BcS

BcS

Part 1-The Regular Season

We are told that the beauty of the BCS is that the regular season IS the playoff, every game matters and two worthy teams are left standing at the end of the year to do battle on our beloved gridiron to settle once and for all who is the best damn college football team in the land.

This is a lie.

Ask yourself this question; is the college football regular season REALLY that great? Like most of you I’m a diehard Buckeye fan, and while you are pondering the question also take time to think about this:

Here is the Ohio State schedule and results from the month of September:

Opponent Score
Marshall 45-7
Miami 36-24
Ohio 43-7
Eastern Michigan 73-20

While you look at this, keep in mind the cartel behind the BCS has fed us for years that the BCS ensures that the college football regular season will be the most exciting sport in the country. If that is true then why is it the Ohio State 3rd and 4th string QB’s are seeing action in 3 out of OSU’s first 4 games? Is it really that exciting to watch Ohio State pummel East Lollipop Tech to the point that the 6th string running back is getting carries?

For me, it’s not.

I’ve sat in those stands and watched the crowd glaze over with boredom as Joe Bauserman hands off to Carlos Hyde while the Buckeyes are up by 40. Never in my life have I heard 105,000 people so quiet.

The reason Ohio State and every other big dog on the block schedules patsies is because of the BCS. See, it’s actually had the opposite effect than was being advertised. Most teams with the exception of USC and Ohio State and a few others have avoided one another during the regular season. Instead they schedule nothing but lesser schools from lesser conferences to ensure a shot at either a BCS title game or BCS bowl game.

The BCS does not guarantee the college football regular season remains exciting. It guarantees it to be mostly boring, highly predictable and for the most part far too average. Yes, of course there are amazing games throughout the season, but it could be so much better. Imagine a world where Texas isn’t afraid to play Alabama or Michigan is up for a battle against USC. This sport would have a far better regular season and far less drubbings if the BCS just went away in favor of a playoff. What if I told you that Ohio State could have a OOC schedule of Texas, Miami, Arizona and LSU and still have a shot at a national title even if they dropped 1 or 2 of those games? What set of games would you rather see:

OSU vs:

A. Marshall, Miami, Ohio, Eastern Michigan

or

OSU vs:

B. Texas, Miami, Arizona and LSU

If you answered A then you are a giant homer who most likely really isn’t that big of a fan of the game in the first place. Probably a closet bandwagon fan as well.

If you answered B then you recognize what COULD be. Imagine getting a SEC team to come up north for a change. Win or lose it would be a hell of a lot more exciting than watching a totally outmatched opponent collect a check.

Comments

  1. I agree with 100%.

    One question I do have though is how much does having 7-8 home games play into the scheduling. That is, football is obviously the money maker for all of tOSU athletics. The school makes a ton of money off of home games.

    You aren’t going to get LSU or Texas to come to Columbus without a return trip. So in essence you would be losing two home games a year.

    Is that fiscally sustainable?

  2. Kevin @ Fanblogs says

    I can’t believe the damn BCS made Ohio State play Case 23 times, Oberlin 26 times, and Ohio Wesleyan 29 times.

  3. Currently all the networks pay a mint for college football games…including the terrible ones, and there are a lot of terrible ones. The TV rights alone would sky rocket with a bolstered regular season schedule. They would needs shovels for all the extra cash.

    What would a network be more excited about:

    Ohio State vs Youngstown State or Ohio State vs Texas? The dollars would take care of themselves and everyone would be happy.

    I would actually get the NCAA more involved with scheduling and take some of the power away from the AD who have many schedules already made up years in advance. AD’s are often given huge bonuses for getting to bowl games so it’s in their best interest to schedule patsies.

    The NCAA could supplement travel expenses for universities for things such as cheerleaders and/or bands.

    If Ohio State can afford to spend hundreds of thousands of dollars if not millions for MAC teams to stop by in Columbus than they can afford to take 1 or 2 more road games every year.

