Premature BCS Hysteria.

You've Got to Let Teams Buckle.

A little research into the archives here and I see that I used to talk about college football quite a bit.  This year, if you take away Andrew Luck speculation, you’ve got a giant doughnut in that category.  The goose egg.  I’m not sure what my problem is.  Perhaps if Penn State can finally shake Joe Pa and rebuild a national power I can go back to my de facto fandom of the Nittany Lions.  I say this as Penn State currently boasts one of the worst 7-1 teams of all-time.  No false hopes of Rose Bowl glory here.

Maybe the reason I don’t talk about college football that much anymore is that the stories seem to keep repeating themselves.  Some program is in trouble with the NCAA.  Some SEC school is dominating the polls, and everyone still hates the BCS.  That’s about it, right?  The venom for the BCS standings ripened early this year.  I think the poll has been out for a grand total of 2-weeks and already we’re developing worst case scenarios–Rick Reilly says 43 teams could go undefeated, then what?  I understand the desire to point at the flaws of the system as soon as possible, because everyone hates it, but the BCS can’t really get it wrong until the last week of the season.  That’s when we’ll know which teams got screwed.  You’ve got give them a chance to buckle.

One thing I do like about college football is the volatility at the top of the rankings.  I love how everyone perceives a team to be a sure thing and then they just throw in that stink bomb as college teams are prone to do and it turns the rankings on their head.  I love those weekends when 3 of the top-5 teams lose and it sends everyone scuffling to recreate national title scenarios.  The reason I like it is because people seem to fall irrationally in love with college teams.  If a college team starts 5-0 we just fast forward them to 12-0.  They’re great.  They win by 40 points a week.  No one can beat them.  Then, they lose to Michigan State on a Hail Mary.  Whoops.

I guess it’s that element of college football where you have to go undefeated.  If the Packers start 12-0 and then lose the next week it doesn’t matter.  If a college team does that, it could ruin their whole season.  I get that part of college football’s appeal, and I appreciate the do-or-die nature of all these games.  We’ve got to let the teams finish ruining their seasons, though, before we tear apart the BCS.  They’ll be plenty of time to do that people, relax.  I guarantee Boise gets screwed again. Save your breath.

What I’m saying is, let’s make sure Clemson is going to go undefeated before we start lamenting their fate.  I’m fairly sure they might lose a game somewhere down the line here, and we won’t have to worry about it.  That pains me to say, because no one is a bigger Dabo Swinney fan than this guy, but let’s relax on the Clemson Tigers for a few seconds.

That isn’t to say the BCS doesn’t have flaws.  My personal favorite glitch for this week has Nebraska sitting at #14 and Wisconsin sitting at #15. Perhaps you’ll remember the result when these teams did something revolutionary.  They actually played each other.  Wisconsin won 48-17.  But, Nebraska is just a nose better in the BCS.  Makes sense.

Then there is the whole concern over SEC bias.  People are already concerned that if the Alabama/LSU game in two weeks is close that the BCS will have them play a rematch for the National title.  I guess losing to LSU or Alabama is actually better for your resume than beating almost any other team in the country.  The dominance of the SEC puts college football in an odd position.  The Bama/LSU game could very well be the match-up of the best two teams in the country, but do you really want to promote that?  If you do, you’re essentially saying that the game is for the National Championship.  Again, maybe that will prove to be true, but it takes away from the rest of the season, doesn’t it?  How can we get excited for Oklahoma/Oklahoma St. if both those teams are just perceived as SEC fodder?

I guess if everything plays out to form right now the National Championship game would feature the LSU/Bama winner playing Oklahoma St.  Oklahoma torched their best chance on Saturday against Texas Tech.  The upside of this match-up would be a lot of Mike Gundy highlights.   But, who out there really thinks OSU can pull it off?  They’ve got no credibility. Assuming they lose to K-State or Oklahoma, or even Texas Tech, then I guess the scenario would become either Stanford vs. the SEC winner or an SEC rematch.

Personally, I want to see Luck in the national title game.  It satisfies my interest in terms of projecting Luck into the league I care about–the NFL.  And, I think it will produce an uncommon level of disrespect for Stanford’s supporting cast.  It will be Luck vs. LSU.  Or, Luck vs. Alabama.  He’ll be cast as Danny Manning, the NFL-ready stud taking the rag-tag bunch of walk-ons and castoffs down to face the team made up of all 5-star recruits.  Can Stanford handle the speed of LSU?  No, can Luck handle it?   I would assume there would probably also be some borderline inappropriate pieces about the two schools’ academic disparity.

I realize this post was a rambling mess, but the moral was, don’t whine about college football teams that are going to lose in a couple of weeks anyway, and I want to see Luck in the national title game.  Tell me why I’m wrong.



14 thoughts on “Premature BCS Hysteria.

  1. i think them losing is why people watch though. You never know what you’re going to get, b/c these are kids regardless of what the pundits say. It’s jarring to go to a game and see w guy like Clowney take his helmet off and he has a baby face on top of a body that looks like an in shape Shaq. Week to week, you don’t know what you’re getting b/c everything is riding on the poise of some 19-20yr old kid. Isn’t that the fun of it?

    • yeah, I like the upsets. I wanted to give that impression. And, yeah, the fact that they are teenagers does increase the margin of error I think a good bit. I’m more trying to say, let all the upsets sort themselves out before we start throwing a fit about the BCS.

  2. At least Penn State will get exposed for how bad/good they truly are in the coming weeks. It could real ugly here for them, and yes, hopefully, finally propel them announce a succession plan for JoePa (Urban Meyer?). Or of course, they could somehow squeak out wins that they shouldn’t have and be part of the reason everyone hates the BCS.

