Monday, November 15, 2010

A Regular Season College Football Fans Could Be Excited For

Oh college football regular season, how you bore… The BCS supporters would have you believe that the BCS is amazingly awesome because “every game counts” or “it makes the regular season matter so much” or “the regular season is the playoffs.”

So for a moment, lets forget about the ridiculousness of calling a system that eliminates undefeated teams a playoff. Forget the money involved, forget discrimination, and bad poll voters and broken computer formulas.

Lets just think about how the BCS actually effects the regular season in a manner of  what truly “matters” to the end goal – a championship. Effectively there are now three weekends remaining in the Division I college football season, and we’re all bored. So bored Pat Forde even spent his space as an ESPN columnist to writing about how boring it is.

TCU and Boise may once again
be playing for nothing
So boring that rather than analyzing potential upcoming matchups, we’re listening to analysts blab about how they think TCU’s close game against a 7-win SDSU doesn’t bode well for them, but pay no attention to Oregon’s close call with a crummy Cal team… because they say so. Regardless of the reasoning behind the Mark Mays of the world, the reason they are giving the opinion, is because that’s all there is to talk about right now, because we’re all bored. Why?

With 3 weeks remaining in the “every game is a playoff” regular season, we’ve already decided the championship game matchup. We’ve even decided on the two alternates for that matchup. The stage was actually set a week ago when Alabama lost to LSU. If there is anything to happen to our championship situation, it must come in the remaining regular season for Auburn or Oregon.

Including conference championship games there are 131 games remaining in Division I… but only 4 of them matter in respect to the championship (Oregon has two and Auburn has two): only 3% of remaining games definitely matter.

If you include the possibilities where Oregon or Auburn lose and then include remaining games for championship alternates TCU/Boise State (possibly LSU) as potentially mattering then it goes up to 8-10 games or 6-8%.

We’re leading in to the BCS post-season and only 3-8% of the remaining season matters? What a shame in a season like 2010 where so many conferences, rankings and bragging rights are still up for grabs.

The Alternative
: In the past we’ve proposed a 16-team playoff with 11 auto-berths for conference champions and 5 at-large spots based on rankings; almost the exact same thing proposed in the popular new Death to the BCS book. Lets think about what could be if we used this proposed and universally liked 16-team playoff system, and how that would affect the remaining scheduled games.

(warning there is some math coming ahead, but its worth it).

SEC: Their championship game will match Auburn and South Carolina (1), but Auburn can’t afford to lose its game to Alabama (2) and also the champ game because that could lose them an at-large position so both games definitely matter.

Stanford could be fighting
for the 5th seed
PAC 10: Oregon has not yet sewn up the title, they and Stanford each have 2 games remaining. Stanford plays one of those games before Oregon can clinch, so both of their next games definitely matter in reference to the playoff post-season. Were Oregon to lose against Arizona all 4 of their remaining games would matter. (2 definite to matter / 4 potential to matter)

ACC: Virginia Tech has the Coastal Division wrapped up but there’s still a 3-way tie in the Atlantic between Maryland, NC State and Florida State so there’s 3 more season games plus a championship game that matter to a playoff; plus Virginia Tech is in position to get an at-large berth without the ACC champ game giving potential meaning to their remaining games (4 definite / 6 potential).

BIG 12: There’s the champ game (1), but before that Nebraska still has win the North with their next game; if they lose to A&M then suddenly their final game and Missouri’s 2 games matter. In the South all Oklahoma State, Oklahoma and Texas A&M’s next game already matter; pending results the final games can matter as well. (4 definite / 9 potential)

BIG EAST: Interestingly Pittsburg has only played 4 conference games thus far, they are in the driver’s seat but have 3 games remaining. Even if Pitt wins their first game, all the 2-loss Big East teams’ next games still matter to keep them alive: that adds Syracuse, UConn, USF, and West Virginia’s next game to the mix (2 more definitely mattering) What if Pitt loses their game to USF? Then it’s a mad house, all the rest of their conference games could matter: (3 definite / 9 potential)

BIG TEN: We have a 3-way tie, but 4 teams are alive (Wisconsin, OSU, MSU and Iowa); all next games definitely matter, but pending results all their final games could matter too (3 definite / 7 potential)

"The Rock" in Hattiesburg could host
playoff implications
C-USA: One championship game, but thanks to Southern Miss’ victory over UCF, still undecided participants. In the East division by virtue of chronology, UCF and ECU’s next games definitely matter, pending the UCF outcome both their final games along with both USM’s games could matter. In the West we need to know what happens in SMU and Tulsa’s next games; and pending their results, final games could matter. (5 definite / 8 potential).

