Sunday, December 02, 2007

It's all a bunch of B(C)S

Two things are abundantly clear to me. First, I don't exactly know what I'm talking about in predicting bowl matchups. Second (and most importantly), this season proves beyond a shadow of a doubt that college football desperately needs some form of a playoff bracket.

In watching the BCS bowl selections this afternoon, each analyst (and many others since) have said many things along the lines of:
"Well, if it were the two best teams as of right now..."
"The team that looks most like a national title contender is..."

The general feeling I get with a lot of the commentary for this BCS title game between Ohio State and LSU is reluctant acceptance. Numerous experts have decreed that teams like USC and Georgia are the two top-performing teams in the country right now. Why can't they get a crack at the title? Their losses came much earlier than those suffered by LSU. What about the fact that Hawaii is the only undefeated team in the country? Don't they deserve a shot?

The bowl matchups this season, specifically the BCS match ups, feature 10 outstanding teams that all could argue they deserve a shot at the national title. Let's look at the Top 10 ranked BCS schools:


1. Ohio State: The Buckeyes hold the top spot in both human polls that factor into the BCS formula. They have lost only once - to another BCS-bound team - and won their conference. No other BCS conference champion finished the season with one loss.

2. LSU: The Tigers held the top spot in the polls for a good chunk of the season. Their only losses came in a pair of triple overtime showdowns. And, oh by the way, they won the mighty SEC while defeating seven ranked teams along the way.

3. Virginia Tech: The ACC champion Hokies finished the season with two losses, but came into last week ahead of LSU in the BCS. While LSU defeated #14 Tennessee in their conference championship game, VaTech knocked off #11 Boston College by a bigger margin. If the Hokies led LSU in the standings last week, why should they be leapfrogged this week?

4. Oklahoma: BOOMER!!! SOONER!!! BOOMER!!! SOO- Okay, enough of that. But OU does have a point. They just defeated the top-ranked team in the nation for - that's right - the second time this season to capture the Big XII title. And in doing so, they proved they can compete with anyone. Their only two losses: on the road by one possession each.

5. Georgia: The consensus seems to be that the two hottest teams in the country right now are Georgia and USC. Tough to argue with that Georgia has done in recent weeks. They've won six straight games to finish their SEC schedule, and they went into this past weekend at #4 in the BCS. Because the top two teams lost, you'd think that #3 and #4 would move up. Not so fast, however, as the Bulldogs not only failed to win their conference but their division as well.

6. Missouri: Should a team be punished for making their conference championship game? If the Big XII had the same format as the Big Ten or Pac 10, Missouri would have stayed ranked #1 and destined for the BCS championship bowl. Now they are on the outside of not just the title game but the entire system. And the team they knocked off to advance to the Big XII championship (Kansas) snuck in behind them.

7. USC: Much like the Bulldogs of Georgia, the Trojans are a team that no one wants to play right now. Then again, if Stanford can beat 'em.... (nevermind). Southern California wrapped up the Pacific-10 conference for the sixth straight year, advancing to a record sixth-consecutive BCS bowl. While the Trojans will head across town for their record 32 Rose Bowl appearance, coach Pete Carroll's words after beating UCLA made it clear he thinks the Trojans deserve at least a shot. Said Carroll, "We'll play anybody, anywhere, anytime," he said. "I know this isn't the system and we don't get to. We wish we could keep playing. If there was a way to keep playing games and see who would win and be the last team standing, we'd love to have that opportunity."

[By the way, doesn't it seem like the idea that Carroll is describing - a system where they could "keep playing games and see who would win and be the last team standing" - resembles the rough outline of a playoff? Just a thought.]

8. Kansas: Don't the Jayhawks have a better record than LSU, Virginia Tech, Georgia, Oklahoma, Missouri and USC? Well, if the Jayhawks have a better record than LSU, why not get a shot at a championship? None of those teams have a one-loss record like KU (ignore the fact that they are not conference champs and played the weakest rated schedule out of 119 Division I-Football Bowl Subdivision teams).

9. West Virginia: So what if WVU has two losses? Who doesn't! And why should the Mountaineers be punished for a loss late in the season versus a loss early? Isn't an 11-2 record the same across the board?

