU/UM split. They really need to be together. If the B10 is seriously going to re-boot, they ought to check this out.
whatever, just fill it in somehow, you get the idear.
Tell me why they absolutely have to be together? And when you are splitting up programs with 800 wins, while programs will have ups and downs here and there, you get a pretty good idea which programs are going to be pretty consistently championship relevant. I just can’t see how any of the other factors, especially geography, really matters all that much.
Geography is permanent; it never takes so much as a single season off. Absolutely no deviation on a year-to-year basis.
Adam, I get that, but why does being permanent in and of itself justify the decision? If that is the only criteria, why not sort the teams by alphabetical order, as that is permanent too? I honestly think it just appeals to the average fans sense of universal order (now we can call one the east, one the west), but I can’t think of one practical concrete reason to sort teams by geography. TCU provides an excellent example of why geography doesn’t matter–their AD sees no problem with flying a non-revenue generating girls volleyball team to Boston College. It would be a huge mistake to trade parity for the arbitrary “geography” guideline, increasing the risk of a bogus CCG just because geography is permanent (which by the way, might not be if the conference further expands).
@ mike z
If they move OSU um to 1st b10 game and did OSU/psu, um/msu and all other divisional matchups for the last week, it would be great as divided now.
I think the rematch potential is my main beef. Set it so there is no chance of that with any teams and the most likely to create 2 or more division-deciding games.
I wrote a nice, well-reasoned reply, but it’s as though it were lost or something.
Not wanting to retype everything I wrote the first time, permanence matters because you don’t want to have to reshuffle the divisions all the time, but a “balance”-based alignment cannot live up to being accurate every year. A geography-based alignment can. An alphabetical alignment could, too, but unlike alphabetical, place actually matters. There’s a reason that Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have each other as their major rivals, and it isn’t because they are historically strong programs that were standing in each other’s way to the championship.
I can come up with at least seven different splits by geography just using a single line to split the teams
(E/W, SE/NW, NNW/SSE, N/S, NNE/SSW, NE/SW, ENE/WSW). Does that make them all good? However would we choose between them?
Who (but you) is talking about shuffling divisions all the time to chase balance? Barring further expansion or contraction, they’re set.
I like how you magically get to decide what matters and what doesn’t. Any other decrees from on high while you’re at it?
There’s no magic formula for how you’d choose a geographic alignment; you’d look at the teams in each group, debate which ones form the most cohesive cultural units or are otherwise meaningful communities of schools/teams. Some would probably seem more strained than others (e.g., if fine calculations are needed to see who falls on one side or the other of an elaborate diagonal), so you just debate what produces a natural outcome.
I recognize nobody is talking about reshuffling the divisions annually — as a result, there is always going to be a disconnect between the ideal that the league seeks (“balance”) and what the alignment actually produces. That is kind of my point:
(a) balance is unachievable — you’ll never know in advance which teams will be good in a year
(b) to the extent that you can come close to achieving “balance,” you’d need to shuffle the divisions regularly to account for changing relative competitiveness levels
(c) of course, nobody is willing to do this, so the league wants “permanent” divisions based on an intrinsically non-permanent concept.
The permanent and unchanging divisions should be based on permanent and unchanging characteristics of the league members.
Adam, you write: “ere’s a reason that Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin have each other as their major rivals, and it isn’t because they are historically strong programs that were standing in each other’s way to the championship.” Sounds to me like you are talking historical rivals and not really geography (I realize some overlap, but I still haven’t heard one convincing argument for dividing the teams up based on “where they are on a map”). Still not seeing it.
I am not wedded to geography — it is just one way of dividing up the league. What I am wedded to is having the alignment based on permanent characteristics of the member schools, not something as transient as “balance.” Geography is one such permanent characteristic. Rivalries are another.
I think the whole problem is the IA and WI fans took it as an opportunity to claim they belong with the big four and everyone else slapped them down because they don’t. Most people recognized it as code for we will split the big four and the next two for TV purposes.
Perfect balance is an unobtainable goal, but trying to balance the divisions makes sense to me. Each division needs two of the big four, one of the next two, one of the middle three and one of the bottom three. That just leaves the other middle team and other cellar dweller to split.
Playing with the numbers beyond that is fun for us, but not overly useful. Preserving rivalries and geography kick in at this point.
The problem with splitting OSU and MI is having the potential for a rematch the following week. The fans wouldn’t let The Game move earlier, so maybe they should share a division instead. I think TV concerns (read: $$$) trumped that thinking, though.
I still think they are waiting for the first rematch to see how people react. I think they want to move The Game earlier but that got the same response as Legends and Leaders.
For me, it was more important that they be allowed to play for the conference title should MI return to power. To me, it completely devalues “the game” to have them square off against each other to only then have winner go play a 3 loss team for the title. I would have moved the game to earlier in the season, ala OU-Texas and made an event of it, with OSU ending with Penn State and Michigan ending with Michigan State. If I had to chose, I’d rather have back to back than a trumped up CCG.
I think a lot of people were torn. Some wanted them to play for the division title, others for the conference. Some wanted The Game to stay at the end of the year, some (mostly not MI or OSU fans) wanted to move it earlier in the year to avoid the back to back.
I wanted it all. I wanted them to play for the division, so The Game can crush the other’s hopes, but also play for the conference since those are the top stakes. I wanted the tradition of playing the last game, but I didn’t want a rematch back to back.
Upon reflection, that told me they should be in separate divisions and play at the end of the year.
Being in separate divisions means they can play for the ultimate stakes sometimes. Being the last game means there is a good chance a loss would still cost a team their division, so the stakes are high. It also keeps the tradition of the season ending game.
Back of the envelope math told me they should rematch only about once every nine years. That’s rare enough to be special
I assumed the big 4 were equal, as were the next 2
Based on history, the big 4 each have about 1/3 chance each of winning their division. The next 2 are about half as likely (1/6 each). The remainder will also win about 1/6 total.
1/3 x 1/3 = 1/9 for OSU vs MI
If numbers change based on divisional play, I don’t expect it to get any worse than:
2/5 x 2/5 ~ 1/6 for OSU vs MI
Once every six years still isn’t too bad.
“The Game” was devalued as soon as the league went to 12 members. “The Game” will never again be with the Rose Bowl on the line; at best, the Rose Bowl will be on the line in a game which the two happen to end up playing in as a rematch, but “The Game” will always be the regularly-scheduled contest played in one or the other’s home stadium. Worrying about letting the winner go play a 3-loss team is a pointless distraction.
Yes, I saw that today, too. I have a bigger problem with his objections to the current divisions than I do with his plan. He says it makes no sense and fragments the league, but only WI is out of place. That isn’t that difficult and it hardly make for fragments.
Everyone else called this the North/South split back in the day, despite some inaccuracies in the geography. It’s not a bad plan, but the regional feel doesn’t work quite as perfectly as he says. Ohio has a longer shoreline than Pennsylvania, OSU is closer to Lake Erie than PSU is and OSU has more ties to Lake Erie than PSU does, too.
I would think PSU would object to losing the OSU game since that is the only neighboring school, and OSU would fight for that game, too. I think that was one of the initial conditions for the division split. OSU/MI and OSU/PSU had to be maintained, and you can’t do that when you pair OSU and NE. Unfortunately, I think losing OSU/PSU would make it a non-starter for the powers that be. His split makes sense, otherwise, and I wouldn’t have a big complaint about it. Losing Floyd of Rosedale (IA/MN) is also tough to swallow. I think that would be kept, forcing WIS/PU instead.
Back when I ran the numbers, this split actually came out as the 6th best choice for competitive balance among all 462 choices and did pretty well at conserving rivalries (X/O was #95, E/W was #106).
In case anybody cares, the most balanced in my calculations was:
OSU/NE/IA/PU/MN/IN vs MI/PSU/WI/MSU/NW/IL
Most likely crossovers:
OSU/MI, NE/PSU, IN/IL, MN/WI, IA/MSU, PU/NW
(IA/WI, PU/MSU and MN/NW would be more balanced)
@84Lion – That’s not a bad alignment at all, but I think he’s giving short shrift to the PSU-OSU game. After the Michigan-OSU game, keeping the PSU-OSU game was the next priority for the conference. In fact, we can reverse engineer the Big Ten’s thinking process here:
Step 1: Michigan and Ohio State had to be in separate divisions. Whether we think it was right or wrong, this seemed to be the top level decision of the Big Ten presidents and everything else fell into place. I understand it from the perspective that everyone else in the conference insisted on an annual game with one of these two schools.
Step 2: Ohio State-Penn State game had to be preserved, meaning that OSU and PSU had to be in the same division (“Division A”)
Step 3: 2 “kings” had to be in each division, meaning that Nebraska had to be in the same division as Michigan (“Division B”) and then the MI-OSU and PSU-NEB would be protected rivalries.
Step 4: Michigan-Michigan State game had to be preserved, meaning that MSU had to go to Division B
Step 5: Each division needed an Illinois-based school for Chicago market purposes. There probably wasn’t entirely strong feeling one way or the other, but it appeared that the Michigan schools preferred Northwestern (Division B) and Illinois has a trophy game with OSU (Division A), making those placements logical. Northwestern and Illinois would be protected rivals.
Step 6: The most obvious natural rival for Nebraska was Iowa, so the Hawkeyes went to Division B
Step 7: With only 1 spot left in Division B, Indiana and Purdue got slotted into Division A as a pair (as there wasn’t a real market need to split them like Illinois and Northwestern)
Step 8: The only real tough decision was where to put Minnesota and Wisconsin because one of them was going to get screwed, and even then it probably wasn’t that tough. Minnesota fit better geographically with the western members of Nebraska and Iowa in Division B, while putting Wisconsin into Division A provided better historical competitive balance between the divisions. (Once again, whether it was right or wrong, competitive balance was a huge factor.) Those two schools would then be protected rivals.