MAC: One championship game and 5 teams vying for a shot to get into it; all of their next games matter; pending results they all likely need to play out their season before someone can clinch.  (4 definite / 8 potential).

MWC: The Mountain West is the only conference that is decided. But even so, Utah’s final game matters in terms of them trying to get back into position for an At-Large bid. (1 definite)

SUN BELT: Like the MAC, another conference with a wide open door and many potential champions, but due to how the scheduling falls, FIA’s next 2 games definitely matter, while the rest of the contenders only matter pending the outcome of those games. (2 definite / 6 potential)

WAC: Common theory dictates that Boise State will be the champ, but math dictates that 4 teams are still eligible, and 3 of the 4 play each other. (4 definite / 8 potential)

How can we live in a world where
Les Miles and his 'damn strong'
football team don't matter?
At Large etc. – In the 16 team playoff, there would be 5 at-large berths up for grabs; and while I’ve addressed some of those implications above, here are some more: All of the Top 25 are within a reasonable mathematical striking distance to an at-large bid depending on outcomes of all the games, meaning they all definitely need to be played and definitely matter. The top 25 is covered in most above, except we need to add definitely mattering for LSU (+2), South Carolina (+2), Arizona, (+1 as 1 was already counted with Oregon) Mississippi State (+2) and Arkansas (already counted with LSU).

Current conclusion: This gives us a current tally of 41 remaining games definitely mattering mathematically to a playoff championship, and a potential for it to reach 66 remaining games having an impact on the postseason.

BUT we’re not done… Very important to the playoff equations are the at-large selections; this means many of the above marked “potential implication” games need to change to “definite implications;” this is because while they may not already be set to affect conference championships they definitely already affect at-large bids. So we change status from potential to definite for: Stanford (swap 1), Wisconsin (swap 1), Nebraska (swap 1), OSU (swap 1), OkSt.(swap 1), MSU (swap 1), Oklahoma (covered by OkSt), Missouri (swap 2), Va Tech (swap 2), Nevada (swap 2), Texas A&M (swap 1), Iowa (swap 1) and Miami (swap 1). Suddenly a whole LOT of games (56) in the final 3 weeks have a definite impact on who our national champion will be.

The Final Conclusion for “making the regular season matter”:
  • A 16-team playoff would mean that 56 of the 131 remaining games would already definitely matter (i.e.have implications on the eventual national champion) – 43%!
  • There is a potential that 66 games could end up mattering depending on early outcomes – 50%!!
  • The current BCS system gives us 4 games (3%) definitely mattering
  • The BCS scenario can potentially have upwards of 8-10 games (6-8%) possibly mattering

BCS = 3-8% of the remaining games in the final 3 weeks of the season mattering   


 16-team playoff = 43-50% matter

Now, can someone explain for me again how the BCS is the best system in making the regular season important???


Sean OLeary said...

"Now, can someone explain for me again how the BCS is the best system in making the regular season important???"

I first would like to congratulate you on writing one of the worst, most ill-informed blog posts on the BCS that I have ever read. Although, with poor writing and facts that aren't actually facts, you would fit in at ESPN.

Let's begin with your absurd question at the end. On Friday, Nov. 26, Auburn will play Alabama. If Auburn loses, they will not win the national title. In your plan, Auburn is already assued of a playoff berth. That game would then mean nothing.

On Friday, Nov. 26, Oregon hosts Arizona. If Oregon loses, they will not win the national title. In your you see where this is going?

A playoff expands the games that matter for teams getting into the playoffs, but drastically reduces the importance of the big regular season games. At this point, Auburn could conceivably lose its last TWO games and still make the playoffs.

Do you really want to give up college football's current structure for the NFL, where players are rest for the last two games of the year?

And who's to say the games don't matter as is? I'm a season ticket holder for UConn football. Our games really, really matter to us. The conference races still mean something. It's just that the games are to play in the BCS games, as opposed to a playoff.

And why does the Sun Belt champion deserve to play for the national title? How do you like college basketball's regular season? Did you even know it started?

Your numbers at the end of your post about the number of "meaningful games" is pure and total bullshit.

Why would CBS & ESPN pay the SEC billions (yes, that's a B) to televise its regular season games if they don't mean anything?

If you're so concerned with college football having a playoff, go watch the NFL. If you can't enjoy college football in its current state, you're either not a fan of a specific school or a pathetic, Debbie Downer-type who can't see the forest for the trees.

