Monday, December 08, 2014

Don't forget there will never be a place for BC in the current Playoff system

Despite some shenanigans from the various bowl directors and TV execs, BC landed in a good spot. The Pinstripe is arguably one of the best bowl situations we've ever had. That doesn't change the fact that the current Playoff system is deeply flawed and will never benefit BC. Any selection committee will bring biases. That's natural and unfortunate. Sunday they showed they will always lean towards traditional powers. There is no other explanation of Ohio State leapfrogging Baylor and TCU. It wasn't a Big XII bias. It was a David and Goliath bias. There is no way Ohio State would have jumped past Big XII schools named Texas or Oklahoma in that same scenario. Even if we up our level of play to playoff consideration, we will still be viewed as a Baylor or TCU-type program. It will take a minor miracle and an undefeated season to ever be selected.

Even an undefeated season might not be enough. Look at the criticism heaped on Florida State. They are a traditional power, defending champions and have not been beat in two years. Yet they were only a 3 seed and some felt they didn't belong all together. If BC had 13 narrow victories, the same arguments would be used, only in a more dismissive and condescending manor.

As The Big Lead pointed out, the Selection Committee was designed to fail. They never explained their rationale. They had no mandate on how to select teams. We're lucky that it only resulted in two obvious snubs.

The playoffs may make for great football. I will certainly watch. However, BC needs to continue to champion the cause for an eight-team playoff where the winner of the ACC gets an automatic qualification. That is the only way we are ever getting into the new Big Dance.


Big Jack Krack said...
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Hoib said...


Football is a winter game. As a long time NY Giant fan I have been to many big games in late December and the weather really isn't that big of a deal. I'm sure there are allot of Pats fans on this blog who were at the tuck game and didn't mind it at all. I was at all the Flutie bowls, they were in Orlando, Memphis, and Dallas. The weather was putrid for all 3. I'm as certain as Atlanta is about the playoff that the NYC weather won't be as bad as that Liberty Bowl.


You make allot of good points about the playoff re: BC, but I would never say never. People used to say it was impossible for a BC guy to win the Heisman, but I was at the downtown ACC to see Doug get his. It can't hurt to dream big!

Big Jack Krack said...

Hoib - I deleted my comment and will amend it this way.

We spent Christmas Week in NYC 2 years ago and what a blast.

The weather was great too - mostly sunny and didn't need long underwear (silkies) :-) even at night.

A great football game would have made it even more exciting.

Go BC - beat Penn State.

I was at the Cotton Bowl and almost froze to death because I wasn't properly prepared and didn't bring the right clothes.

The game against ND in Memphis was so cold (single digit wind chill for sure) it was ridiculous.

The game against Auburn in Orlando was fine weather-wise. A little cool for Florida, but not bad. I was there as well.

In NYC fans will know how to dress. As long as it doesn't rain, sleet or snow, it will be a very enjoyable bowl game, no matter the temperature.

Hoib said...


Being the great eagle fan you are I knew you'd "warm" to the idea.

eagleboston said...

I think before we worry about the playoffs, we need to concern ourselves with simply winning the ACC Atlantic, a task that is made much more difficult with the deletion of Maryland and the addition of Louisville. We need to somehow hit gold and hope that Louisville, Clemson and Florida State are all down in the same year. Frankly, I would be absolutely thrilled if BC were ever so good that there is debate about being shut out of the playoffs.

G.A. said...

Rules like: "the winner of conference X automatically makes the Final 8" will make it harder, not easier, for teams to get in on merit.

Ohio St. went 12-1 and had a higher SOS than TCU or Baylor. They deserved it. People make too much out of them "jumping" TCU in the rankings. We're too attached to this moral notion that if you win, nobody can jump you. The computers that use margin of victory hate FSU. I can't ever remember an undefeated team playing a real schedule that was less dominant than FSU. I would bet a million dollars that if BC runs the table anytime in the next decade, they'll finish in the top 4 in the country. And will make the playoff. And I'd give 10:1 odds. I like this blog, but I found the post silly and needlessly paranoid. We haven't made it through the regular season with less than two losses since 1984.

CT said...

Agreed. OSU earned the jump. Winning by 59 against a top 15 team?