Step 9: The Iowa-Purdue and MSU-Indiana protected rivalries don’t have any real substantive meaning, but it’s not as if though switching them around would make it any different. I seriously believe that the Big Ten went on Google Maps and found that Iowa to Purdue (325 miles) and Indiana to Michigan State (310 miles) are both about the same 5 1/2 hour drives from each other, while Iowa to Indiana (389 miles) and Purdue to Michigan State (276 miles) had much greater disparities distance-wise. As a result, the Big Ten made the equidistant choices of IA/PUR and IU/MSU.
I wasn’t a big fan of the current divisional alignment at first, but I’ve warmed up to it where I now believe it’s going to work well. However, I’m never going to warm up to the division names if the conference for some ungodly reason chooses to keep them.
Frank, I think your analysis is almost exactly what they were thinking. When I predicted this exact division alignment, much of what you suggested went into my thinking (except I don’t think anyone really cares about a few twenty-five miles for the relative few fans that actually drive back and forth as compared to TV audience, but that’s a minor point). I put Wisconsin in OSU’s division because I think a real rivalry could develop there–and this year’s game helps establish that (that was my reason for where I put Wisconsin and Minnesota). I agree with you on the names but can honestly say that what they call the divisions is about as important as what they call the trophies–can’t imagine I would hardly ever utter the real names. We win the conference I’ll say “OSU is conference champs” or “we won our division,” just like I don’t call the Fiesta bowl the Tostitos Fiesta Bowl. Pretty meaningless IMHO.
Frank, I agree with most of your logic but not the order.
1. Split OSU and MI
2. OSU with PSU
3. MI with NE
4. IA with NE
5. WI with OSU
6. MSU with MI
7. MN with IA and NE
8. IN and PU with OSU
9. IL with OSU and NW with MI
I really don’t think Chicago access meant much to the process. IN and PU needed to be together more than NW and IL. Balance and rivalries put IL with OSU while preference put NW in the west.
As for the locked games, MSU/IN have been playing for the Old Brass Spittoon since 1950. That left two unpaired teams, so they got put together.
I think this is right and it has grown on me as well. Just don’t like the rematches.
I’d like to hear your thoughts on a re-org of the NHL. Many folks in these parts hate the current setup and want out of it. I think a 2 tier system splitting the original 6 equally is the way to go. Ideally, the’d move the leafs over with the wings and hawks, I think.
The problem with speculating on NHL realignment is that I think a lot of people anticipate substantial fluidity in the franchise locations. Phoenix looks like it might have more time left in the desert, but Atlanta and the Florida Panthers are in trouble, Nashville is uninspiring, the Islanders are the subject of persistent rumors/speculation, and the Dallas Stars (long held out as an example of a southern success story) are totally taking it on the chin attendance-wise, which is surprising given that they have a good team. Hard to propose something for the NHL when you have no idea what the cards will look like. For starters, I think I’d put Atlanta into the Western Conference/Central Division and slide Columbus into the Eastern Conference; I question whether Atlanta will last much longer and may be the team they send to Calgary, while I have heard that the league office is relatively high on Columbus’ potential if they had more games against Pittsburgh I don’t know what you’d do to make room in the Atlantic Division though; seems weird to have Philadelphia playing in a Southeast Division with teams in Florida.
Yeah, it’s a teetering league in some ways. I think they really tried to help the newer franchises with the current geography based divisions, but the MLB-like scheduling isn’t working. They really need to lose about 4 teams or move them north.
I agree that there ought to be some movement of NHL, although I find it despicable that the league is so hell-bent on keeping a team in Phoenix where not even Wayne Gretzky himself could drum up interest, yet let cities that actually care about hockey such as Hartford and Quebec City lose their clubs with no discussion of a possible return.
Assuming that there isn’t any movement, I’d actually move Pittsburgh to the West/Central Division, Nashville to the East/Southeast Division and Washington to the Atlantic Division. This would be consistent with divisional alignments with other sports.
I balk a bit at putting Pittsburgh in the West/Central. It feels contrived to me, like the NHL is trying to leverage Sidney Crosby vs. the Red Wings 6 times a year.
I don’t think it’d be possible to realign the league until you get some franchise relocation, though. For example, if a team moves to Winnipeg, will they be able to keep all 4 of the western Canadian teams in the same Division? Currently, the 3 eastern and 3 western Canadian teams are linked in the scheduling matrix as each others’ 3 teams from the other conference you play twice (instead of once), but having 7 Canadian teams will detract from the symmetry of that. Could having 4 teams in western Canada justify Calgary and Edmonton in separate divisions (i.e., is a 4-game “Battle of Alberta” regular season series sufficient)?
@Adam – I must say, I’m fairly surprised that you think that putting Pittsburgh in the Central would be contrived considering how strongly you believe natural geography needs to be the basis for the Big Ten divisions. To the contrary, I think that keeping the Penguins in the same division with the Rangers and Flyers (and then shunting Nashville off to the Central) was much more contrived. Pittsburgh being in the same division as Columbus, Detroit and Chicago is pretty geographically logical, whereas it feels completely gerrymandered that Nashville wouldn’t be in a Southeast Division that has Atlanta, Carolina, Tampa Bay and Florida (while sticking Washington in there with the Southern teams instead of with New York and Philly). Keeping Pittsburgh in the East meant that Nashville and Washington were placed into divisions where they don’t fit.
Interesting point on the Canadian balance. Frankly, I’d want both Winnipeg and Quebec City to get teams again (meaning there would be 4 Canadian teams in the West and 4 in the East), but the NHL, for some reason, has some type of bias against markets that actually care about hockey. The founder of Research in Motion seems to have plans ready to go to put a team in Hamilton almost immediately – he’s willing to pay so much above market value for any franchise contingent upon moving it there that I would think the NHL would capitulate at some point if they’re acting logically. Of course, logic and the NHL leadership don’t really go hand-in-hand. (If you can’t tell, I REALLY don’t think much of Gary Bettman.)
On a side note, Milwaukee not having an NHL team has continuously perplexed me. That’s a market that I believe would follow hockey very well. If Wisconsin can sell 14,000 or so tickets per game for college hockey, you have to believe that there’s some pent-up demand for the pro sport version in the state overall.
Frank, I didn’t read your whole response, but I think it mostly has to do with Detroit and Pittsburgh never having been in a division together (to my knowledge) to this point. Doing it at this particular juncture, with the two teams having just played in the Cup Finals in consecutive years and the league very interested in pumping up Crosby Crosby Crosby, is what induces my balk more than an objection to the geographic connection itself.
I wanted to dash off that response re: Pittsburgh/geography before I forgot, and then I read the rest of your post.
I agree that Milwaukee could be a promising market, but I tired of trying to guesstimate where leagues should place their franchises a long time ago. For the most part I just take team locations as a given. The NHL is a special circumstance because there is so much uncertainty, but beyond the general sense I have that Winnipeg is next on the list, I’m content to let things play out as TPTB decide.
I’d note that even if you had 8 Canadian teams split 4/4, there would still be something of a balancing issue. The current scheduling matrix is:
6 games times 4 division opponents=24 games
4 games against 10 intra-conference opponents=40 games (64 total)
1 game against 15 inter-conference opponents=15 games (79 total)
1 extra game against 3 select inter-conference opponents (3 games, 82 total)
Currently, the 6 Canadian teams are each others’ selected twice-a-year opponents under that last item. Even if you split 8 hypothetical Canadian teams 4/4, I don’t know how you fit them into that. I’m left wondering whether that would potentially allow you to split up Calgary and Edmonton (e.g., Winnipeg and Edmonton, say, in one Division, and Calgary with Vancouver in another). It seems sacreligious to me to do anything that would detract from the Battle of Alberta, but something may have to give if you add a 4th Canadian team (which I think most people would consider a net positive).
I am personally a bit skeptical that there will ever be a team in Hamilton. Even if we assume that Toronto is so so so popular that even a team in Hamilton would not impact Toronto’s finances, I think it would be potentially lethal to the Buffalo Sabres. I just have this sense that the league will resist letting a team go to Hamilton, and would rather push any teams coming to Canada to either Winnipeg or Quebec.
I think most Wings’ fans want in the East because they can’t watch west coast games and travel is a concern. I think the conferences need to be nation(s)-wide and then split geographically. The Wings are the only eastern time zone team (I think) in the West. Columbus too, maybe?
In horsing around with franchise relocations, I speculated that the trio of Atlanta, Florida, and Nashville would relocate to Winnipeg, Quebec, and Kansas City (which has a new arena and wants a major league primary tenant). It produces some opportunities but causes difficulties elsewhere, too long to walk through here, especially for something as off-topic as this.
Columbus and Detroit are the 2 Eastern Time Zone teams in the Western Conference. In a sense, the current alignment is geographic, since there are at least 15 NHL teams east of Detroit.
Speaking only somewhat in jest, one way to ameliorate some of those concerns for Wings fans would be to go on Central Time. The Census results make it clear that the nation’s population continues to move south and west, so there could be economic benefits to Michigan for getting on the same time as the population is drifting toward (and the more immediate potential benefit of sharing another working hour with the regional metropolitan hub in Chicago). Michigan is only an extremely marginal candidate for being in the Eastern Time Zone anyway; USNO says that sunrise in Grand Rapids yesterday was at an absurd 8:11 a.m. (and by contrast, 6 months earlier sunset was at an insane 9:25 p.m.).
Frank, actually I am happy with the current divisional split (as long as PSU-NEB is a crossover, for personal reasons). Like you, I think the division names are dorky, but those can be changed.
You need to understand that many folks consider Penn State “down” despite winning (co-champions – grr) 2 Big Ten titles in the past 5 years. Much of that is a holdover from the early 2000s (what Penn Staters refer to as the “dark years”). Right now I think PSU is much like Iowa in the last years of Hayden Fry. I think what Jones was driving at was that PSU and Michigan, currently being “down” in many folks’ eyes, would be a better “competitive fit.” At least it would give PSU a fighting chance to make it to the championship game. Of course, that’s not what the Big Ten is trying to achieve, and so I thoroughly agree with your points and in fact really when you view those facts objectively the Big Ten chose about the only divisional split they could. What really grabbed my attention about the Jones proposal was the high score from the Big Ten Division Creator.
