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  1. #1
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    College Football Predicition and Commentary

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    College football is very popular. Not nearly as popular as the NFL (what is these days?), but I think University Presidents are pretty happy with their bank accounts when it comes to the gridiron. No complaints from them. Thus, the root of the problem.

    Just because something makes money doesn’t mean it isn’t in need of repair. Just because a stadium gets sold out to watch a mismatched massacre, doesn’t mean it’s a good product. And just because they call it a “Bowl Game” or even a “BCS” game doesn’t mean it really has significance.

    Yes, college football is entertaining. It always has been, and most likely, always will be. But college football is not all that it can be. It is by far the most flawed of all the major college and pro sports. A well-run sport should crescendo or peak during the post-season. College football still relies on mid-season rivalries and traditional match-ups to stir interest. The post-season is a giant letdown.

    The only solution to this obvious problem is a playoff system. It can be done, if the powers that be would simply remove their heads from their posteriors, put “old school” thinking aside, and figure out a way to improve the sport, while still lining their pockets. It can be done. Easily. But the college football playoff argument is the very definition of beating a dead horse. Has any sportswriter in American not given their personal solution to this problem?

    With that in mind, I am going to narrow my focus and present five ways to improve college football without going to a playoff system. Please keep in mind that nothing besides a playoff will fix this archaic system. However, these suggestions may make the system a tad less asinine.

    Eliminate Pre-Season Polls: Are we talking about this season? Last season? Thirty seasons ago? When it comes to the polls, I have no idea. In my estimation, a poll should reflect only the current season. It should not take history into account, whether it be recent or ancient. Anointing a team prior to the season is not only silly, it’s unfair. Last year, Michigan began the season highly ranked. They lost their first game to a D-II school. The next week, even though they dropped in the polls, they were still ranked. So, Michigan was 0-1 with a home loss to non D-1 school, and they were still ranked in the Top 25? That’s just stupid. The rankings create a certain caste system, where teams can only gradually move up or move down. If a non-BCS school doesn’t start the season ranked in the Top 15 or so, they can kiss their chances of a National Championship goodbye. If a team starts the season ranked #1, they can probably afford two losses, whereas a team that starts the season ranked #17 can probably only afford one loss. The first poll should not be released until sometime in early-mid October.

    Eliminate the Coaches Poll: I wonder how much time Nick Saban of Alabama spends watching game film of Rutgers? I wonder if Butch Davis at North Carolina is taping the Washington State game this week? College football coaches are totally wrapped up in their own little world of their team, their conference, and their next opponent. I can say with all honesty, that I probably watch a whole lot more Pac 10, Big 10, and SEC football than Mike Leach of Texas Tech does during the season. You see, on Saturday’s, Mike Leach, and most other head coaches are kind of busy. They aren’t flipping channels. They are standing on the sidelines, riding buses, and then breaking down their own game film. I don’t think Rich Rodriguez is too concerned with the outcome of the BYU-Utah game. Yet, we insist that these men vote on how to rank teams across the country. Not only do they lack information, there is also an obvious conflict of interest. Why wouldn’t you rank teams in your conference higher? Why wouldn’t there be a bias? The media is far from perfect, but the AP poll is a much more objective way to generate a poll.

    Drastically Reduce the Number of Bowl Games: There are 119 D-1 teams. There are now 34 Bowl Games. That’s a total of 68 teams participating in Bowls. That leaves 51 teams at home. If 68 teams get to do something, and 51 do not, which group should feel more special? Many publications will insist that a coach is on the hot seat and that he must “make a Bowl Game” to save his job. Heck, if I was an Athletic Director, I might stipulate that not making a Bowl Game is grounds for immediate dismissal. If you don’t make a Bowl Game nowadays, you are a terrible, terrible football team.

    Let’s take an average college football program (Oklahoma State) and figure out what it will take for them to be eligible for a Bowl Game this year. In order for OSU to qualify for a Bowl, they need to win 6 of their 12 games. By beating 6 of these teams: Washington State, Houston, Missouri State, Troy, Baylor, and Iowa St., Colorado, and Texas A+M, OSU will go Bowling. Aside from Colorado, none of those teams will most likely be ranked in the top 70 teams in the country this year. So basically, OSU can lose all of their games against decent competition, and still get a payday. What a great accomplishment!