Quite frankly, college football is doing just fine the way it is. I don't need to constantly be told how great a playoff would be. College football has the greatest regular season in sports. And its champions, with the exception of major league baseball, are the most worthy in American sports based on results, not who gets hot for a month.

I would like to thank you though for adding another entry into the endless supply of shitty "I hate the BCS" articles. It wasn't the shittiest, but it was close. So congratulations. I'm proud of you. Now maybe you can rest that little, overworked brain of yours.

Allen Wedge said...

Sean O,

In a playoff, Auburn has not clinched anything. They still have to win the SEC to do that.

If they lose both their final games, not only do they not win the conference, they would fall too low to get an At-Large berth.

You think auburn can lose back to back games and stay ranked 12th or higher? Because that's about what you need to get an at-large.

The same goes for Oregon, who also still haven't clinched their conference. They lose their final 2 and they're also likely out.

With 3 weeks to go only 1 team would be locked in, TCU, and they'd still want to play to make sure they get good seeding. The difference between the 3rd seed and the 10th seed is the difference between opening the playoffs with Troy/Pitt, or opening with Alabama/LSU. Still think TCU would sit players?

Jeremy Benson said...

Sean, Go read Death to th BCS and you will see why they matter. Dan explains it all in there.

main points

1. they would still matter because they would be playing for home field. Players won't rest because they are always fighting for seeds. He explains this in his book.
2. The reason a team in the Sun Belt deserves a shot is because they are a member. every conference should deserve a shot. Otherwise they should not be in Div I-A and drop to I-AA. Having a conference that is a member of a division and never allowing them the opportunity to compete for a title is WRONG. Are they going to win it? NO, but that is not the point.

Calico Kiwi said...

Why does everyone always hate on the Sun Belt; they have some of the best mascots in all of Division I-A: Ragin' Cajuns, Red Wolves, Warhawks, Mean Green, Blue Raiders, Hilltoppers...and none are "Tigers" they deserve a playoff slot based on that alone.

M A Haddox said...

A BCS sympathizer from the Big East. Not many AQ conferences like the BCS system, but if there was one, it's most certainly the Big East. It must be nice to achieve nothing and reap all the rewards.

The Speedgeek said...

Wedge, that is some damn fine work. I was already an opponent of continuing the current status quo, but now I feel like picking up a torch and marching on some building somewhere. Where should I go? South Bend? Tuscaloosa? College Station? You pick, and I'll book my ticket.

Allen Wedge said...

It would actually be Happy Valley, as the head of Big 10 (who is at PSU) is in control right now.

Allen Wedge said...

On further review though, with the current new "chose legal molestation or legal nude imaging" rules the TSA has implemented, you might want to road trip it rather than booking a plane ticket :)

The Speedgeek said...

Well, that would be making the assumption that I'm against legal molestation and/or legal nude imaging. Seeing as how I am in favor of both (at least when they are being done to me), then I have no objections. Sir! Bring forth the rubber gloves and your whirlygig camera machine! Do your worst!

Mike said...

This whole thing is so exciting. Wedge's post, Sean's comments... Santa came early, fellas.

I really hope Sean is a Brewers fan.

The Speedgeek said...

Looks like Wedge needs to start mass e-mailing Mark Cuban...

Mike said...

Oh, OK. I can't spoil Friday Night Lights because Andy watches on NBC. Yet when I start reading the BCS book that Wedge sent me, Andy can post articles telling me how it ends?!

Also... where is Sean O? Very disappointing.

The Speedgeek said...

Actually, Ron, you can't spoil FNL because Mrs. Speedgeek and I are still in the middle of Season 3 on DVD. Actually, somehow we've gotten out of the FNL habit, so go ahead and spoil away. We'll catch up by the end of 2014.

As for SeanO, I'm guessing that he's basking in the knowledge that his UConn Huskies got to win a below average conference with a mediocre record (with ZERO games played against top-25 teams, let alone any games won, and a 26-0 loss to Louisville, so yeah, you've got a real powerhouse on your hands there), barely scrape into the AP top-25, and then manage to wind up in a top-4 bowl game. Yeah, you wouldn't want to replace that system with one that leaves a far higher chance that we'll wind up with 15 compelling post-season games or anything. Good call, fella.

Mike said...

Wedge and I (in one of my recent posts) actually noted how UConn could've won every game (including the FOUR they lost) and still ended up in a BCS game that is NOT the championship game. So much for every game counting.

And dude... FNL is the best show on TV (maybe rivaled by The Office). Catch up. Season 4 is great.

Mike said...

And here we go: