My Unsolicited Opinions on the College Football Playoff

In no particular order…

  1. There’s an irony that we’re arguing about whether we need 2, 4 or 8 teams for a proper playoff. If this was the old days, Alabama would go win the Sugar Bowl, finish 14-0, and there wouldn’t be a discussion about it.
  2. You can’t make Conference Championships part of the parameters for making the College Football Playoff if the Conference Championship criteria is based on arbitrary regional divisions. Get rid of the divisions and have the best 2 teams in the conference play for the title. Otherwise the designation is just ceremonial.
  3. In the world of, “Things that would never happen,” I would actually prefer that all of the Conferences be constrained to 10 teams (taking us back to a Power 6) and that each Conference had a schedule where everyone played each other. Then you don’t need a meaningless Conference championship game because…
  4. …By the way, did anyone else notice that no one attended the Conference Championship games? Stadiums were 1/2 empty.
  5. So if you didn’t need Conference Championship games anymore, that weekend would be your 1st round of the 8 team playoff. 6 Conference Champions and 2 wild cards. Now that would be a fun weekend of football.

Ok, so if you implemented my plan, your top 8 this year would be something like: 1) Alabama (SEC champ)    2) Clemson (ACC champ)   3) Washington (PAC 12 champ)   4) Penn St  (Big 10 champ)   5) Oklahoma (Big 12 Champ)    6) Someone like Louisville, Pittsburgh, etc… (Champ of the new Big East)   7) Ohio St (Wild Card)    8) Michigan (Wild card).

Winners go on to the New Years Eve Final 4. Losers get to play in the other New Years 6.

Now that’d been an entertaining round of football. Once it was re-seeded, that weekend would have been fun to watch. Way better than having to slog through Florida, Colorado or Wisconsin posing their way in fake Championship games.

But again, no one asked me. So at least we get 4 really good teams. That’s better than nothing. Unless you are Penn St or Michigan…

Unbalanced Schedule Could Play Huge Role in Pac-12 South

This may sound a little like sour grapes, but it’s not.  This is n’t a complaint, merely an observation.

Thanks to USC’s fall from dominance, the Pac-12 South is a very competitive race this year.  You have two distinctly bad teams in Utah and Colorado, then 4 teams with a legitimate shot to play in the Pac-12 championship game – USC, UCLA, ASU and Arizona.  So lets say they all sweep Utah and Colorado and everyone beats each other a couple of times in their other 3 games.  That puts everyone one game within each other in the division games, and causes the 4 games versus the North to be the deciding factor.

Here’s where the unbalanced schedule plays a huge role.  Up in the North, you also have 2 bad football programs, in WSU and Cal.  But you have 2 teams who have spent time in the top 25 (Stanford and UW), one who has spent time in the top 10 (OSU) and 1 who is a National Championship contender (Oregon).  The 4 teams you draw out of this group of 6 are hugely important.

So let’s look at the Pac 12 South teams contending for the title, and who they drew from the North:

Arizona: Oregon, OSU, Stanford, Washington
ASU: Cal, Oregon, OSU, WSU
UCLA: Cal, OSU, Stanford, WSU
USC: Cal, Oregon, Stanford, Washington

If you are a UCLA fan, you have to be excited that the Bruins are the only ones who don’t face Oregon.  That’s 1 loss everyone else is getting that you won’t have. Not only do you miss Oregon, you GOT both WSU and Cal. So that’s 2 wins you should have gotten (but didn’t).

ASU probably netted out 2nd best.  They get the Oregon loss, but they skip OSU and Washington.  They should get at least 2 wins in the mix from WSU and Cal.

USC got a fairly tough road.  They have to face Oregon, Stanford and Washington – all tough games, with only one respite – Cal.

Meanwhile, it’s the Arizona Wildcats who had to run the whole North Gauntlet, and they paid the price, finishing 1-3 against their Northern foes.

It’s a quandary every 12 team conference faces, so this isn’t sour grapes on my part.  But here in Pac 10 country, we didn’t have this problem in past years.  When you have 1 team that is an outlier for being uber talented, and a couple teams as outliers as under talented, it really makes for a giant wild card.

My $.02 on this year’s BCS

I don’t like teams from Oklahoma. I root against any team that Clay Bennett may possibly want to support. That’s what makes this so hard for me to say.

Oklahoma State deserves to play LSU for the BCS title.

That actually hurt me to say.

Now, do you remember the old days, when there was no overtime? In that situation, LSU and Alabama Version 1.0 would have ended 6-6. Both teams would have ended the season 12-0-1. It would be clear that we needed another 60 minutes to settle things.