    Make Every Conference Play a Championship Game: If all of the BCS conferences have to play under the same system, then why in the world do certain teams have a tougher/longer road? The Pac 10, Big 10, and Big East do not play a conference championship game, while the remaining BCS conferences all do. In college football, less is more. Meaning the fewer games you play, the better chance you have of not losing, which equals a greater chance to compete for the National Title. We’ll call this the “Ohio State Way.” The Buckeyes cruise through the weak Big 10 every season and find themselves in the big game, usually, “just because.” Forcing these three conferences to adopt a Title Game would at least level the playing field a bit.

    Shorten the Time Between the End of the Season and the Bowls: I think Ohio St. had two and a half years in between their final game of the season last year and the BCS Title Game. It had been so long since we last saw them play, that I’m not sure anyone even remembered, or cared. College Football makes us wait over a month to see the Championship Game—and by that time the NFL playoffs have started, and the college game gets cast aside.

    January 1st should be the latest a college football game is ever played. I understand that the networks want to spread the games out, and they want to avoid putting too many games on during the holidays. But college football might need to take a small hit in the wallet on this one and insist that games never be played beyond the 1st. You can still play all of your ridiculous minor bowl games leading up to the BCS games—just play them earlier, and make many of them double-headers for television. You could then have a quadruple-header of BCS games on New Year’s Day—with the title game in primetime. The Bowl system is silly, but if it’s going to be in place, then they might as well capitalize on the tradition of New Year’s Day being a big day for the sport.

    Quick Predictions:

    SEC: Florida over Alabama in the Title Game: Georgia is formidable, but I wonder if they are over-hyped. Tim Tebow returns and I think Florida beats the Bulldogs this year and wins the East. The West is more wide-open, and I’ll roll the dice on Alabama squeezing by.
    Keep an Eye On: Tennessee: Phillip Fulmer is squarely on the hot seat, and I have a feeling he’ll find a way to save his job this year.

    Big 12: Oklahoma over Missouri in the Title Game: I’m simply not a believer that Mizzou is ready to beat a program like OU in a game with major significance.
    Keep any Eye On: Texas Tech. This may be another team getting a bit over-hyped in the pre-season, but the first part of their schedule is ridiculously easy, which of course means they will steadily climb in the polls. They could have the biggest game in the program’s history late in the year in Norman.

    ACC: Clemson over North Carolina in the Title Game: Pretty weak conference overall. Clemson would be a middling team in the Big 12, SEC, or even Pac 10. I’ll go with Butch Davis to have a surprisingly good season at UNC.
    Keep an Eye On: No one. Like I said, the ACC is weak.

    Pac 10: USC will run away with this conference in a landslide.
    Keep an Eye On: Oregon was great last year until Dennis Dixon went down. Now, they think they have a QB that can run their spread offense again.

    Big 10: Ohio St. by default.
    Keep an Eye On: Wisconsin is the only other team in the conference that should garner any serious respect.

    Big East: West Virginia.
    Keep an Eye On: South Florida may have gotten too much, too fast last year before they crashed and burned. But there is still a bunch of talent there, and a very solid returning QB.

    National Championship Game: USC over Oklahoma. Not sure if these are the two best teams in the country or not, but I like their respective roads to the BCS Title Game. OU needs to prove themselves on a national stage before I can be confident picking them to win a game of this magnitude.

    What about the remaining 50+ D-1 Teams? Well, the BCS doesn’t give them the time of day, so why should I?

  2. #2
    Charlie Brown All-Star IslandRed's Avatar
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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Generally agree:

    Eliminate Pre-Season Polls
    Eliminate the Coaches Poll
    Shorten the Time Between the End of the Season and the Bowls

    Although the "start the poll in October" deal still suffers from the "poll inertia" issue. It just transfers bias from who we thought was good before the season, to schools that front-load their schedule.