    By the way, is there a good alternative to the BCS? Everyone bitches about it, but who out there has suggested something that could truly be viable? Even if you started a tournament, wouldn’t there be a discrepancy on what teams made the tournament initially?

  3. It’ll be interesting to see how Penn State ends up. They could easily lose out, but Ilinois and Ohio State are winnable games. I think they’re playing a little better, but they’ll likely get rolled by Wisconsin and Nebraska. They need a recruiter, especially someone that can recruit a QB. I wouldn’t be thrilled to see Meyer’s offense, but I know he’d upgrade the talent in a big way.

    In terms of the BCS, I think it’s an improvement over what came before it, but I think most people would prefer an 8 team tournament, or something, maybe 12 teams like the NFL. Obviously, no matter where you cut it off, teams get left out, but how many teams do you truly believe could be the best this year? LSU, Alabama, OK, OK State, Wisc, Stanford, Clemson–already some of those are pushing it…

    The trade off is you lose the epic status of these big regular season games like ‘Bama/LSU. It’s likely both would get into the playoff, unless you limited it to 1 team per conference, which would then preserve the status of the game. But, that more than likely fits a 4 team playoff scenario, because there aren’t 8 legit conferences.

    it’s all about doing the best you can to identify the winner. A lot of years 99.9% of the people would be satisfied with one more game (for example if Stanford, OK State and LSU go unbeaten this year). So, anything that moves in that direction, I’m in favor of.

  4. I think the reason the tournament doesn’t necessarily fit is because college football doesn’t lend itself to a tournament format. there are too many teams and you can’t play football twice in 3 days…

    if there were 32 D-1 schools, I think it’d be a no-brainer, but you’ve got all these teams to have them playing for 8 spots is never going to sit well with the people making the decisions.

  5. Here’s a scenario… 4 mega-conferences with the winners making up a 4-Team Tournament for the National Championship. The basis for the conferences are the Pac 12, Big 10, SEC, and a ACC/Big East Hybrid. Individual conference tourneys to name a champion of each conference. Bonus: Notre Dame is banned from all 4 conferences and therefore can never win a national championship.

  6. Nothing will ever be perfect, but an 8 team format is better than what you have now and these teams have a month/month and a half off so there’s room to squeeze in games. Additionally, b/c teams tend to be imperfect there’s obviously more than one that could win it all. I guess in the end it’s the question of do you want one game that people say “we think these are the two best teams in our best estimation, let’s see them play” which acknowledges that there’s human error to it in that teams are left out and the polls could be a little off or do you want a system where 8 teams make it and one of them could-like a boise or an ok st-could get hot and win it all? In some ways the BCS could be a better system b/c you’re agreeing that kids will have up and down moments as amateurs, so just b/c one team gets hot for 3 weeks that doesn’t mean they were the best all season.

    • as a casual fan that’s the part of the BCS I like. I like that it ignores the little schools. I want that name value, but like I said, that’s me not being a die-hard. I’m 10 times more likely to watch LSU/OKLA than I am Boise/Clemson.

      that said, I don’t see too many “upset” teams making it through a football tournament.

  7. I’d be all for the mega-conference plan, but I don’t think the schools would ever be able to organize themselves in such a manner. the re-alignment, as it goes now, is pretty much a mess, and it’s totally screwing over college basketball.

  8. No way in hell Clemson runs the table. They lose this weekend to Georgia Tech.

    Oklahoma St.? Not a chance in hell they get through their schedule either.

    LSU v. Luck and I say the kid from Stanford looks bad in the loss.

    I still say you take the conference winner of all 11 conferences an then add 5 at-large teams and have a field of 16 play for the whole thing.

    You get the drama of each week meaning a lot because a conference loss will cripple a team’s chances of making the tourney and it’s hard for a team to bitch about not getting an at-large because they had evert opportunity to win during the regular season.

    This also would have prevented teams from forming super conferences. How many teams would want to join a 16-team league if only 1 or maybe 2 of you emerge at the end for a chance to play for a naitonal title?

    I say it every year, so chalk it up as Groundhog Day.

  9. don’t you think the 16 team tourney brings up the shortening the schedule issue?

    you could end up with two teams playing 16 or 17 games?

    and, if you try to shorten the season that won’t fly, because teams love their home games and you’d be doing it so the perennial top-teams can get their extra playoff games, meanwhile the run of mill teams get knocked down to 10 or 11 games.

    • Have one “preseason” game where a school like Western Kentucky goes to Bama for the first game of the year and the rest of the games are conference games.

      Then you take the top two teams and play a conference championship game played at the top-seeds home stadium. This gives some incentive for winning the regualr season title and it allows teams to get an extra home game and the added revenue of a conference championship game.

      And then in postseason the higher seed hosts games until you get to the Final Four where you go to a neutral site.

      Imagine if Temple wins the MAC and they head down to Okalahoma for a playoff game? It gives Temple exposure, Oklahoma gets an extra home game and Oklahoma has an opportunity to win a National Championship despite losing to Texas Tech.

  10. Nice attendance for MNF in Jax- embarassing franchise.

    Is it really that hard to pick what the NFL would think would be good games for MNF and SNF before the season? Jax, Miami, Minnesota, st louis should not be prime time ever

  11. well, i enjoyed this post. despite being ambivalent about football in general (except when the Pats are involved)…so, college football i great in the sense that it still feels pretty athletic to me. lil less line-protecting, defense-thrusting…than the NFL. i’m not that naive to think hits don’t happen hard and often, my brother is living proof that crap starts at age 8 in the game. but i’d be willing to say the prevalence is a lil less, with a lil more room for strategery, if i my quote Bush…when the guys go pro, so do their bodies and growth hormones and it just looks more gladiator than sport. that is why i used to like college football, but i admit…the whole bowl thing, anticlimactic.


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