    So to answer your question, not only do I think it’s fiscally sustainable…I think it’s fiscal goldmine for everyone involved.

  4. @Kevin: Not sure what your point is…

    First off Ohio State hasn’t played Case since 1918 and they only played 7 times, not 23.

    Second off Ohio State hasn’t played Oberlin since 1922 and they only played 8 times, not 26.

    Third off Ohio State hasn’t played Ohio Wesleyan since 1932 and they only played 15 times, not 29.

    I’d be glad to talk about football that has actually happened since 1950 if you’d like. Or we can continue talking about games that took place before World War II.

    I’m guessing the reason OSU played those teams was out of convenience and nothing more.

  5. Kevin @ Fanblogs says

    A couple of quick corrections there, Utah. tOSU played Case 23 times (http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/bigten/ohio_state/opponents_records.php?teamid=582) for an 11-10-2 record. *I’m not sure how many links the blog will let me post, but here are the others… http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/bigten/ohio_state/opponents.php unless you have some other data, I stand by Dave & Tex’s long standing, well-documented data.

    Now, I find it a bit ironic that Ohio State bloggers would blame the BCS for the Bucks choices in scheduling. After all, few teams have benefited from the BCS system as much as the Bucks. To scheduling, no other Big10 school CHOSE to schedule eight home games – only tOSU. The fact remains that tOSU has always chosen to schedule middle rung teams with an occasionally biggie thrown in for good measure. Prior to the 12th approved game, tOSU was routinely playing seven home games – that’s just the way the Bucks choose to schedule. Miami (OH), Cincinnati, Bowling Green, Akron, etc are just the teams that tOSU chooses to schedule. NONE OF THIS is a result of the BCS.

    So, yes – in the most sarcastic tone possible – I can’t believe the damn BCS made Ohio State play Case 23 times, Oberlin 26 times, and Ohio Wesleyan 29 times.

  6. Here is my source:

    http://football.stassen.com/cgi-bin/records/all-opp.pl?start=1869&end=2009&team=Ohio+State&sort=a

    So you are saying that the Buckeyes have benefited greatly from the BCS, yet you don’t believe they schedule their regular season accordingly? Ummm….okay….

    I agree with you…the Buckeyes have benefited greatly from the BCS and believe it or not have scheduled weaker teams to ensure they get to the promise land more often than not.

    It’s not just the Bucks choices in scheduling, but every single major college football program out there.

    And no…the BCS had nothing to do with the in state games you refer to above, but it did have something to do with horrible teams like Marshall, Eastern Michigan, Ohio, Youngstown etc…

    To say otherwise is flat out ignorant.

    Kevin…do you believe the BCS has been a good thing for College Football and if so explain why.

    While I am a huge Buckeye fan, I am also a huge fan of college football and the game is being held hostige by the group that runs the BCS.

  7. Kevin @ Fanblogs says

    Utah, get me two! Your data set is incomplete. The Lilley, Hickey, Ryder, et al early years are missing – at least one decades worth of games are not represented and that’s just a quick look. Respectfully, given the rich history of tOSU, you should really be using College Football Data Warehouse. http://www.cfbdatawarehouse.com/data/div_ia/bigten/ohio_state/index.php

    Now, please don’t attempt to reframe my statement to your argument. I did not make any correlation between tOSU scheduling and the BCS. I pointed out that the Bucks scheduled plenty of chumps before the BCS ever came into existence as a counter-point to the premise of your post (that the BCS has caused tOSU to schedule cupcakes).

    To your point, I do not believe the BCS causes schools to schedule eight home games and refuse home-and-home opportunities. I believe that is an economic choice that some schools have made in the wake of the 12-game regular season. From my perspective, tOSU schedules based on economic interests rather than competitive interests. That is tOSU’s choice. That is their decision. You can argue that the Bucks success within the BCS system has affirmed their decision, but that doesn’t get you to cause.