The committee said that each week would be a clean slate. The problem was that too many people thought about the rankings as if it was a BCS poll. Texas screwed the Big 12 by insisting on a non-split revenue allotment and a resistance to a championship game. Boo-hoo.

IMO, expanding to eight would stink because there would be so many two loss teams lobbying for a spot. Six would work with a bye for the top two.

Obviously the playoff won't stay at four. But BC needs to worry only about itself. Win the conference. GTech wouldn't have made it had they won Saturday, even at 11-2, because the perception of the conference is that it's the worst of The Five. I think we have a ways to go before earning the right to complain. Both the ACC and BC.

Scott said...

I'm of the opposite view. Not only do I think the committee selected the 4 most deserving teams, I think they sent 2 very clear messages to explain their calculus.

1) Undefeated isn't the criterion, it depends on who you beat and how convincingly. That's welcome news, because it protects the power 5 conferences who schedule up, relative to the Notre Dame and the Have-Nots.

2) The committee clearly penalized the Big 12 for not having a conferencing championship game. They even told the conference president as much. And frankly, I think that's the right message. Remember, the Big 12 choose not to adopt the conference champion model, expressly to create an easier path for their best team to make it into championship game. So I think it's fair they got penalized for failing to test their champion in the same as the other 4 power conferences.

Thomas said...
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Thomas said...

Scott, just to clarify and extrapolate on point 1 a little further, you think teams running up the score for style points is a good thing for college football? Because that's the other message the committee has sent.

Get it to 8 teams, give 5 automatic qualifiers(and make the Big 12 have a championship game as part of this arrangement) and have 3 at-large bids. Use some kind of formula to determine the at-large bids to remove the inherent human bias. The BC Interruption article is a good read on why human bias needs to be eliminated.

Hoib said...

Posted this in an earlier thread.

I'm sure the Big 12 will have a conference title and at least 2 new teams soon, maybe the Irish being one of them. We've already learned in year 1 that you need a conference title game to make the final 4. I'd like to see it go to 16, w/ the power 5 title games being part of the first round, and then add 6 at large teams to play 3 games the week after the conference title games. Then u would have 8 to play the final 3 rounds over the first 3 w/es of the new year.

lbkjj said...

I doubt we will be a playoff contender if we continue to hold to our academic standards. FSU graduates less than 50% of its black football players ( 70% of total players) and for the class of 2006, only 37%. They put football above academics, I hope we never do. It's hard to excel at both, ask ND.

eagle1331 said...

BJK, Hoib, others...

NYC is going to be an amazing place for us to play. I think it is an element we are well prepared for, both as fans and a team.

We all know the Boston weather story, so I'll jump past that...

I worked for the team the year we went to the MPC Computer Bowl in Boise Idaho; getting paid $0 I spent Christmas in the great Northwest. It rained daily and sleeted during the game. The weather can't be worse than that.

As BC Hockey fans, many of us have braved Fenway in the winter for a game once or twice. It has been below freezing every year and snowing the first. So what if the weather is the same as that?

Football and Hockey fans in NY/NJ/CT have been watching sports outside in this area for years, so we probably are just "used to it" by now. That may hurt the casual fan, or the one that would otherwise travel, but hopefully hearing from fans like us will change their mind.

I endured 2 hockey games in the last row of Yankee Stadium last year, with the wind at my back. It was for all intents and purposes, terrible weather. It was still an amazing experience, and the teams I was rooting for lost.

Yankee Stadium, while not right downtown, is in a great neighborhood with plenty of "pre-game" "tailgating" opportunities. It is a cheap subway ride or Uber ride from some great attractions. The host is used to how to handle crowds in the cold.

This is a great opportunity for fans and alumni in the northeast that normally can't travel to games in the south or get away for a weekend up to Boston. It is a holiday weekend too, at the greatest time of the year to experience all NYC has to offer, so I really encourage everyone to come visit!

Extra Tip: I highly suggest getting the bucket of chicken fingers and wrapping it in your coat. I don't know what the fries or chicken are made of (probably not potatoes and chicken), but they hold warmth greater than those 99 cent hand warmers!

Bravesbill said...

TCU and Baylor would absolutely destroy Ohio State. TCU had a better nonconference schedule than OSU (Baylor not so much) and OSU played in a pitiful conference (probably weaker than the ACC). Outside of its win against Wisconsin, it didn't look all that great during the second half of the season. And getting blown out by Virginia Tech at home should be an automatic disqualifer.