However, we have overtime. We have Conference Championship games. And we have Conference champions.

Now, I would argue that the SEC Championship was a farce caused by the impractical practice of artificially manufacturing a divisional split of East vs West or North vs South. What we should have had in the SEC was SEC #1 play SEC #2. LSU vs Alabama for the SEC Championship. Winner goes to the BCS. That’s real drama. (For the record, we also saw this play out in the Pac-12. We should have seen Stanford at Oregon, not UCLA at Oregon. The divisional thing is just dumb.)

But we didn’t have that. The SEC created their rules, and their rules caused Alabama to be shut out of their own Conference Championship game. So Alabama should feel aggrieved, upset and annoyed, but they should be taking their case up with their Conference while they prep for the Sugar Bowl or whatever their best option for a non-BCS title would be.

Meanwhile…

    – Oklahoma St won their conference. Granted, the Big 12 without Nebraska isn’t the same, but it isn’t Conference USA or the Mountain West. They are a Conference Champion from a top 4 Conference.
    – Alabama has already lost to LSU. Stanford lost to Oregon who lost to LSU.
    – Boise State and Houston had to go 13-0 for any legitimate claim.
    – The other Top 4 Conference Champions have 2 losses (Oregon and Wisconsin).

So, in lieu of 2 undefeated teams, Oklahoma State is the only 1 loss Conference Champion from a Top 4 Conference.

Alabama fans – you had your chance. You actually had two chances if you count Overtime as a redemption. You blew them both. You should be out.

We should be seeing LSU vs Oklahoma State.

My Annual Stupid Idea for College Football

So I’ve seen way more college football than I expected to this year.  In addition to more Husky games than usual, accompanying a graduating senior on some college tours gave me the chance to catch games at WSU and Oregon.  A few quick notes:

  • Oregon fans – You have a cute little minor league stadium, in a cute little minor league town, with a team full of players who are a step away from prison, and a ga-billionaire benefactor who is willing to fund underwater treadmills and have his own little real-life fantasy football team.  Feel free to show a modicum of class and act like you’ve been there before.  You’ve had a good 15 year run, but no national championships.  Unless you actually work at Nike or helped recruit a kid from Houston Junior College, show a little dignity.  Oh, and to the guy in Sec 29, row 24, seat 14 – find a rule book.  
  • Oregon State Fans – How on earth have you guys not showed up at Adidas with a whiteboard and video projector to convince them to go pound for pound against the Nike money in Duck Country?  For that matter, where are you UW?  No one can convince Adidas that it would be a good thing to undercut Oregon?
  • WSU fans – God I hope revenue sharing works in your favor.  Otherwise, I just don’t see how you compete in the Pac-10 much longer.
  • UW fans – I never realized how bad Husky Stadium was.  Take away the view and it’s the worst spot in the Pac-10.  Your renovation is well-deserved.  And I hope it turns out nicer than Oregon’s little stadium with the huge pressbox.

Anyway, every year I throw out a stupid idea for the BCS, and this year I’m early.  I’ve shifted my opinions some for a simple reason.  College Presidents love the Bowl system.  Think about it.  If you are the President of Penn State, every year your team will make SOME bowl.  And for 2 weeks in the middle of cold-ass December/January, instead of being bunked up in Happy Valley, you get an all expense paid vacation to someplace warm.  For 2 weeks, you and your 100 closest friends get to live the high life in a place that isn’t under 12 feet of snow.  Why on earth would you ever give that up for a playoff system?

So my focus this year is not on the BCS schools.  It’s on the non-BCS conferences that always feel screwed.  Here’s what I say to you.

You need to be flexible.  And you need a “Champions” League.

If you want a National Championship shot, you need to make sure all your top teams have a harder schedule.  But the big guys won’t play you.  So you need to get creative.

All of you non BCS conferences need to split into 6 team mini-conferences for football.  So you play 5 “conference games.”  Then, all the top non-BCS conference teams roll into a 7 team “Champions League.”  So your schedule looks like this:

  • 1 game non conference – Try to get a BCS team on your schedule.
  • 5 game Conference schedule.
  • 6 game Champions league (or non-Champions League) schedule.

Why do this?  Well here would be the 7 team gauntlet for the non-BCS Champions League if we implemented that today: 

  • TCU (10-0)
  • Boise ST (10-0)
  • Utah (8-1)
  • UCF (7-2)
  • Houston (5-4)
  • Temple (8-2)
  • Northern Ill (7-2)

Now tell me that if Boise St or TCU runs the table with all the best teams from all the best non-BCS conferences, that they don’t deserve a spot in the Big Show?

Anyway, that’s this year’s dumb idea.