    As far as the BCS goes, I’m old enough to remember split national championships and the great debates that would rage about USC & Alabama splitting the title… or Colorado/Ga Tech… or Washington/Miami… or any number of split titles. For all its warts, the BCS takes the #1 rated team at the end of the year and makes them play the #2 rated team. You can argue about how the ratings are compiled or other minutia, but you cannot dispute that the BCS puts the teams on the field for a one-game final decision on the championship.

  8. Johnny – I understand your point, and agree with it for the most part. But I think your post is entirely a strawman argument.

    Many folks misunderstand what the BCS is. It absolutely wasn’t created for the purpose of ensuring “…that the regular season IS the playoff, every game matters and two worthy teams are left standing at the end of the year.”

    The BCS was created for one reason only: to allow the teams ranked #1 and #2 to get out of their contractual bowl obligations and play each other. In the few years pre-BCS… time after time the number 1 and 2 teams couldn’t play each other. UM and Nebraska in ’97… OSU or ASU vs Florida in 96… etc. People got tired of the championship being given to the team that happened to finish the season ranked #1 and won a bowl victory against a crappy opponent.

    The statements made about the CFB season being “the most exciting sport there is” or a sport where “every game IS the playoff” have all been in the context of the pros/cons of a PLAYOFF system, not the pros/cons of the BCS.

    And the BCS has nothing to do with OSU or any other elite school scheduling cupcakes. That happened long before the BCS era and will continue as long as schools and states can make $$ doing it.

    In the context of our current system, a loss generally DOES remove someone from a shot at a NC game. In that way alone it is similar to a playoff bracket. Again, not arguing over whether that’s cool or not, fair or not, just that’s the similarity. Has nothing to do with the BCS.

    Sometimes I come off as a BCS supporter… and that’s not the case. My position is this: the BCS is flawed because it relies on faulty polls. The vitriol toward a legal entity doesn’t make sense when it’s the POLLS that screw everything up. If the polls weren’t so dumb, corrupt, and biased, nobody would have any complaints about the BCS whatsoever.

    And while it’s easy to say “get rid of the polls, and lets go straight to a playoff,” few folks have any answer for the changes that would in fact happen to CFB if/when it goes to a playoff system. Again, not that changes aren’t always good or bad things, but they will change the regular CFB season into something different.

    And it’s a case of “be careful what you wish for.” Remember, the BCS that we are lambasting now seemed like a godsend in 1998. Within a few years, folks realized how flawed the execution was and started complaining. What did folks expect? The _exact_ same thing will happen if/when CFB goes to a playoff system. It’ll seem great, until folks realize that the process of choosing the playoff teams is just as biased as choosing the BCS top two, that the same 6 teams will win every year (only the ones that have tons of depth), small schools will never make it through the brackets, and the excitement of the regular season takes a nosedive when the elite coaches start changing gameplans to “play for the playoffs.”

    Anyway – back to my point. The BCS wasn’t originally designed or sold to CFB fans as anything other than getting the top two teams out of their bowl alliances to play each other. Which it has done sucessfully for 12 years now. Unfortunately, it’s done nothing to settle the issue of _who_ those two teams are in the first place – which is the REAL problem that needs solved.

  9. @Kevin-You are right. The BCS does put teams on the field for a one game final decision for the championship…the only problem is the system put in place is subjective and stupid. 90% of fans that love the game agree.

    @SM-I agree with both you and Kevin to a point regarding scheduling as it pertains to the BCS. Weak schedules were around long before the BCS. The BCS is closely tied to the traditional bowl system.

    Let me come at this another way then. It’s the BCS AND the bowl system that have created these weak schedules. Many AD’s and coaches are paid large bonuses for getting to bowl games and/or BCS games. For as long as college football has been around the big dogs have feasted on the weak ass alley cats. And you are both right, they do this for money….bowl money.

    There isn’t a person alive that can tell me that Ohio State vs Alabama in week 3 would make both schools less money than Ohio State vs Eastern Michigan. Even Ohio State traveling to Bama would make OSU money via TV rights, merchandise, advertising. Sure, they may not make money at the gates or on stadium mustard, but the money would come elsewhere.