Personally I think it will be very interesting in the Big Ten the next few years, although probably not so much from a PSU fan perspective as I think PSU will struggle playing Ohio State, Nebraska, and Wisconsin, not to mention Iowa and Illinois. Penn State has the potential to become the Big Ten’s “whipping boy” over the next few years. The thing is that OSU’s Tressel will be losing at least one of his assistants, and Wisconsin appears to be on the rise. I believe there will be a lot of “red” in the Big Ten CCG the next few years, between Nebraska, OSU, and Wisconsin, but I think there will also be a lot of parity, and the Big Ten CCG might have some surprise teams in there too.
Frank, your post about the step-by-step process of Big Ten divisional alignment was interesting.
Having looked at the Big Ten’s process for dividing the divisions, my hope is to show that the way the league divided actually makes some sense, even if it’s not quite as obvious as it would initially appear.
Step 1: Split the Florida schools. Honestly, the reason for splitting was much more than the hope for the off-chance of an FSU-Miami conference championship game. Recruiting was a big factor. With the Fla. schools split, every ACC school will play in Florida at least every other year. Splitting straight-up geographically would have put the northern schools at a disadvantage. An ACC South would have had SC, Georgia, and, most critically, Florida all to itself, while the North would play in those states more sparingly.
Another factor in splitting the Florida schools was attendance. Every ACC school wanted to host Miami or FSU on a regular basis because those games were the premier programs. Schools with more fickle attendance like BC, Wake, UVA, or Duke needed to count on hosting one or the other, similar to a school like Northwestern insisting one of OSU and Michigan be in its division.
Step 2: Place VT in Miami’s division, not FSU’s. This allowed continuity for the rivalry that had determined the majority of the Big East’s championships.
Step 3: Maintain as many rivalries as possible. Most important were UNC-UVA (oldest rivarly in the South), UNC-NCSU, UNC-Duke, VT-UVA, BC vs. at least one former Big East member, and Wake vs. at least one other NC school. Not far behind were Md-UVA, Clemson-FSU, Clemson-GT (long history of close games), and NCSU-Clemson (Textile Bowl).
The results were two divisions that achieved all those goals but made it hard for fans to know who was in which division:
Clemson presumably was placed in FSU’s division as the perceived #4 team and because Clemson had developed into FSU’s biggest pre-expansion ACC rival. After that, competitive balance mattered less; no one except for Duke was exceptionally good or bad.
Here’s the problem: All those goals could have been achieved with a different split that (a) would have been easier for the average fan to understand, (b) allowed for the former BE members to all play each other annually, and (c) allowed for all four NC schools to play each other annually.
Basically, just switch UNC and NCSU for Maryland and Boston College.
The average fan would just have to remember that one division was FSU and the five schools of the Carolinas, the other division was everyone else.
The only reason I can think for why it was done this way was that one division would have had the Boston, Atlanta, Miami, and DC markets with the other just having Charlotte, Raleigh, and a portion of Florida.
@Michael in Indy – This is brilliant. Your alignment makes a gazillion times more sense than the current setup. I understand what you’re saying about splitting the Florida schools. With your alignment, the 4 NC-based schools are back together (as they always should have been) and the cross-division matchups are logical. I think BC also feels less like an island outpost by being in the same division with UVA and VT along with Maryland – culturally, those 2 Virginia schools have more of an “East Coast” feel compared to the other old ACC schools (except for Duke, who is wisely paired here with BC as a cross-division game). Plus, it always perplexed me that the whole reason why Miami originally wanted BC and Syracuse (prior to VT getting forced in by Virginia politicos) to join the ACC with them was to ensure that the Canes would still go to the Northeast regularly, but then the conference put Miami into a separate division from both BC and Maryland. This alignment corrects all of that.
About the only thing I might change is somehow getting FSU & GT to play each other since they’ve both expressed a desire for that. Maybe if the the ACC ever goes to nine games, it’ll happen.
The Carolinas division would have been more loaded, IMHO, but I think such a division would have been better, because once you divide the NC schools (instead of putting them all in the same division), there’s no way anyone outside the ACC can remember which school is in which division.
Actually, that’s the only easy part for me. I remember that the top NC academic schools-UNC and Duke, are with UVA and their fellow VA school, VT. NCSU and Wake are in the other division. Its the other 6 schools that are hard for me to remember.
I am not sympathetic to this notion that we have to split up natural rivals into separate divisions because of an unfair recruiting advantage. If there are those kinds of structural disparities among the league members, they shouldn’t be in the same league. If there is that level of disparity in their ability to attract recruits, they don’t have the sort of parity that league brethren should share.
But then again, I suspect this argument is oversold.
Given my 6:27 comment, my notion of splitting the ACC is that you want the two groups of 4 natural teams together; thus Florida-Miami-Georgia Tech-Clemson as one “pod,” and Boston College-Maryland-Virginia Tech-Virginia as another “pod.” At that point you have to do something with the North Carolina schools. I don’t know what a geographic split of those would look like (North Carolina geography is not my area of expertise), but my first thought would be Duke and Wake Forest as one pair, and UNC/NC State as the other, putting them with the one pod or the other as you please. But then again, my thinking on splitting the 4 NC schools that way is motivated in part by basketball considerations — I don’t know why more leagues don’t use basketball divisions, and if the ACC did split that way and use divisions in basketball, I think it’d make more beneficial use of the Duke/UNC rivalry. (In college basketball, in-league rematches are routine and because everybody makes the league tournament, there’s every possibility of a 3rd game “rubber match” at the end of the year, so it is much less offensive to my sportsman’s instinct to align the teams with an eye toward a UNC/Duke rematch in the tournament championship as opposed to, say, a Semi- or Quarterfinal.)
Miami & FSU aren’t natural rivals with either GTech or Clemson, while both those schools (especially Clemson) have much more of a history with the NC schools (and the NC schools have much more history & rivalries with each other than any other group of 4 schools in the ACC; I can’t see why you’d be OK with splitting them apart while ranting about splitting apart Minny, Wisconsin, and Iowa).
So if the Florida schools are put in the same division, it makes much more sense to put them with the 4 northern schools while putting Clemson & GTech with the NC schools.
Bullet: I wasn’t talking solely about the NC schools (though it’s tough to remember which division they’re in), but once you split them apart, it’s impossible to remember which other 4 schools are with which NC school (besides UVa & VTech with UNC…and Duke). Put the NC schools together, and you just have to remember which 2 other schools are with the NC schools while the other 6 are in the other division.
I am not familiar with much in the way of meaningful football tradition among the NC schools. Someone on here said some time ago that UNC’s biggest football rival is UVa, for example. That’s why I didn’t feel too bad about splitting them up. Is that not true?
I’m from the Carolinas. I’d say most UNC fans I know consider NC State their biggest rival. That said, the Duke and UVA games are still extremely important to them. Duke because of proximity (they’re only 9 miles apart) and because it’s a spillover from the basketball rivalry. UVA because it’s the oldest rivalry in the South; they’ve played for more consecutive years and more times overall than Auburn-UGA, which is the oldest rivalry in the DEEP South.
Wake Forest may not be considered a “rival” for any of the other three schools in NC, but I do know that a lot of fans are still mad the four schools don’t all play each other every year, and they’re especially mad there’s no longer a round-robin in basketball.
The biggest flaws to divisional setup I had were that UVA & Maryland were separated from the Carolinas schools and that Georgia Tech and FSU wouldn’t play each other every year. (FSU & GT actually petitioned the league for GT to switch divisions with Maryland, but they were denied for whatever reason.)
When they retire Legends and Leaders I think your DIvision names (“A” and “B”) should be adopted. It’s no nonsense and just as arbitrary.
Minny & Iowa have to play for Floyd every year. otherwise, it works.
As for balance, this setup is pretty balanced. In fact, it’s probably more balanced than the current divisions, since I see OSU & PSU being the 2 top powers going forward & both Northwestern and Iowa have overacheived relative to their potential since 1993 while Illinois has under acheived.
With the current divisions, I see the NW being much weaker than the SE going forward.
If you use WP% the last 17 years, it is exactly balanced as is. If Michigan doesn’t bounce back and/or Penn State becomes a dominate power (which is uncertain in my books for at least as long as Joe Pa is there), you might be right. Impossible to predict the future accurately, which is why you have to use the information on hand.
A small sample of the past is a poor predictor of the future. Someone went through the trouble of seeing how well success in the 17 years before 1993 predicted the results of the BigTen schools in the next 17 years, and the conclusion was: not well at all. If predicting the future accurately is impossible, then you’re giving credence to Adam’s assertion that basing divisions on perceived strength/weakness balance issues is folly, so you might as well just divide by geography or by some other criteria.
The B10 should’ve considered dynamic divisions, if it were serious about competitive balance. The B10 could’ve preserved tradition by granting each school 2 permanent match-ups, and then “achieved” balance by realigning the divisions on an annual or semi-annual basis, based upon a weighted, long-term average of some objective ranking formula. [I would prefer a weighted, 10-year average FEI (from footballoutsiders.com), where more weight is given to recent performance.] Each school would play the other 5 schools in their division. The 8th game, if you will, would feature match-ups of #1 vs. #2, #3 vs. #4, etc., using the weighted, 10-year average FEI. Perhaps needless to say; schools wouldn’t play a given school twice, in the same season. So, some schools would come up short of 8 games, given the criteria above. Those would be filled by matching up schools with similar 10-year FEI rankings. Call this the “Reapportionment Plan,” since it would be similar to what the US Census Bureau is currently doing and does on a decennial basis, to reapportion Congressional seats. Simple-minded fans, many of whom probably don’t know or care about L&L, might not even notice that the divisions are dynamic. And, I presume that those of you reading this will find this dynamic division concept to be intriguing or, at the very least, it would give us something to look forward to and talk about!