    Generally disagree:

    Drastically Reduce the Number of Bowl Games
    The extra bowl games, while largely ignored, hurt no one and help level the playing field. It's common knowledge that most of these lower-tier bowl games barely pay enough to cover the team's expenses. The real benefit of going to a bowl for a mid-level team is the extra practice time. Cut bowls way back, and you're just helping to further stratify haves and have-nots.

    Make Every Conference Play a Championship Game: If all of the BCS conferences have to play under the same system, then why in the world do certain teams have a tougher/longer road? The Pac 10, Big 10, and Big East do not play a conference championship game, while the remaining BCS conferences all do. In college football, less is more. Meaning the fewer games you play, the better chance you have of not losing, which equals a greater chance to compete for the National Title. We’ll call this the “Ohio State Way.” The Buckeyes cruise through the weak Big 10 every season and find themselves in the big game, usually, “just because.” Forcing these three conferences to adopt a Title Game would at least level the playing field a bit.
    This one's been a pet peeve of mine for a long time. The whining started the very first year of the SEC title game, when Alabama had to win an extra game before it could play for the national title. They're still wrong.

    Ask yourself this: Who decided those conferences should have championship games? Answer: The conferences themselves. Why do they do it? Answer: Money. Nothing more, nothing less. They want the money, and they're willing to give their best teams another potential loss to get it. If they don't like the bargain, they can stop having a championship game any time they like.

    Fairness? Chew on this. These leagues are taking a problem for their teams that was 100% self-imposed and attempting to solve it by forcing other leagues to do it their way. What's fair about that?

    (Disclaimer: My school is in a conference that didn't have a championship game, but now it does. Didn't change my opinion on the matter.)
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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    You can eliminate all the polls you want but someone is going to come up with some way to rank these teams before the season starts.
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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    I think an eye should be kept on Missouri. They return Chase Daniel and Jeremy Maclin, and they're two toughest games are a season opener against Illinois and a game at Texas. The only way they play Oklahoma is if they square off in the title game.

    And of course I'm going to have to mention my Buckeyes as a threat to win it all....

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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Island-- You make good points about the Title Games. I have no issue eliminating those as well-- I just wish it would be one way or the other. Not split half and half.

    And as these conferences grow, one thing a Title Game DOES accomplish is the opportunity to play any team in your conference in a given year.

    In the B10, teams don't play everyone else in the conference-- and it's not even a "fair" rotation-- OSU plays Michigan every year without a break because of the rivalry. A conference Title game would at least ensure that the two best teams played each other every year.

    As for the Bowl Games....I'm sticking to my guns there. It's dilluted to the point of absurdity-- and I question exactly how much these schools truly gain from the extra practice time, etc.

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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Edskin View Post
    www.edkleese.blogspot.com
    The only solution to this obvious problem is a playoff system. It can be done, if the powers that be would simply remove their heads from their posteriors, put “old school” thinking aside, and figure out a way to improve the sport, while still lining their pockets. It can be done. Easily. But the college football playoff argument is the very definition of beating a dead horse. Has any sportswriter in American not given their personal solution to this problem?
    I don't love the BCS, but I really don't like the idea of a playoff and here's why. Remember the OSU vs. Michigan game two years ago? Both teams went into the game undefeated, the winner goes to the title game, the loser goes to the Rose Bowl. It was the most anticipated Regular Season game I have ever seen. If you had a playoff, it would have been a "seeding" game with no significance. Think about College Basketball. Does the regular season matter for Duke or UNC or Kansas. For all of the hype of Duke vs. UNC, those games mean nothing. They are seeding games. The only thing that matters is the tournament. Every game in CFB matters starting in September and running through November and December.

    Also, if you institute a playoff, here is what will happen. Teams will load up on cream puffs in their non-conference schedule. Why take a chance at losing? Now, you need those power wins to help your position in the polls to get into the title game. You will begin to see more and more I-AA teams playing big time schools.

    I do agree that a playoff would be exciting, but the damage it would do to the regular season is unacceptable.
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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by improbus View Post
    I don't love the BCS, but I really don't like the idea of a playoff and here's why. Remember the OSU vs. Michigan game two years ago? Both teams went into the game undefeated, the winner goes to the title game, the loser goes to the Rose Bowl. It was the most anticipated Regular Season game I have ever seen. If you had a playoff, it would have been a "seeding" game with no significance. Think about College Basketball. Does the regular season matter for Duke or UNC or Kansas. For all of the hype of Duke vs. UNC, those games mean nothing. They are seeding games. The only thing that matters is the tournament. Every game in CFB matters starting in September and running through November and December.