    To me, the financial argument is null. If Ohio State can pay lollipop U to come in and get smeared for 1 million bucks they can pack up and play a road game or two against good teams. Games an entire nation would want to watch. Not just central Ohio.

    If you don’t believe the BCS, polling system in place now and the one before it drives schools to schedule tons of home games and cream puff opponents then I don’t know what to say.

    Michigan AD Bill Martin tried desperately to find an opponent for this years opening of the renovated big house. He tried SEC schools, Pac-10, Big 12 and so on. He couldn’t get any takers until getting UConn to sign on.

    That is the best they could do….UConn? The truth is, no one wanted to risk going to UM and risking an early season loss, even with a home and home. He sighted Florida specifically. Florida hasn’t played a non conference regular season game on the road since before the BCS started, what does that tell you?

    Martin is quoted as saying, “They don’t penalize you for playing weaker teams. Would we love to play Texas? You bet we would. I’d schedule them right now. We would love to play the traditional schools. But that isn’t how it works anymore.”

    It’s my opinion that with a playoff system in place the regular season would become FAR MORE exciting. After OSU’s loss to Wisconsin the Buckeyes chances of a National Title were gone. Same with last year after the USC then Purdue losses. Though OSU started to roll and won the Big Ten they were not even in the running because of those two losses, even though after the Purdue loss they were a MUCH different team.

    If a playoff system was around Ohio State would still be fighting for a Big Ten title which would mean a first round home game at least or an at large big. I’ll go more into an awesome replacement for the BCS which 90% of college football fans want gone by the way.

    Right now if Wisky and OSU wins out, Wisky will get the possible title shot or Rose Bowl and OSU will get a lesser BCS game. That is nice and all, but I would instead love to be routing for an at large big and another shot at the Badgers.

    If anything teams are going to be scratching and clawing to get into the playoffs and the action will be intense.

    You also mention smaller schools not getting through the brackets. That is hypothetical at best. Based on what teams like BSU and Utah have done in the post season they may fair better than others think they would.

    A playoff also is a check and balance for smaller schools getting title shots. People will go nuts if at the end of the year TCU and BSU are left undefeated and playing for the title. A playoff would force both teams to play real opponents a number of times. No more will people cry that BSU plays a weak schedule if the are able to beat Wisconsin, Auburn and LSU to get to the title game. And if they lose, guess what…they didn’t deserve to be there and it was settled on the field by players and coaches….not some gaggle of biased humans and a Macbook Pro.

  10. @Kevin – There’s some points you are horribly mistaken on. You mention in state schools as being schedules as patsies. 1.)Ohio State played in state schools because the travel budgets are nowhere what they are currently. 2.) Current performance is not indicative of past performance. Oberlin used to be a good team and in fact was the last in state school to beat Ohio State. Ohio State also wasn’t a powerhouse initially either. In fact in the 1800s they beat Ohio State in two games by a combined score of 90-0. That doesn’t scream patsie to me. Ohio Wesleyan posted undefeated and 1 loss seasons for quite some time.

  11. @Johnny – good points.

    I think UM couldn’t get a decent opponent because (1) it was short notice and (2) they’ve completely stunk up the joint the past few years… to risky to make the trip for a team that hasn’t been ranked or been to a bowl game in years.

    BTW: Florida has played nonconference on the road… Fla St. However, they haven’t left their own state for a nonconference matchup in 17 years. Reason? Greed… and fear.

    All of the points you made about a playoff are noted, but are the same things that everyone has been saying for years. All the _really important_ questions are still being ignored: how do the teams get chosen for the playoffs? Better not say “the top 8 teams in the BCS” because the entire point is that the BCS is a horrible flawed mess… but I guess it’s OK to use it after all? Do we go with a committee, a’la CBB? The catch is that the committee there has like 60-some-odd teams, and every year there’s a fairness issue. Could you imagine the fairness issues that would accompany a committee choosing only 8 teams?