I did the work to show that past results do not guarantee future competitive balance (“Big Ten Tic-Tac-Toe” @ http://bydivineright.wordpress.com/). I’ve crunched more numbers, since then:
The r-squared value of the predictive power of 1975-1992 Win% on 1993-2009 Win% was 0.46. The r-squared value of the predictive power of 1975-1992 Average Point Differential (APD) on 1993-2009 Win% was 0.47. So, APD was slightly better, but neither were any good. Adam’s comments have convinced me that I should take a look at the predictive power of both Win% and APD on short-term results. My thought is to calculate the effect of the 10-year Win% of a given school on their Win% for the following season. This will yield more data and should be more revealing about the degree to which competitive balance may be achieved, since, as I believe Adam has pointed out, long-term competitive balance doesn’t really matter, if the conference is horribly off-balanced on an annual basis, but that it balances out over time. I also plan to do this with Sagarin Ratings, but those are only available back to 1998. Does anyone else know of any other advanced ranking systems that have been around for as long as Sagarin?
I had an epiphany the other night, as I was trying to fall asleep, and came up with a new B10 alignment, which builds on “My 3 Pods” (self-promotional alert: “Big Ten Tic-Tac-Toe” @ http://bydivineright.wordpress.com/), yields two, permanent divisions – no dynamic divisions 😦 – and preserves 13 out of 14 trophy games and all of the 1993-2010 permanent match-ups. I hope that this will be as competitively balanced as L&L, but I haven’t had time to run the numbers, yet. I’ll be sure to run it by you guys, in hopes that you’ll subject it to serious inquisition, and tell me if it is as ironclad as I think it is. (Wow, I managed to sneak “epiphany” and “inquisition” into the same comment. My mom would proudly exclaim, “Wow, that Catholic school education didn’t go to waste!”) My new concoction is better than anything that I’ve ever read. Stay tuned…
What I’d be curious to know is whether divisions aligned by competiveness from 1975->1992 would have yielded more balanced divisions in 1993->2009, or would divisions done solely by geography would have yielded more balanced divisions in 1993->2009.
I also have crunched the numbers to compare divisions (I did it for all 462 alignments). Unlike mstinebrink, I found the past to predict the future reasonably well. It depends on how you look at it.
Mstinebrink looked on a per team basis, while I looked on a per division basis. Take this year as an example. In his method, it is a poor prediction because WI was elite and PSU was average, and MSU was elite and MI was average. For me, the divisions would stay about the same so it’s a decent prediction. It depends on what point of view you think is more important. My opinion is that the Big Ten was trying to balance the divisions, not the individual teams.
I have looked at the divisions going back more than 50 years. The splits have stayed about the same over time. X/O was always better than E/W using 17 years to predict the next 17 years. If only competitive balance matters, there are better choices than both of them.
Only fairly recently have WI and IA both been good enough at the same time to make E/W even decently balanced. Before 1990, nobody would have tried to claim NE/WI/IA could try to balance OSU/MI/PSU.
I can give more details after the holidays, but the gist is that X/O was always better than E/W.
However, “geographic” doesn’t have to mean E/W, it could mean N/S (Michigan, MSU, UW, Minny, Iowa, and UNL in the north).
Looking on a per-division basis is just giving the methodology an unwarranted fudge factor — it gives you a chance of having an unexpectedly good performance evened out by an unexpectedly poor performance. But because the division-wide results are just the aggregate of the individual teams, there’s no principled reason why the unexpected “imbalancing” results couldn’t be clustered in one division or the other.
But beyond that, it is unseemly to be making predictions about the competitive ability of the member institutions. We’re all supposed to be equals here.
Yes, there are multiple geographic configurations available (not yours, though, since NW would be in the North instead of NE). I’ve said all along based solely on balance there were better choices than X/O.
The best geographic one would be the NNE/SSW alignment suggested by the PSU columnist (OSU/NE/IA/IN/PU/IL vs PSU/MI/WI/MSU/NW/MN). That was the sixth best choice according to my numbers (X/O was 95th out of 462), and it rose higher when you added some constraints like equally splitting the top 4 and next 2.
As I said a few days ago, the best by my numbers was OSU/NE/IA/PU/MN/IN vs MI/PSU/WI/MSU/NW/IL.
Choosing purely by balance from 1975-1992 would have provided the best balance from 1993-2009. But, choosing by geography could have made a great selection. That’s assuming you overcame the political hurdles to pick the correct geographical choice.
Impossible to predict the future accurately, which is why you have to use the information on hand.
No; what you do is you get out of the business of trying to predict the future.
Illinois has underachieved for a hundred years. If you are ranking teams by potential, then Nebraska should be in last. But, of course, that isn’t realistic. There isn’t a great deal of reason to expect Illinois to outperform Wisky/MSU/Iowa.
Nonsense, when Bob Zuppke was coaching players like Red Grange, Illinois was winning national championships.
Why do you think Illinois and OSU students concocted the idea of playing for the Illibuck?
You are absolutely correct, Illinois was very successful 83 years ago and has managed the 75th best winning ptg over the last 100 years. The good thing is that TPTB took that into account and made sure that Minnesota and Illinois are in separate divisions to provide competitive balance.
re: Illinois – We are what we are. The Illini rise up every 5 or 6 years to win or come close to winning the Big Ten, we get a bunch of great recruiting classes and see a lot of “sleeping giant is waking up” stories, woefully underachieve the next 2 or 3 seasons, and then have another 2 or 3 awful soul-crushing years that make you question why we even have a football program. Rinse and repeat.
Frank, with the amount of talent on Illinois’ roster right now that are juniors/seniors from their great recruiting around the Rose Bowl run, it’s particularly confounding.
It seems Illinois rises up when the cupboard is bare, but then vastly underachieves the talent that they get from good years…
I can’t see how under this proposal the Rose Bowl wouldn’t be seriously diluted. A fair number of years the Rose would either be hosting one of the semi games (which probably wouldn’t be PAC v. B10) or one of the top four wouldn’t come from either the B10 or Pac 10. Whether this concession is acceptable to you probably depends on your perspective–I for one am very disappointed that the Rose this year won’t feature Stanford against Oregon (and this is not the B10 fan in me that just must see the B10 every year against the Pac 10, as the Illini v. U.S.C. game 3 years ago did nothing for me). If the value of the Rose is built on the tradition of best Pac 10 v. best B10, anything that dilutes this further will be a negative for Delaney/Scott and the fans of those conferences. That’s my immediate reaction to this, though I think your logic of less is more is spot on.
I do think that the powers that be worry that even this won’t appease people for long, the old slippery slope argument. As a political science major once upon a time, I learned that a revolution in a country was most likely to occur when conditions improved, not if they stayed hopelessly abysmal. With the advent of the BCS, which moved away from a system which was clearly a popularity contest that completely shut out non AQ’s mid-majors, there is more unrest in college football than ever before– I can’t help but think that a four team playoff will only empower people to push for an 8 or 16 team playoff, knowing that now their voice may actually empower further change. This is why I don’t see this any time soon.
It is unfortunate that our current method of sending teams to the NCG sometimes deprives the Rose Bowl of its traditional matchup of Pac/BigTen champions. If we are going to introduce a better method for determining the participants in the NCG, we should be sure this method preserves the traditional Rose Bowl matchup.
I obviously meant Stanford or Oregon v. Wisconsin. Either matchup would have been acceptable to me.
Stanford vs Wisconsin? No. I want Oregon vs Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl. I want the champions playing in the Rose Bowl.
Uh Adam, I get that, but why does being permanent really matter? We could sort the teams in alphabetical order, as the team names are permanent too. I honestly think it just appeals to the average fans sense of universal order (see we can put a nice little bow on this division and call it the east and that one the west), but I can’t think of one concrete practical reason it matters in this day and age; TCU to the Big East proves my point–TCU doesn’t think it will be a problem travelling to Boston College for ladies volley ball. I really think just sorting them by geography at the possible expense of parity (if that would have been the case) and a bogus CCG would have been a huge mistake.
*BC is in the ACC. Your point’s valid though (i.e., TCU volleyball traveling to Providence, UConn, St. John’s, etc.)
Yeah, I meant U-Conn then had a brain fart. Thanks for the correct!
Did anyone else catch this?
After talking to some Big Ten officials, the reporter feels that what Delany said is being misinterpreted and new division names may not be imminent.
From reading his comments, it would have been a stretch to say changing the names was imminent. Merely that they would think about it if the comments continued to be so negative (and not necessarily do anything then). They were stunned that their ridiculous idea was regarded as such.
Yes, but the reporter said it sounded to him like the names won’t be changing before this upcoming season. Now he may well have misunderstood the Big Ten execs, but that is not the impression Delany gave.
Rose and Fiesta Bowls have modified their contracts to accommodate potential playoffs:
That suggests that the NCAA would need to be in control and I doubt that the BCS conferences or schools would give up that control and income. Perhaps I’m reading that wrong.
That was my 1st reaction, but it says “sanctioned.” Bowl games are sanctioned by the NCAA, but that doesn’t mean the NCAA is in control.
I really do understand what the Big Ten is going for in legends and leaders, but it’s still a mistake. They’ve already made a lot of fans angry over the alignment. They should have played this part safe rather than adding insult to injury.
Between the above article and Delany’s comments on the BTN, I don’t think the divisions are changing names. One more reason I wish we hadn’t expanded (although I love Nebraska).
Alan from Baton Rouge–What can you tell me, bad or good, about Corey Raymond, the former LSU player and asst just named as an asst caoch at IU? Do you remember why he left LSU? Voluntarily, or was he pushed?
‘shroom – Raymond was was either a GA or an intern at LSU. I’m sure he just left to get a full-time job. He was at LSU when Doug Mallory was the DBs coach and Mike Ekeler was a GA, so I’m guessing that’s the connection. Mallory and Ekeler must think highly of him. All three of these guys worked under Pelini who was the LSU DC from 05 to 07, and on the 07 BCS NC team. The good news for Hoosier fans is that these guys all have experience in pounding Ohio State.