    Also, if you institute a playoff, here is what will happen. Teams will load up on cream puffs in their non-conference schedule. Why take a chance at losing? Now, you need those power wins to help your position in the polls to get into the title game. You will begin to see more and more I-AA teams playing big time schools.

    I do agree that a playoff would be exciting, but the damage it would do to the regular season is unacceptable.

    Totally disagree. The current system makes the reg. season almost totally meaningless for MOST teams.

    Yes, in that particular instance, the OSU-Michigan game had more significance than a seeding game would have had.

    However, for the most part, most college football games are currently "meaningless."

    Let's say Ohio St. loses a close game at USC and then loses another close game at Wisconsin this year. Well, after the Wisconisn game, their entire season is basically pointless- including whatever Bowl Game they might play in. Under a playoff system, OSU could potentially still work their way into a meaningful post-season.

    I live in OKC and I went to OU and I can tell you that after OU lost to Texas Tech last year, there was VERY little anticipation for the B12 Title Game or the Fiesta Bowl-- most people just kind of wanted it to get over with. And so did the team, apparantly

    Schedules are NOT balanced....a two loss team from the SEC is MUCH more impressive than a two loss team from the Big East or Big 10-- but at that point, we're really just guessing at who "deserves it" more. A playoff is the only solution-- and it's one that would increase the significance of the reg. season, IMO

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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Edskin View Post
    Totally disagree. The current system makes the reg. season almost totally meaningless for MOST teams.

    Yes, in that particular instance, the OSU-Michigan game had more significance than a seeding game would have had.

    However, for the most part, most college football games are currently "meaningless."

    Let's say Ohio St. loses a close game at USC and then loses another close game at Wisconsin this year. Well, after the Wisconisn game, their entire season is basically pointless- including whatever Bowl Game they might play in. Under a playoff system, OSU could potentially still work their way into a meaningful post-season.

    I live in OKC and I went to OU and I can tell you that after OU lost to Texas Tech last year, there was VERY little anticipation for the B12 Title Game or the Fiesta Bowl-- most people just kind of wanted it to get over with. And so did the team, apparantly

    Schedules are NOT balanced....a two loss team from the SEC is MUCH more impressive than a two loss team from the Big East or Big 10-- but at that point, we're really just guessing at who "deserves it" more. A playoff is the only solution-- and it's one that would increase the significance of the reg. season, IMO
    How would a playoff increase the value of the regular season? Every game matters. Ask USC after the Stanford game. Ask WVU after Pitt. Ask Michigan after App. State.

    Think about it this way. Remember the Texas vs. USC game? They were clearly the two best teams in the country. Why should some team that lost to Michigan State or Ole Miss have the same chance that they did to play in the BCS title game? How is that fair? Same goes for the OSU vs. Miami game. College Basketball is all about the Cinderella's, but College Football is about the big boys. Why open the door for an underachiever?
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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    I agree with Chip. There will never (yes bold AND underlined ) be a way to elimanate preseason rankings. Some mass-media giant (hmmm ESPN?) would create some sort of de facto preseason rankings, that unfortunately would be used as a guide to the voters. Seriously, you would have to have the official voters in a cave with only access to game footage with no announcers/analysis to create an environment where the teams are truly ranked without preseason ranking bias.

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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by kaldaniels View Post
    I agree with Chip. There will never (yes bold AND underlined ) be a way to elimanate preseason rankings. Some mass-media giant (hmmm ESPN?) would create some sort of de facto preseason rankings, that unfortunately would be used as a guide to the voters. Seriously, you would have to have the official voters in a cave with only access to game footage with no announcers/analysis to create an environment where the teams are truly ranked without preseason ranking bias.
    People like ESPN could come up with whatever poll they wanted-- it's just that the "official" poll would be the one linked to the BCS standings.