    And there most definitely would be a negative impact on the regular season. Consider this: one of the main points of your post was how boring those early patsy games were – I completely agree. The primary reason they were boring, though, was because the starters that we love to watch play were out by the 2nd or 3rd quarter. We like to be all noble and think that the main reason the coach pulls the starters is because he doesn’t want to run up the score… but in fact, from the coaching perspective, the primary reason is that it’s not worth risking injury to starters once a game is in-hand.

    The exact same attitude would carry through in a playoff situation. No coach worth his salt would play starters for whole games if a playoff spot was locked up. If OSU fans think that Tressel wouldn’t sit Pryor for the majority of Iowa or UM, they’re deceiving themselves. He already DOES sit Pryor when he’s saving him for later games.

    Again, not that I’m against a playoff. I’d just like folks to come up with some solutions to the real questions.

    And No. Way. would a smaller cinderella school ever make it through a CFB bracket. Take, for instance, Boise beating a mediocre Oklahoma a few years ago. Great victory, showed the nation that “boise could play with the big boys,” etc. But Boise spent four entire weeks preparing for OK, and it took them four quarters of trick plays, exhasting every bit of their starters with tons of injuries, and finally winning the game in OT on a statue of liberty play. Could you imagine if that team went back to the locker room afterwards and said “oh crap… we’ve got USC in six days, and OSU six days after that.” Only the deep teams that have little dropoff between 1st/2nd/3rd string could ever handle a gauntlet like that. Boise’s starters may be able to compete with OSU’s starters, especially if they’re not beat up and they’ve had weeks or months to prepare. But no way does Boise or Utah have the depth that one of the elite schools do. It’s not like Basketball, where one small school will always rally to make it – in CFB that would never happen. It’ll always be Texas/USC/OSU/OK etc.

  12. @SM-If the NFL, and literally every single level of football other than division 1 can come up with a playoff format that a vast majority of fans love than it can be done for D1 as well.

    There are a couple groups that have really good ideas on the matter and I’ll share those ideas next week.

    As far as smaller schools making it through a bracket…on paper you are right, it may never happen. But you know what? I would rather see it play out on the field rather than in internet forums.

    Tressel and other coaches would never dream of sitting Pryor and other players with home field advantage on the line. They would also not risk pissing off fans and boosters by mailing it in and if anything OSU would need those wins just to make the playoffs. With the few games they play in college you can’t risk throwing games and expect to make the playoffs.

  13. @Johnny – I agree that it is a solvable problem. I’m only arguing that the changes that would need to be made to make it happen would absolutely change quite a bit of what _currently_ makes CFB exciting and fun. Again, not that changes are always “good” or “bad.” But different – absolutely.

    I do still disagree with:
    >>Tressel and other coaches would never dream of sitting Pryor and other players with home field advantage on the line. They would also not risk pissing off fans and boosters by mailing it in<< No way... I think you've gotta think in the mindset of what would _change_ in a playoff system. Fans, boosters, administrators, etc would define coaching success by getting into the playoffs. So if a starting QB got hurt while playing in "optional" time, you'd better believe that the coach would be eviscerated. It's what the NFL is already doing... playoff bound teams rarely use their starters once their spots are captured. Overall, though, I still agree with almost all of your points. Looking forward to your second part!

  14. @Monkey RE: resting players.

    This is why the Death To The BCS plan is the best. Do you really think that fans would complain if a star player got hurt in what you call “optional time” if the result of that game is the difference between 3 home playoff games and 3 road playoff games?

    Also, consider that winning the Big Ten means winning the final game starting next year, and the same is true in most other conferences. When exactly is this “optional time” going to occur? You aren’t often going to have situations where teams can coast for even a week leading into the CCG. Even if you do, taking a loss to preserve player health is putting a potential at-large berth (should you lose that CCG) in serious jeopardy OR lowering your playoff seed (should you win) and costing a shot at some home games.

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