Honestly, I didn’t remember him even being on staff, but I do remember him as a player. he was a tough DB that would hit and had a nose for the ball. He hung on in the NFL for 6 years after being undrafted. As a redshirt freshman, he played on the 88 SEC Championship team, then was subjected to the beginning of the bad times – 3 of our 6 consecutive losing seasons.
Bowl execs are idiots:
Like too many folks, they’re too backwards-looking and not forward-looking. Serves them right.
Turns out people don’t want rematches.
The economy is certainly a factor, but realistically, how much excitement does a 7-5 or 6-6 team generate, even if its your own team?
As for UNL, its not only a rematch, its the same site as last year. Of course, they burned their bridges in Texas. Texas bowls were concerned Nebraska fans wouldn’t go to a bowl in the state of Texas, so the Alamo was out.
UNL/Wash isn’t just a rematch, its a rematch of a rematch.
There have been some bowls do well. A couple of non-AQs, who the bowl execs avoid like the plague, have sold out their allotment and asked for more, Nevada in San Francisco and TCU in the Rose.
And Boise-Utah sold out their bowl last night.
Congrats to Boise, soundly beating the likely 2011 Pac12 champ. After having beaten the 2009 and 2010 Pac10 champs in 2009 and 2008.
No one can honestly say that Boise isn’t the best team in the country (nor can anyone honestly say they are.) Can’t have a real national champ without deciding it on the field.
Utah likely the 2011 Pac-12 champs?
I’d lean more towards unlikely, although they’re not a bad choice as a dark horse. Out of Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, and UCLA, they do have a great chance to win their division. (I’m assuming USC wouldn’t be eligible to win the division & go to the conference title game.) But I think Oregon & Stanford would be the favorites, especially if they hosted Utah for the CCG.
Hmmm…I’ve avoided this post because I’m tired of the playoff arguments, but I loaded it up today because I’m interested in Big Ten fans’ thoughts on Ohio State. After skimming the whole thread, I’m moderately surprised I didn’t find any comments yet.
*OSU got the ‘Cam Newton’ principle: we’re so far into this year the NCAA isn’t going to interfere with any remaining games (Sugar Bowl). I think it’s probably the best way to go for college football, but I understand others may have different opinions. (No, we don’t have any Cam Newton penalties yet, but I believe the NCAA is still investigating)
*I do think 5 games is excessive for this. After all, if they waited another few years, they would be able to sell all this stuff without the University being sanctioned.
*Nebraska just doesn’t catch a break with next year’s schedule. The OSU players come back just in time to play them. Of course, if these guys can get drafted, it makes little sense for them to come back unless the suspensions are reduced.
Sure looks like a $ decision. Back for UNL, in for the Sugar Bowl. Maybe the 5th game was so they didn’t miss the Sugar Bowl.
I really don’t see the justification for suspending them next season and not doing it for the bowl. The bowl hurts them more and the team less.
This type of thing comes up a lot. I’m curious what the typical penalties in the past have been. The articles make it sound like 4 is standard.
I suspect they’re all in the draft this year and get out with no penalty.
Denying players from selling their own property seems fundamentally wrong, so I think they need to revise the rules. I understand that boosters & agents could overpay for items to send players money, but the way around that is to cap the total that a player can receive each year from outside sources to something like $5K.
There’s something out of whack when a player is punished (by having to sit out 4-5 games) for selling his own property for $1-2K while another player isn’t punished at all even though his family tried to profit (and probably did) by circumventing the NCAA amateurism rules to the tune of about 200K.
Certainly can’t argue about consistency with the Cam Newton deal. But selling the property that the school gave them by virtue of being football players leaves a hole in the amateurism rules. Some schools can give more that they can sell. And why can’t track athletes get things they can sell? And if they can sell $5k why not pay them? Once you cross that line of allowing them to profit from being on the team (while they are on the team), there’s really no line left.
You can argue that they should be paid, but I’d say the Presidents will vote for a 64 team playoff before they would vote for that.
This is a toughie. I just can’t believe they would sell those items at those prices.
I think the sweater ought to sit them too. Just my self-righteous 2 cents.
Apparently the rule is 4 games or 30% of the season.
The logic of allowing the Sugar Bowl since they didn’t know the rules but adding a 5th game since they didn’t come clean escapes me (and probably everyone else on the planet).
The NCAA is having a bad, bad year.
Great idea…let boosters pay for athlete items, but only set an upper limit.
I guarantee you’ll see $5k pencils “owned” by such-and-such a player being sold all over the place. That’s the kind of behavior those rules will encourage.
And as for the OSU situation…honestly they should have been sat immediately, but the @#%#@$ NCAA doesn’t want to hurt the pocketbook too much.
Jokingly…they should have just been like Auburn and paid them outright…that’s apparently legal.
Regarding the tOSU situation, 5 games is not excessive when the NCAA suspended Georgia’s AJ Green for 4 games just for selling one item. What makes me sick about the whole deal is that Green’s suspension was immediate, while the Buckeye Five have several months to plan an escape (NFL) and may never be affected.
It has been argued that the NCAA didn’t want to adversely affect tOSU in the Sugar Bowl. But that didn’t stop the NCAA from suspending LSU’s All-SEC RB Stephen Ridley for the Cotton Bowl. NCAA President and former LSU Chancellor Mark Emmert certainly didn’t do his old school any favors on this deal.
Here’s what ESPN’s Mark May has to say about the subject.
Wile I’m not on board with a lot of what May Day said in that clip, the NCAA does pick and choose who they want to punish.
The timing is wrong, but so is leveling 5 game suspensions on the OSU players (and a 4 game suspension on AJ Green) when Newton goes unpunished even though he (or at least his family) broke the NCAA rules to a far greater degree.
Wasn’t Troy Smith suspended for only a bowl game for doing something similiar to the tOSU 5 (and AJ Green)? What did Ridley do and what was his total suspension?
Mark May despises OSU and puts them down at every opportunity. He cannot be unbiased on any issue that touches them. I’m not saying the NCAA was right, but May would have kicked those guys off the team and vacated the past two seasons if it was up to him just because it was OSU.
As an OSU alum, I wouldn’t put it out if May was on fire and I was holding a fire extinguisher (Cowherd either).
Mark May is absolutely correct in that the NCAA takes it easy on the B10, while throwing the book at Cam Newton and Auburn. They sure got hammered.
NCAA seems to have a conference of the year. They will go after one conference for a while and then set out after another. They decimated the SWC in the late 80s and then went after the Pac 10. There was one year in the early 90s where 5 of the 10 Pac 10 members were on probation. Does seem to be the SEC’s time at bat, but obviously they make exceptions for possible #1 teams.
ESPN article on point discussing penalties:
Interesting that stuff like postseason & TV bans and scholarship reductions don’t seem to affect performance. I can see how TV & postseason bans are fairly worthless (and TV bans hurt the other schools in the conference).
However, I think scholarship reductions would work if the NCAA actually cut the number of scholarships by more than a trifling amount.
Alabama lost 21 scholarships for buying a player, however, it didn’t set them back a decade because those sanctions were over 5 years or so. Dock 50 scholarships over a decade, and maybe schools woud figure cheating wouldn’t be worth it.
Another step I would take is to ban nonconference home games during their probation period (which I think should be as long as a decade for the worst cases). Hit them in the pocketbook, and maybe schools would refrain from cheating. Mind you, I don’t advocate such harsh measures to deal with cases like this current OSU one or the AJ Green case, where the money is rather small and the schools don’t really gain an advantage (or even the Reggie Bush case), but rather in the Albert Means/Cam Newton type scenario & in the Baylor case where the bball coach covered up a murder.
Most of the scholarship penalties get lost in the rounding. Many schools, because of guesses on who will qualify or show up, end up below 85. I remember one year where Notre Dame only had 77 due to injuries/transfers/etc. If Alabama lost 21 over 5 years, that means they had an average of 81 every year. They didn’t even notice.
Anyone interested in getting married on the block “M” at the Big House? New AD is really making his mark in his first nine months: Outdoor hockey, new retractable lights in the stadium, night game with Notre Dame next year. And, coming soon, giant video screens replacing scoreboards and WiFi for in-game video replay on your Blackberry. I love it!!
Dave Brandon may get to make an even bigger mark real soon by hiring a new football coach.
Hoke, Harbaugh, or Miles?
I’d say Hoke would be the best choice, though as an NU fan, I’d vote for Miles because he’d be so damn entertaining.
That’s why Lloyd Carr and many of the Maize and Blue faithful were opposed to Miles when Rich Rod was hired. He likes to live on the edge and keeps things “too” interesting. I think Hoke is the guy, but not until next year. Harbaugh will go pro.
Well, Paul, this year’s almost over…
Miles may have left LSU in 07, but when Herbie reported Miles leaving as fact just prior to the SEC CG, The Hat conducted one of the all-time great press conferences.
I’d hate to lose Crazy Uncle Les, but wouldn’t blame him if he left. Most of the LSU fan-base tends to dwell on the negative, and is spoiled. Lesticles has only had 4 10-win seasons in 6 years, won 4 of 5 bowl games, 3 top-5 finishes, 2 SECW crowns, 1 SEC & BCS championship, and the all-time highest winning percentage at LSU.
But the Mad Hatter would only leave LSU for Michigan, and from 1000 miles away, Big Blue appears to be way too prim and proper to let a crazy man that eats grass on the sidelines be their coach – even if he is a Michigan Man.
I believe you are falling into the same trap with “BCS Final Four” as you denounce in the article.
The BCS (through its 6 conferences) get about $750M for the regular season TV rights and about $150M for the post-season.
Let us assume, for arguments sake, that what they say about “A playoff would delute the regular season” is true, or at least Delaney & Co. BELIEVE it to be true.
Why would they risk the $750M dog to change the $150M tail?
The BCS will not do a playoff. Period. It is possible that the NCAA might do a playoff someday, as they get $0 from the college football regular season.