    I do see what you are saying in that even a "for fun" poll may influence voters...but better that than the current system.

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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by improbus View Post
    How would a playoff increase the value of the regular season? Every game matters. Ask USC after the Stanford game. Ask WVU after Pitt. Ask Michigan after App. State.

    Think about it this way. Remember the Texas vs. USC game? They were clearly the two best teams in the country. Why should some team that lost to Michigan State or Ole Miss have the same chance that they did to play in the BCS title game? How is that fair? Same goes for the OSU vs. Miami game. College Basketball is all about the Cinderella's, but College Football is about the big boys. Why open the door for an underachiever?
    Because it is all so arbitrary. How do you decide between two one-loss teams, or four two-loss teams? You could easily make an arguement (just as an example) that a 3 loss Florida team was more impressive than a 1 loss West Virginia team. The only way to solve that is through a playoff. The top 8 or 16 or however many teams are involved have reason to play EVERY game all year.

    Technically speaking, I suppose ANY playoff system has the possibility of "rewarding" a team that doesn't belong. Technically, it might be most fair to just have the Cubs and Angels play for the World Series at the end of the regular season.

    Playoffs exsist to reward the top teams...not just THE top team. They exsist to generate interest for multiple teams/fans. It works in every other sport.

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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Edskin View Post
    Because it is all so arbitrary. How do you decide between two one-loss teams, or four two-loss teams? You could easily make an arguement (just as an example) that a 3 loss Florida team was more impressive than a 1 loss West Virginia team. The only way to solve that is through a playoff. The top 8 or 16 or however many teams are involved have reason to play EVERY game all year.

    Technically speaking, I suppose ANY playoff system has the possibility of "rewarding" a team that doesn't belong. Technically, it might be most fair to just have the Cubs and Angels play for the World Series at the end of the regular season.

    Playoffs exsist to reward the top teams...not just THE top team. They exsist to generate interest for multiple teams/fans. It works in every other sport.
    Well, I personally like the English Soccer model. The League Champion is determined solely by their regular season record. Then, they play the FA Cup, a giant playoff that involves every team in the country. Their "playoff" has nothing to do with the regular season.

    As far as the Cubs vs. Angels WS, that's the way it worked until 1969. So that's nothing new.

    Now, I understand the excitement of the playoffs in all sports. The tension and meaning of the games is ratcheted up. But, every sport with a playoff sacrifices much of the importance of its regular season. You can't tell me that an Colts vs. Pats game in September would mean more than the OSU vs. USC game. If there was a playoff, that game would most likely be meaningless. You can't take any team or any game lightly in CFB. Remember App. St., Stanford, and Pitt last year.
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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Edskin View Post
    Because it is all so arbitrary. How do you decide between two one-loss teams, or four two-loss teams? You could easily make an arguement (just as an example) that a 3 loss Florida team was more impressive than a 1 loss West Virginia team. The only way to solve that is through a playoff. The top 8 or 16 or however many teams are involved have reason to play EVERY game all year.

    Technically speaking, I suppose ANY playoff system has the possibility of "rewarding" a team that doesn't belong. Technically, it might be most fair to just have the Cubs and Angels play for the World Series at the end of the regular season.

    Playoffs exsist to reward the top teams...not just THE top team. They exsist to generate interest for multiple teams/fans. It works in every other sport.

    Since every other division plus FCS (1-AA) can do it, why can't the brainiacs that run BCS do it?
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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by improbus View Post

    Think about it this way. Remember the Texas vs. USC game? They were clearly the two best teams in the country.
    Isn't that the same year that Auburn went undefeated? And Utah for that matter?

    Those were probably the two best teams, but I certainly would not have minded a four team playoff that year to be sure that two other teams that did not lose all year were not deserving of #1.

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    Re: College Football Predicition and Commentary

    Quote Originally Posted by Boston Red View Post
    Isn't that the same year that Auburn went undefeated? And Utah for that matter?

    Those were probably the two best teams, but I certainly would not have minded a four team playoff that year to be sure that two other teams that did not lose all year were not deserving of #1.
    Different year. Auburn went undefeated in 2004...the USC/OU (1 and 2 in the BCS all year) game for the title.


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