Hoib said...
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Hoib said...


I don't see how you can be so sure about a leauge who plays defense along the lines of the arena league. Glad we are finally starting to move away from the beauty contest era of college football and into one where what happens on the field is what counts.

CT said...

Expanding the playoff only serves to further diminish the value of the regular season. Six teams max for me, though indications are it'll eventually get to eight.

It seems as though the Pinstripe was the lesser of all evils that comprise 90pct of the bowls. It'll be nice to watch another game, but Penn State doesn't move the meter for me because I'm not yet officially 80 years old.

This is a new century, guys. We should all live in it.

Although I do think that getting rid of the bowl selection committees is a useful thing, selfishly I would rather have played an SEC team like UGA. Only problem is about 14 people from an SEC fan base would travel to watch BC.

At least the extra practices will give next year's contributors some time to practice, you know, contributing. We'll need it.

Hoib said...


How condescending are you? I guess no one ever taught you to respect your elders.

Scott said...
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Scott said...

Hey Thomas,

I think you missed the merits of my post by stretching your analogy a little too far.

I agree with you that "running up the score" for style points has no place in sportsmanship or the selection committee. But there is an important difference between just squeaking by a host of weak-ish teams (implying you're not as good as your record, particularly if scheduled down), and having the game well in-hand and protecting the victory w/o a huge run-up (demonstrating you are the dominant team and played it smart).

Given that each playoff contender has essentially the same record at year-end, you have no choice but to draw distinctions based on the quality of the opponents and how the games were won, That's hard to do when each team only plays 9-10 meaningful games each season (only 4-5 of which are versus truly solid opponents),

In prior years, the BCS computers tried to capture these grey-area elements by using a Strength of Schedule multiplier, and discounting "blow-out style points" over 28 points. But obviously that's over and under-inclusive. That's where I think the selection committee can excel. There is an undeniable human component to the committee's calculus, and the benefit of belaboring the intricate details of each game on top 6 contender's resume. So I think they are capable of distinguishing between the two extremes of controlling a game and lucky to squeak by ... and I think it's a distinction they need to make separate the top 4 from the 5&6th who just missed the cut.

Hoib said...


Mistakenly responded to BJK when I should have to you. Must be oldage setting in as CT infers

Awesome writeup. Normal Dec weather in NYC won't be a problem. It becomes one if we have the bad luck to have a severe winter storm on that day, like we did the night before the cotton Bowl!

I'll just add that anyone coming from CT, and Westchester can take Metro North Railroad right to the game. This is by far the best way to go. You can get the train as far up as New Haven, and then just switch at the 125 Street Station for the special Stadium train.

CT said...


The bowl selection process is better for business this year, and, with respect to the original post, will be too in the years ahead. BC will simply have to go undefeated to make the playoff because the perception of the conference is poor. And, perhaps as importantly, the quality of our non-conference games will have to improve.

I'm quite certain the bowl game will be fun.

Enjoy it.

Penn State is certainly a brand name. But not in the last 15 years. The world has changed.

Stay warm and bring binoculars.

Thomas said...


First off, I agree wholeheartedly with your 2nd point in your original post.

But, I think you have to look at what happened this past Saturday to see how having a human element encourages running up the score. TCU won 55-3 and OSU won 59-0.

Honestly I think OSU is in because the committee didn't want to answer to the media and Baylor/TCU fans. They backed themselves into a corner by ranking TCU above Baylor the last several weeks. And they got bailed out by OSU running up the score on Wisconsin.

Bravesbill said...

Another problem about the committee is that it seemed like public opinion influenced its decision making, esp. the final week. There was an uproar about FSU being slotted 4th and TCU being slotted 3rd (ahead of Baylor). It then overcompensated in the final rankings by moving FSU back to 3rd and TCU all the way down to 6th (after annihilating ISU).

JBQ said...

@ibkjj: I wish to defend FSU. They are not the "convicts" who took on the French School. Look up just why Jameis took those crab legs. They were part of an advanced physics experiment. His problem with the woman was over an advanced biology field study. If you think that 37% is a fair assessment. All 37% were nuclear physics majors. There is a secret Navy recruiting program going through FSU. The other 63% are secretly training with the CIA in the desserts of Saudi Arabia. This makes the BC wide receiver who was recruited by the SEALS appear minuscule. There is no doubt that the posting is completely accurate. BC just doesn't generate enough money. "Sex and violence" sells. Vince Lombardi is dead and Eminem is alive at least as far as he knows.

blist said...