The day the NCAA and the BCS go to war is the day we get a playoff and vice versa.
And if the NCAA and the BCS go to war, I am not sure who will win.
Plus the NCAA is only used to picking on defenseless students. They don’t have the cajones to fight with the big boys.
A playoff will only happen with government threatening the school, either to take away the non-profit status from the athletic dept or the old-fashioned way of denying any federal funds to a school that won’t commit to a “voluntary” D1A playoff.
Are you including the Plus One in that? Or do you think we might be able to sneak in the Plus One? After all, a carefully configured Plus One would be nearly as effective as a 4-team playoff. Moreover, a Plus One would return the Rose Bowl to its traditional champion vs champion matchup (which should please the Rose Bowl people and the Pac/BigTen presidents).
1) I think that the NCAA rules have to change to allow a team to play more than once in the offseason.
2) Right now, BCS has 10 game slots, which have 1 or 2 invaders and 8 or so slots for BCS teams. In a +1, there would only be 8 different teams, with invaders possible in up to 4 slots.
3) Again, the worry is destabilizing the regular season. I don’t think +1 is that bad, but would you do anything that places the regulars season $750M at risk to increase the $145M post season?
I don’t think you can place the bowls back to hard wired conferences and keep any sort of championship, unless you make a all-conferences playoff structure after the bowls, which would risk the regular season.
Regarding #2, they could just elevate the Cotton Bowl up to a BCS bowl to solve that problem.
Extending the season should not be a problem because only two teams will be affected (the teams playing in the NCG). Under the current system those two teams are on the field practicing until mid-January. Giving them a game on New Years Day does not make their season any longer.
I don’t see how the Plus-one could destabilize the regular season. Everything stays the same: CCGs, BCS Bowls, NCG. Same dates, same locations, same conference tie-ins. The only thing that would change is entry to the NCG. Instead of automatically sending the BCS #1 and #2 to the NCG, we send all top teams to their usual BCS Bowls. This will make the BCS Bowls much more relevant and interesting, and it will increase the credibility of the two teams that emerge from the BCS Bowls to contest the NCG.
Georgia Tech lost 4 players for their bowl game. Their situation was academic ineligibility. Two of them were starters. Oddly enough, the two reserves have already graduated, one in the spring and one in the summer. Maybe they failed graduate classes? Certainly can’t be that they didn’t make enough academic progress.
Merry Christmas from LSU graduate and ambassador Shaquille O’Neal.
Merry Christmas to all!
some points to ponder:
#1) Michigan and the grass eater
In many posts I have pondered the tier 1 and tier 2 coaching jobs. Most jobs are stepping stone jobs and only a handful are destination jobs (ND, U$C, Alabama, Oklahoma). Just under these jobs are the “flux” schools trying for ELIETE status. I am intrigued by the LSU / Michigan dynamic, and which is the better job at this time. I have said that Michigan is one of the 10 “brands” and LSU is right on the door knocking to get in (if Tennessee continues to slip, I can see LSU slipping into the spot). My argument is that 10 – 20 years ago, the mad hatter would be Michigan bound, but now I am not so sure (the fact that he could have done as well as he has in the past and still be on the hot seat indicates that LSU has “brand” status mentality). My gut feeling at this point is that the LSU is the better job at this point in time. Am I incorrect in this observation.
#2) tOSU as a “blessed” program
Many of my friends are tOSU grads, and many of my friends are X, UC, IU, PU, PSU, UK grads (some higher in the food chain than the average bear). Both sides have for years told me tales of many of tOSU’s indiscretions in football (and more recently basketball), and yet the hammer never seems to fall on their heads. Looking at the 5 game suspension taking effect right now as opposed to next season has the following view:
Arkansas: 10-2 => Only losses to conference foes Auburn & Alabama
Akron: 1-11 => No great threat
Toledo: 8-4 => No great threat
Miami: 7-5 => New Coach, went 27-34 @ Temple, will be first @ Miami
Colorado: 5-7 => New Coach, next season will be first year @ CU
Akron: 1-11 => No great threat
Toledo: 8-4 => No great threat
Miami: 7-5 => New Coach, went 27-34 @ Temple, will be 1st @ Miami
Colorado: 5-7 => New Coach, next season will be first year @ CU
MSU: => historic 1:2 W/L ratio, MSU good 2010, no solid trend vs tOSU
The NCAA for all their words does seem to have a good guys vs bad guys mentality when it come to who gets slammed, and who does not
NCAA: The good vs the bad
Big 10 vs SEC (If it were 5 arkansas players, they would be sitting out)
ACC vs Big East (Many violations go on in ACC basketball w/o penalty)
Pac 10 vs Big 12 (look at SMU vs U$C)
SMU (which was only guilty of football violations)
* 1987 season cancelled
* 1988 home games cancelled (away games were allowed to help OT)
* 1989 no bowl games (3 years) and NO tv games (3 years)
* 1990 on probation till this time
+ lost 55 scholarships over next 4 years
+ boosters banned from program
+ only allowed half the normal assistant coach positions
+ no off campus recruiting
U$C (which was guilty of football, basketball, and tennis violations)
* 2010 season NOT cancelled
* 2011 home games NOT cancelled
* 2011 no bowl games (2 years) and all tv games intact (ZERO years)
* 2011 on probation till this time (2 years less than SMU)
+ lost 30 scholarships over next 3 years
+ no boosters banned from program
+ no restrictions on assistant coach positions
+ no off campus recruiting limitations
U$C was at a much greater “loss of institutional control” but gets a slap on the wrist compared to SMU. If you get caught cheating, you should get “media” death, and your regular season games should be made unavailable like happened to SMU.
The 4 “blessed” football programs via the NCAA
The 4 “blessed” football programs via the NCAA
The 4 “blessed” basketball programs via the NCAA
BTW, as for USC, I feel that the penalties in football, if they were the only violations, were all right but the basketball penalties were too light. They shouldn’t be allowed home games (or at least non-conf home games) for 2 years. Take the obvious lack of institutional control, and I think my prescribed punishment for a first major violation should be enforced:
5 years probation
2 years postseason ban
no recruiting for 1 year
65 scholarship limit for years 2 & 3
no nonconf home games in years 4 & 5
5 years probation
2 years postseason ban
no recruiting for 1 year
10 scholarship limit for years 2 & 3
no nonconf home games in years 4 & 5
Second major violation within 5 year period:
10 years probation
2 years postseason ban
no recruiting for 2 years
55 scholarship limit for years 3,4,5
no conference home games in years 2,3,4,5 (have to played at away site)
no nonconf home games in years 5,6,7,8
10 years probation
4 years postseason ban
no recruiting for 2 years
8 scholarship limit for years 3,4,5
no conference home games in years 2,3 (have to played at away site)
no nonconf home games in years 3,4,5,6
Third major violation while on probation:
You have to hurt them in the pocketbook, which means taking away home games in football and the postseason in basketball.
I was always under the impression that it was the sports as a whole in terms of “loss of control”, so that 2 violations in a single sport was the same as 1 violation in 2 sports at the same time (and why Kentucky has many poor football coaches that were not getting the program in trouble, like the Jerry Clairborne and Bear Bryant eras). so,
1 CFB + 1 CFB = 1 CFB + 1CBB in terms of violation to kick in the death penalty. Am I incorrect in my understanding of how this works?
I agree about hurting the violators in the pocketbook, and why I was surprised U$C was still able to get national media for its games this season, as they can still used those games to keep visibility high, and future recruits tuned in.
You should read that article that Bullet posted about how the current penalties are so toothless that teams actually do better when they are on probation than before:
I think that decreased media visibility has zero effect on recruiting, which is why I wouldn’t even bother with it (plus it hurts the other schools in the conference as well).
That’s why I think, if the NCAA truly was serious about cracking down on violators, they’d have to start banning home games or postseason games in basketball (the postseason money in football is such a small fraction of overall revenues, especially since most of the power conferences share bowl payouts evenly, that it wouldn’t matter much besides keeping a team from playing for the national title). Maybe ban all recruiting for a full year, at least, since reducing scholarships doesn’t seem to do much either.
The difference between Southern Methodist 1987 and Southern Cal 2010 can be defined in four letters: ESPN. The network wields incredible power over college athletics today, unlike in the mid-1980s when it was just beginning to find its way following the 1984 Supreme Court decision striking down NCAA control over college football telecasts. There are some programs deemed “too big to fail” (or to keep off TV), and USC is one of them.
However, you could deny them home games. If you forbid only conference home games, then no other entity gets hurt; the TV broadcaster still gets its full arrary of games, and the other schools in the conference actually gain.
I’m not sure why (other than the obvious hurt that would do to the athletic department of the guilty school) that punishment isn’t levied more often. Makes me think that the power schools & conferences (who really control the NCAA) aren’t serious about preventing violations.
” Makes me think that the power schools & conferences (who really control the NCAA) aren’t serious about preventing violations.”
hammer meet nailhead! 🙂
duff – I’m a little late, but here’s my take on Les Miles’ pros & cons on LSU v. Michigan. Again, I doubt Michigan offers The Hat if an opening occurs, even though he’s a “Michigan Man”.
Pro-LSU. Lesticles currently makes about $3.8mm per year & has a huge buyout if LSU ever runs him off.
Con-UM. From what I understand, RichRod makes $2.5mm per year & UM doesn’t feel like they need to/ought to the going rate. I would think that UM could certainly swing the money if they chose to do so.
Historically, Pro-UM/currently pro-LSU. Counting all the leather helmet wins, Michigan is historically a Top-5 program, while LSU is a top 12-15 program. Although, in the last 15 years LSU has had as many losing seasons as Michigan has had in the last 3 seasons. LSU also has 2 BCS NCs and is 4-0 in BCS games, while Michigan has no BCS NCs and is 1-3 in BCS games.
Academically, while LSU has made great progress in the last 20 years, it ain’t even close to UM.
Pro-LSU. For LSU to win NCs, all it has to do is lock-down the Louisiana borders and get a few guys from Mississippi, Texas, and the Florida panhandle.