10. Hawaii: Hey all you on the mainland! Aloha. What's going on? The Warriors hung loose all season long just waiting for a chance to become the third non-BCS team to make a BCS bowl. But the Warriors are not just another Boise State or Utah. Hawaii is the only undefeated team in Division I-A. They have the best record. Period. It's a perfect season. It's not their fault that none of the big boys will schedule them. And Hawaii is trying. In 2003 and 2004, they played a home and home versus USC during the Trojans' two-year title run. So, it's not like they're pulling a Kansas and scheduled dogs.


Because of the system we have, unfortunately eight of these teams don't have a chance to play for the national championship. But just imagine if there was a playoff system in place. No computers, just logic. (I know, it's too simple of a solution, but bear with me.)

For a team to be eligible for a BCS bowl, they have to be ranked significantly high in the BCS standings. So if there was a playoff, let's include 12 teams. Why 12? Well, this season of college football proved the "any given Sunday" theory of the NFL translates to the college game (i.e., Stanford over USC, Pittsburg over WV, Florida State over Boston College, and pesky Appalachian State's stunner over Michigan). So to make sure we get it relatively right - and lord knows that's not happening with the current system - 12 teams will have a shot.

What would you think of these seeded match ups in the first round:

(1) Ohio State - bye

(8) Kansas vs. (9) West Virginia

(5) Georgia vs. (12) Florida

(4) Oklahoma - bye

(2) LSU - bye

(7) USC vs. (10) Hawaii

(6) Missouri vs. (11) Arizona State

(3) Virginia Tech

The higher ranked teams in the first-round match ups (in this example: Georgia, Missouri, USC and Kansas) would host those games. It's a simple solution. The remaining games will feed into the current major BCS Bowls and then some (see below).

Here's your first round:
host teams italicized
(5) Georgia vs. (12) Florida
(6) Missouri vs. (11) Arizona State
(7) USC vs. (10) Hawaii
(8) Kansas vs. (9) West Virginia

From there, let's just use the example of all favorites advancing. Now your match ups are as follows:
(1) Ohio State vs. (8) Kansas
(2) LSU vs. (7) USC
(3) Virginia Tech vs. (6) Missouri
(4) Oklahoma vs. (5) Georgia

The second round would then use a combination of second-tier bowls and major BCS bowls to hosst the contests. There are so many bowls out there, and lord knows some of the teams that are playing in these bowls don't deserve a postseason (hello, UCLA). By having 32 bowls, some of these contests are forced to feature mediocre 6-6 teams that are barely qualified to watch the postseason. By using the second-tier bowls to host some playoff games, the third- and fourth-tier bowls would be forced to take the better teams, eliminated the riff-raff of 7-5 and 6-6 squads.

There are now seven games remaining to be played. A rotation between the Outback Bowl, Capital One Bowl, Pacific Life Holiday Bowl, and the Gator Bowl would have two of these four teams each year host a second-round playoff game. The remaining games would be hosted by the four major BCS bowls (Rose, Orange, Sugar and Fiesta) as well as the historic Cotton Bowl which will be moving to the new Dallas Cowboys stadium, which promises to be the grandest sports venue in the world. Those five major bowls (now including the Cotton Bowl with that first-tier, as it rightfully should be) would rotate years between hosting second-round playoff games, semifinals and the championship.

How is this for a second round:
Capital One Bowl
(1) Ohio State vs. (8) Kansas

AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic
(4) Oklahoma vs. (5) Georgia

Gator Bowl
(3) Virginia Tech vs. (6) Missouri

The Rose Bowl presented by Citi
(2) LSU vs. (7) USC

Assuming all favorites win to make this example easier, the semifinals would then look like this:
FedEx Orange Bowl
(1) Ohio State vs. (4) Oklahoma

Tostitos Fiesta Bowl
(2) LSU vs. (3) Virginia Tech

And the championship game this year would be played in where it is scheduled to be played:
Allstate Sugar Bowl
(1) Ohio State vs. (2) LSU

The exciting thing about this system is the fact that we could in fact have a true national champion and a consensus national champion. There would never again be a split national title. In fact, that was the promise of the BCS -- until 2003, of course.

I'm sure there are plenty of flaws in this system I've created. First thing that comes to mind: when do you play all these games. From here, the NCAA would then disallow teams to schedule the extra game they get to play and/or take away the conference championship games (conference titles would be determined by record as in previous years).

Like I said, I know my suggestion isn't perfect. But hey, at least it isn't as screwed up as the BCS!

I'd love to know what you think of this system. Please post your comments along with suggestions for this can work.

No comments:

Hit Counter

Everyone's visiting the NO JOSHIN' blog. Tell your friends to take a look!
Hit Counter