Take your meds

nomisto said...

Personally, I prefer a 6 team playoff with the 5 power conference champs automatic qualifiers, 1 at large, and top two seeds getting byes. Why? This may actually persuade Notre Dame to become a full ACC football member.

Scott said...

Lots of good comments on this topic. Interesting read, and I'll admit to being a little more receptive to the counter arguments against OSU, though I still think the committee got it right. Here's my final thoughts.

The Committee had it easy this year, because the Big 12's lack of championship game gave the committee an easy out. Obviously you're splitting hairs when choosing choosing between 3 one-loss teams for the final slot. Obviously OSU helped themselves by winning one extra game (convincingly). But I think committee resented being asked to choose who the better Big 12 team is, had they played a final game on a neutral site (recall, Baylor only beat TCU by a late field goal at home). The reality is one of the Big 12's teams would have lost ... so rather than speculate who would have won ... it was easier to choose the Big 10 team that actually won a title game.

The harder question is what will the committee do in 2 years if presented with the scenario, and the Big 12 has a true champion. No easy outs there, so they'll explain themselves a bit more.

I suspect the BCS will head off that problem, by expanding the field to 8 teams, so that all conferences are legit access. That ensures a spot for each of the power 5 champs, 1-2 spots to the lesser D-1 conferences, and 1-2 spots of the best at-large power 5 teams.

An 8 team makes tons of sense, but that essentially kills the marketability & significance of the other bowls. Also, an 8 team field makes it too easy for Notre Dame to stay independent.

In the current system, a 1 loss ND will never make the playoffs, to the exclusion of 2 power conference champions. Plus, most of the tier 1 bowls are locked up. That puts a lot of pressure on ND to join the ACC ... not just gain access to the playoffs or tier 1 bowls ... but to also make money, because their indy deal largely depends on them keeping all the proceeds of Tier Bowl. Point blank, if they don't make a big bowl 2 out of 3 years, they are making less per year that the ACC teams.

Hoib said...


This year was easy on the committee. There were no upsets in the Championship games, imagine if there were. I think there is finally a chance that ND joins a conference. I think it's more likely to be the Big 12. They have a much better chance of working a special deal, like Texas, than in the ACC. Plus a smaller league gives you a better chance to make the playoff. Remember those bums invented the special deal. I've always assumed the worst when it comes to ND and scheming. I've never been disapointed in that regard

JBQ said...

@blist: Shame on you.

Scott said...

I think it's ludicrius to believe ND would join any conference other than the ACC.

Sure, ND will openly flirt with the other conferences hoping to improve their bargaining position with the ACC, but its a bluff. Make no mistake, ND is only interested in the what the ACC offers in terms of geographic footprint and top academic peers.

ND could have joined the Big 10 at any time, there's is a huge reason they didn't ... wrong region, afflicted witth declinng populations and economies. ND wants nothing to do with the rust belt outside of Chicago.

It's crucial for ND maintain a strong & regular presence in the major eastern seaboard cities, specifically: Boston, NYC, Pitt, DC/Nova, research triangle, Atlanta, South Florida. Those cities encompass the vast majority of their donor alums, prospective applicants, and likely emplyment destinations for current students. More simply, those areas represent most affluent, populated, and fastest growing economies capable of affording aprivate education. Similiarly, only the ACC offers the right "cutural fit" (9 peer private & elite academic school) that the alums demand.

I think ND will evetually join the ACC in full, provided they enough flexibility to maintain an annual presence in the Bay Area (Stanford), Los Angelos (USC or UCLA) & an academy ... and occassionally in Texas, Chicago & Ohio.

But one thing is for certain, would never waste have its schedule playing in Kansas, Oklahoma, west texas, The only team they respect in the Big12 is U-Texas ... no one else.

Hoib said...


They have always been about one thing and that's money.

The rest is just a bunch of PR to help them cover their tracks. If they can make more dough by joining the Big 12, that's where they'll go. A leopard doesn't change it's spots.