Con-UM. I don’t think Detroit and Northern Ohio are what they used to be. Unless the tOSU/UM dynamic changes drastically, UM has to recruit nationally to be successful. LSU = car drives. UM = plane rides.
Pro-LSU. Les seems to like it here. He just built a vacation house in the Florida panhandle about a 3.5 hour drive from Baton Rouge. He has 4 kids with the oldest being 15, that are all settled in school. Not nearly as many cold-weather days in Baton Rouge as compared to Ann Arbor.
Con-LSU. As a whole LSU fans have ben spoiled by our recent success and have never really embraced Les. The nega-tigers say that his early success was all due to the wealth of talent Saban left him. They also say that he isn’t a good game-day coach, and point to Ole Miss in 09 and Tennessee this year as evidence. 10 wins this year with his own players have shut a lot of the nega-tigers up, but they are still out there. I have no idea if Les even cares, but I doubt it.
Pro-UM: Les played for Bo and coached there too. He met his wife at Michigan. She was an assistant basketball coach there as well. I have no idea how much of an emotional pull that is for him.
Con-UM: From what we hear down here, the Michigan top brass aren’t crazy about Les, and the Lloyd Carr faction hates his guts.
If Michigan were ever to take Miles away from LSU, this would be the year. But I think it would be hard for him to leave another top 5 (maybe #1) recruiting class in 2011. LSU should be in the pre-season top 5 next year. The personnel at Michigan is all wrong for his coaching style.
I don’t think Michigan wants him, but if they did, Les’ decision to leave for Michigan would have to be based on emotion and Michigan stepping up to plate financially.
Merry Christmas Duff (& everyone else). From what I understand, Lesticles wasn’t considered last time, and in any case, he had a national championship to win in the bayou. Now that he’s done that, I get the feeling that he doesn’t feel like that’s gotten him the job security down there that he feels he deserves (compare with Tressel, who’s at a destination job yet was set for life after winning the national championship).
12 days of christmas, Big 12 style
anybody want to venture the 12 days for the Big 10, or other 12 team conferences?
Merry Christmas to all from a white, shut down Atlanta. Where we are, its probably about an inch. Not enough to cover the shady areas. Some parts of Atlanta got as much as 4 inches. With a few exceptions, roads are actually in good shape, but all the churches shut down anyway. It is the 1st white Christmas in Atlanta in 127 years. Should be all gone by the Peach Bowl on Friday.
Its 38 (but feels like 31 with the wind chill & humidity) in Baton Rouge right now, but it should get down 22 tonight. A few days ago, the temp was 80.
For any Illini, it was 82 in Houston last week, although I think its supposed to get down close to freezing today.
Bowl game you plan / have attended this bowl season?
just curious if the economy / excessive bowl games is curbing desire to see the event live? What say you Frank the Tank readers?
I’m going to the Cotton Bowl. Sugar is still a maybe.
I’ve never been to a bowl game and don’t plan to start now. I’ve never had the time or the money to go.
@duffman – I’m not heading down to the Texas Bowl to see the Illini, but part of that is I’ve had a trip to Vegas planned for right after New Year’s for several months. I’ll be paying close attention to the lines for the Orange and Sugar Bowls.
My wife and I are going to the Gator Bowl in Jacksonville to watch Michigan play Mississippi State. We have friends who live on Amerlia Island that we’ll visit and stay with for part of the time and we’re driving down there on the 30th from the Washington DC area, so the lodging and transportation are relatively inexpensive.
My wife’s birthday is on 3 January, so we’re adding a few days in Orlando and Disneyworld to the trip. B. is a big Disney fan and has been to Disneyland a handful of times, but never to Disneyworld. We’ll stay at one of the resorts there for a couple of nights and have a full day at the park. It should be fun.
I’ve been to two Rose Bowl games–not surprisingly, Michgian lost both of them (once to USC in Schembechler’s last game as HC, the second oe was against Texas). When we lived in Arziona, we went to the Insight Bowl four tmes and I took in a couple of Fiesta Bowls–ncluding the classic Boise State-Oklahoma game.
The bowls are generally fun and we’ve had the opportnity to witness some good games. My wife became a Boise State fan after their Fiesta Bowl win over OU in part because we sat with the BSU fans and they were a pretty good group. We’ve also tossed tortillas around the stands with a group of Texas Tech fans during the Insight Bowl (this was the game where TTU had the big second half comeback which was Glen Mason’s last as Minnesota’s HC).
Well my spouse and I really didn’t have any interest in UGA playing UCF in the Liberty and Texas isn’t going anywhere, but logistically with holidays and family, it would have been difficult anyway.
So excessive bowl games dampened interest, but, from our standpoint, the result was still the same. UGA ticket sales are slow.
So, are most of you guys watching the Detroit bowl or ‘Heidi’ on NBC?
Pizza! Pizza! of course.
Pretty entertaining Pizza Bowl, although as a Bears fan that has a vested interest in the Eagles-Vikings game (Eagles loss means Bears get a 1st-round bye and home-field advantage in round 2), I wanted to see the NFL game played tonight. On a related note, the Vikings have definitely crossed into that Cubs/Cleveland sports/Northwestern basketball universe of teams with legendarily bad juju (to the extent that they haven’t already). Getting a road game moved due to snow after what they’ve gone through at home over the past 2 weeks is fitting for this team. Also, Brett Favre has suffered more injuries in the last 6 weeks than he has in the last 20 years. I legitimately fear for Adrian Peterson’s life right now.
I find the decision not to hold the game last night a little shady, and I applaud Rendell for saying as much.
Did they switch off the game to Heidi before the last two scores? (Duffman, at least, will understand the reference.-TV sports has come a long ways).
I believe it was “Minute to Win It” as the alternative programming.
Weeb was the coach (and local Indiana boy who played ball at Miami of Ohio with Paul Brown) and had the Jets sitting on a 32 – 29 lead with about 1 min left to play. They cut the game and switched to Heidi at exactly 7pm because Timex had already bought the Heidi show. All hell broke loose because in the last min oakland scored 2 TD’s on 3 plays and won the game 32 – 43.
Bullet, I was watching the game (on the east coast feed, as the west coast feed showed the full game) and remember it well as at first I thought it was a mistake and they would correct it. here is a link, and I remember the clip at the 42 second mark http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr8NuLN5bMA , and thinking I did not fit the female demographic they were shooting at running the “special”. I agree this was a turning point, but now I think the pendulum has swung too far the other way (do we really need 30 second updates on Brett Favre all day / every day?).
I think at times tho you are affected by age, as now if I had little girls who were dying to see Heidi, then Heidi it would be (but I was not at all happy back in 68′ when it happened). I think the thing that gets lost in all of this was that it was an east coast vs west coast game (and probably a high number of eyeballs). Of course the Jets would go in to win the Super Bowl that season behind Broadway Joe (and now I am feeling really old remembering all this), and the rest was history.
Yes, I was a Colts fan at the time and didn’t watch the Super Bowl. Everyone figured them winning the rematch vs. the Browns (Colts lone loss of the season) was the championship game. I was out of town and was in shock when a friend told me the Colts lost. Weeb and several of the Jets were former Colts.
I remember well the aftermath of the Heidi game and the controversy the next day. I remember that more than that night, even though I’m pretty sure I was watching the game and watched Heidi afterwards with the family. I didn’t really follow the AFL that much (it was the “minor” league), so I guess it didn’t make that much of an impression.
Nebraska’s Harvey Pearlman and what he has done for Nebraska the past 10 years. Some Big Ten info as well.
Great article. Nice find!
Interesting Wall Street Journal article on how much certain schools move bowl TV ratings compared to their averages:
Top 5: USC, Florida State, Notre Dame, Miami and Michigan
Bottom 5: Virginia, NC State, Georgia Tech, LSU, Clemson
The big surprise is the inclusion of LSU (apologies to Alan) in that bottom category.
Frank – that is a little bit of a head scratcher & no need to apologize, but you have to look at who LSU played and the circumstances of the game.
The Tigers did play GA Tech twice during that survey (00 & 08). They were even more of a drag on the ratings.
Your Fighting Illini also come into play going back to Sugar Bowl after the 01 season.
We did play Texas in the Cotton Bowl after the 02 season at 10 am on New Years Day. Since they have moved their kick time and dates, I’m sure the Cotton Bowl ratings have increased.
In 03, the Tigers played Oklahoma for the BCS NC. Most everybody thought USC should have been in the game, rather than Oklahoma.
After the 04 season, the Tigers played Iowa in the CapOne Bowl.
After the 05 season, Miami in the Peach Bowl.
After the 06 season, Notre Dame in the Sugar.
After the 07 season, Ohio State in the BCS NCG.
After the 09 season, Penn State in the CapOne.
It would be interesting to see the whole survey to better understand the conclusions. Maybe the Outback and Gator Bowls had compelling games or great endings when LSU was at the CapOne bowls.
But hey, Louisiana is a small state and most people outside the South probably think of the SEC as Alabama and a bunch of other (good-to-great) interchangeable teams. The top 5 movers are three historical programs (USC, Notre Dame and Michigan) and two programs that were extremely popular starting in the 80s through the present and have been part of multiple NC hunts. LSU has been in the national consciousness since 03 and hasn’t been in to NC hunt in November except for 03 & 07. That’s the best i can come up with.
the problem is they just show the top and bottom 5 and do not show the whole list, or how they calculated the numbers (I for one would favor a weighted moving average so the more recent the game, the greater the weight). I have a strong feeling that Miami and FSU are treading on the early part of the decade, and your tigers are being penalized for their more recent success.
Two forces at work here. One is the obvious one that more popular schools would do better in a ranking like this (and vice versa). The other is that a school that travels well but isn’t a TV brand name would do worse in a ranking like this (and vice versa). So because its fans are sure to fill any bowl in the southeast (and many elsewhere), Clemson punches above its weight in the bowl pecking order, but as a TV draw, it’s middling. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that all 5 schools that do badly in this study are southern schools (so they’re more likely to bring fans to bowls, many of which are in the south), while ND & Michigan are in the north and neither USC or Miami are known for bringing their fans to bowls outside their state.
Looking at the numbers, you see that Virginia, NCSU, and GTech are really outliers (to the negative side).
GT and UVA have small alumni bases relative to a lot of schools in FBS and historically don’t travel well. NCSU hasn’t won a conference title in decades and doesn’t get much respect. Unfortunately, they are usually pretty tough if you play them. Clemson is a similar school (although they do have an MNC) and also from a small population state. LSU is a surprise. It seems to be: Are you a regular national title contender(top 5) or someone who never competes for the very top (bottom 5). LSU obviously doesn’t fit that.
The bottom 5 is basically the ACC, which doesn’t seem to have a big fanbase of its own and is not followed by the rest of the country. LSU must be a mistake in their methodology.
I’m beginning to think that the ACC needs to find a way to draw attention to itself. Aside from the attempt at forming a megaconference, Larry Scott has helped the Pac-10 to be in the spotlight by flying all the coaches out to New York for media day. He had the logo redesigned instead of just changing the number on the old logo. He’s been aggressive and open with media rights negotiations, and I expect things will really pay off.
The ACC really ought to have more presence in the national consciousness than it does. Its population base is rather large: Florida, Georgia, North Carolina, and Virginia are among the top 12 most populated states. Va. Tech has been a great program for over a decade. Miami and Florida State draw national ratings as well as anyone.
It’s just amazing how much the strengths of this league aren’t leveraged as well as they could be.
The ACC has a large and fast growing population base, but other than the old ACC core of NC, VA, and MD, they don’t own any other state (Boston’s a pro sports town). Plus, most of the schools are either smaller state schools or privates.
Note that the ACC is also represented at the top.
Because they’re comparing the same bowl from 1 year to the next, they’re partly measuring the difference between schools from the same conferences.
If Miami and Florida State are the best national draws from the ACC, you’d expect a dropoff when Georgia Tech or Clemson is in those same bowls a year before or after.
For LSU, part of the problem is likely that it’s been very good recently. So it goes to the same bowls Florida and Alabama does. While LSU may be a very good national draw, it still is a bit off from those 2 schools.
The designers of the new B1G TEN logo speak out.
If the Big Ten is going to stick with this logo, I really think they need to use the 3 letter one. It looks 10x better than the full name one.
A defense of the new logo from its creator and a designer/writer.
As you can tell from the title, the article makes no attempt to be fair. It mostly repeats the arguments already out there, with a dose of blaming the fans.
The arguments don’t address what I consider the two biggest weakness of the new logo
1. The font looks ugly. The Big Ten is a conference of block letters. Big strong-looking block letters with sharp angles. Hell, most of the schools in the Big Ten that use a letter for their logo use block letters. Then also look clean & classic. The new logo mixes curves with sharp block letter angles, which is ugly (and looks third-gradish).
2. Mixing 3 colors looks bad & makes it hard to customize for each school.
Seriously, where did these folks go to design school? They could go with clean classic (if staid-looking) block letters, or they could opt for fresh and new with dynamic swooshes and curves (like the Pac12 did). Instead, they went with neither and turned in a third-grade project.
Oh, and they should stop blaming football fans; no fans turned on the Pac12’s new logo; the reason that fans find the BigTen’s new logo ugly is because, well, it’s ugly.
Brian and Richard,
a few points.
a) my “old guy theory” in practice
Wealthy, White, Weathered (old)
“However, after Bierut and Gericke interviewed a multitude of people including athletic directors, coaches and presidents of all twelve schools.”
I said in a post long ago that “old” guys make the decision, and you have to think like an old guy (the designers took this too heart I suppose) 🙂
God forbid they do focus groups of actual fans!
b) maybe it is an IU thing but choosing Black / White / Blue is the color scheme of one of my most hated (UK) rivals (and having it on the court in bloomington seems, well, quite insane. Why use your home court to recruit for the other team.
In short I was fine with just the BIG (without the redundant TEN) as long as it was most any other color than my rival OOC (why could they not use BIG, and customize it to each schools colors?). Hence to use Frank’s alma mater (and an upcoming gymnastics meet) and do the B in Illinois Blue, and the IG in Illinois Orange (if anybody has the photoshop skills, do such a logo for each Big 10 school).
I agree blaming the fans was a weak response! Frank, you had an early link to the Big 10 media / marketing folks. Now might be the time to see if they read your blog, as this would be a good focus group! 🙂
Blue and white has been the color scheme. I agree the old blue was better, and I don’t like the black either. I think it should be a blue B with an outlined 1G on a light background (the opposite of the water bottle).
Their focus group was right to not include a 12 or change the name. They were wrong to want the bigger logo.
I’m not a big fan of the font either, but I’m not sure block letters would have worked with their idea (the G/0 similarity would be less – look at the old logo for a comparison).
I think they are all two-color logos at most:
1. Black and blue B1G on light background
2. Black and white B1G on dark background
3. Blue and negative space B1G TEN on light background
4. White and negative space B1G on dark background
5. White and negative space B1G TEN on dark background
The goal seems to be to always have the B/B1G be darker than the 1G/TEN.
I liked the old blue better, but I can see where it would be a problem in the black and blue logo. I think they should use a blue B and negative space 1G on light backgrounds instead of the black/blue logo to eliminate the problem.
I agree with the designers that the B1G logo is better than the bigger version. If you use the full logo, change the 1 to an I and go to block letters. Pick one and stick to it.
In another discussion I referred to the fonts as giving an image of a guy that eats too many doughnuts. And I totally agree with you.
My tree point were 1. Attractive 2. Descriptive and 3. Clever. If they could get two out of 3 in the logo they would have a winner. The hidden eleven in the old logo was clever. The Pac 10 has mountains which are a common lanform in the Pac 10 states. The details within the mountain also look like waves where the pacific ocean is common to most Pac 10 states. If that was the intent it is really clever. Kudos to the Pac 10. They did an excellent job.
A picture is worth a thousand words; that thing is fugly. They need to admit they made a mistake and reboot rather than telling us how dumb we are for not getting it. We get it, it’s just lame.
JJ, if I was a sculpture I would chisel your statement in stone and ship it to the Big Ten office.
I know they check in on this blog. Take head.
Oops, did I just do that? Sorry. I meant to say take heed Big Ten.
Greg, or anyone:
What is that little thing on the hawkeye’s helmet? I know it has been there awhile, is it a football?
A circle with ANF in it. Which stands for America Needs Farmers. Hayden put it on there during the 80s farming crisis, it disappeared some time in the 90s (maybe when Hayden retired?) and it came back about 5 years ago.
Anybody watch the tOSU guys and their press conference? it seemed like they were well “rehearsed” and they repeated each other! So much for a sincere apology! Slightly warmer than the tiger woods speech, but not by much. TP was quite silent on returning. humm
Those things are useless. They never help. It always sounds scripted, especially when you don’t take questions. I understand college players not taking questions, but you might as well just write press releases then.
Besides, since when does a player saying he’s coming back mean anything? They lie about that all the time.
It was scripted. Most if not all were reading off a paper. But I do believe that at this point they were sorry. I would rather have them read of a cue card than have them bale on about something if they are not individuals who feel comfortable speaking in front of crowds. Even if it was just the press, this announcement was extremely personal to each of them.
Huge, huge win for Iowa over Missouri. Missouri being ranked #12 and all, as well as Missouri being picked for this game over Nebraska.
This is especially big considering that this was expected to be a really bad year for the Big Ten across the board considering the match ups.
At least Iowa started it off on the right foot. We’ll have to see whether the rest of the teams can keep up the pace…
BIG WIN for the Hawks! B10 starts 1-0. Kirk now 6-3 in bowls. It will make the offseason a little easier.
Hats off to the Hawkeyes from a Jayhawk.
I turned the TV off late in the game when Missouri went ahead. I really respect this Iowa team and its coaches over the years. But I found some real respect for the Missouri QB. That Gabbert kid is not just an ugly name, but an extremely fine passer. The announcers were explaining how well he was passing in detail, but I did not need them. The young man has NFL written all over him with that arm. And he has a lot of Bret Favre type confidence in it already.
Glad to see Iowa pulled it off.
Beat the Gators!
Nice job IL and Iowa. Let’s hope the B10 does well on the 1st.
Watching the B10-B12 bowl games, it’s really noticeable that the B12 spread teams can’t stop the B10 power running games. Of the 8 B10 bowl teams, 6 (Iowa, UW, MSU, tOSU, Illinois, & PSU) are legit power running teams while the other 2 (NU & Michigan) are spread teams. I don’t think any other conference features that much power running.
Looking forward, PSU-Florida is really the only game left where a spread team is going up against a power running B10 team. However, I’m not sure Arkansas sees the type of power running tOSU will bring, and TCU has a speed defense that will try to handle probably the epitome of the B10 power game when they face Bucky. So there’s optimism for those games. When MSU faces ‘Bama, they’re facing an exact replica (but with faster athletes) while the Michigan-MissSt. game will reverse stereotypes with RichRod’s spread offense/no defense team going up against Dan Mullen’s defense&ball controll-based squad. NU vs. TTech would have featured 2 different types of spread offenses going against each other, but I’m afraid it’s going to be more of a spread offense vs. no offense game.
First we raid them, then we beat them.
In all fairness, the B12 has had the B10’s number in bowl games in recent years, plus, I’m not confident that the trend continues.
But we can enjoy it until Saturday. Even 2-1 is a lot better than the 1-8 record from ’05-’09 bowl games. The Insight Bowl has killed the Big Ten (1-4 since 2006). The Alamo has been bad recently (1-4 since 2005), but is good overall (8-6 since 1996).
Big Ten results versus the Big 12 (Overall: 13-12, Legends: 3-10, Leaders: 10-2)
(NE 3-0 versus Big Ten since 1996)
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