Monday, January 09, 2012

Allow me to rant about the BCS and the ACC's role

I love college football but I really hate the current BCS and bowl system. There are a million reasons to dislike it but my major gripe is that there are now only 12 teams eligible for the national championship and they all happen to be in the SEC. Heck, Alabama showed tonight that you don't even have to win the SEC to win a national championship. This isn't me hating the SEC due to an ACC inferiority complex. It is me hating on a system that is not decided on the field and where one conference is now benefiting from money, marketing and media hype. It would be like the World Series was only decided between the Red Sox and Yankees every year. I want a playoff. I want home playoff games and I want automatic qualifiers from all the major conferences. If we keep this slow march towards a "plus 1" and keeping the bowls and allowing six or seven SEC teams in BCS games, then most of the ACC will be squeezed out. College football will only be a power group of 40 or so schools. We need a playoff and the ACC needs to lead the charge. The conference needs to do it for the money and do it for the survival of the other 120 schools playing FBS (DIA) football.

The ACC could lead the change but we have gutless apologizing leadership. The conference, its coaches and its media members are constantly defending ACC football. Who cares? We don't oversign like the SEC teams. We have more admission restrictions. Of course our football will suffer a bit. Because we are not a collection of tradition football powers and because we have a group of private schools, we will never travel as well to bowl games. I know all the ACC teams got rolled in bowl games, but once again it doesn't matter. The bowl games are quirky neutral site games after long layoffs. If we had a real playoff, I am sure a hot ACC team would make a run on occasion.

Instead our leaders sit by and allow ESPN to prop up the bowl system and the SEC to be the primary beneficiary simply because they deliver ratings and hype. The regular season doesn't matter. Alabama just proved that. History doesn't matter or else they wouldn't have ruined the bowls. Academics don't matter or else SEC's would try to graduate their players. Cheating doesn't even matter. Look at the slap on the wrist Ohio State got. So we ignore all these issues to keep the old boy network of bowl reps, coaches and ADs protected. Having 70 teams in bowls helps perception. Having say 16 playoff teams would ratchet up the pressure on coaches and ADs.

The ACC could lead for change. We could work with the other schools to get a playoff. We could lead by example and it would mean more money and a better chance at championships. Instead our gutless leaders will sit back and watch Alabama and LSU play for another title next year.


neenan said...

You tell 'em ATL.

And while we are at it, let's get rid of the Electoral College too. That one is so undemocratic it is not even funny.

Also, I really hate that just because some punk graduates from an Ivy League School, he automatically has an advantage over every BC kids for premium jobs and elite grad schools. That really blows. There should be merit testing.

While I am at it, I think it sucks that the Catholic Church does not allow priests to marry.

Let me mention Goldman Sachs. WTF? Who said they always get rich? Very, very unfair

Benjamin said...

For a rant, that was well articulated.

I was thinking earlier today, what if graduation rates were a factor for the NC game, or any of the major bowl games, or bowl games in general? It would be good to have the academic back in collegiate sports.

chicagofire1871 said...

I always kind of liked the idea that in college, "every game matters". It was like a playoff every week, but this year it became a farce. How can they say that every game does matter when you can offer Alabama, a team that couldn't even win its division, let alone it's conference an opportunity to win the title.

What a crock.

Matt said...

If you have 15 minutes to read a long, but well-written article, check out this article from the Dallas Observer about the corruption that runs rampant in the bowl system:

Long story short, this whole system screws schools like BC sideways, not just because we get left out of the more prestigious games because we "don't travel well," but also because our school is left holding the bag for tickets at meaningless, faraway games. In the meantime, the bowl presidents make a killing at the expense of alumni donors and tuition-paying parents and students. And they're laughing all the way to the bank, as schools yearn for an opportunity to be "bowl eligible" as some imprimatur of success.

WI_Eagle said...

The funny part about SEC graduation rates is that other than Vandy (maybe Florida and Georgia) these are schools that my dog could graduate from, probably summa.

dixieagle said...

Interestingly, it's LSU that comes in second to Vandy in football (and basketball) graduation rates, ahead of Florida, Alabama and Georgia. Les Miles can be commended for that, as he has turned things around in that regard at LSU. I have no idea what these athletes major in, but at least 3/4 of them are getting their degrees under Miles.

Seamus Folan said...

I was actually thinking about how the "national title game" would have played out had the rules (and conferences) been the same when I was a teenager. The result? A national title game in the Sugar Bowl between LSU and...Alabama. LSU goes to the Sugar as they won the SEC. Then assume that the polls have 'BAMA second. The Sugar Bowl - after their commitment to the SEC was met - was free to take any other team.

The Orange would have been Stanford against Oklahoma State.

EL MIZ said...

thank you ATL. great post on a truly farcical system. i am so happy to see the bowl ratings and attendance down across the board this year. the system has long been in need of an overhaul.

bowls make no sense! can everyone come to grips with this simple fact. one sport in the world concludes its season like this -- d1 college football. even d2 and d3 college football has a playoff, as does every other team sport across the world. making a playoff does not "ruin" the regular season, which is an illogical and inane argument.

16 teams with homefield for rounds 1 and 2. play the 2 "final 4" games at different neutral sites (in warm weather locales like phoenix and miami) and play the championship at a neutral site as well. allow the 6 conference winners in, plus 10 at large bids done by a computer formula similar to how they allot bowls now. get rid of everything else! nobody will weep when the sun bowl or the tire bowl has played its last game.

EL MIZ said...

the article Matt posted is a must read. it spells out in the most obvious way how stupid the system is:

Last year, the nation's bowls paid schools roughly $270 million. Just for playing middlemen and providing 70-degree temperatures, bowl execs grabbed a larger cut, north of $300 million.

Even bowl apologists admit that by implementing a playoff system — like every other NCAA sport does — schools could generate three to four times what they're bringing home now...Under a playoff system, the schools' collective take might even approach $1 billion annually. It's the kind of money that could fill budget gaps in nearly every Division I athletic department.

CT said...

While I understand the frustration the current system engenders, I do think they got it right last night. Those two were the two best in the country and it wasn't even close. I would've liked, simply for curiousity's sake, to have seen Oklahoma State's offense try to throw the ball around, but you can't lose as a 36 point favorite then not play a conference championship game and complain. Alabama is a deserving champion. It wasn't aesthetically pleasing (again), but in an era that encourages scoring (like the NFL), it's refreshing for me to see the two best defenses, most of whom will be playing for one of your favorite pro teams soon, getting after it. It's just too bad Jordan Jefferson was involved. It was sorta like watching the Skinner flex all those years...boring but effective.

To the larger point of the bowl system, the NCAA Bball (playoff) tourney just put on a rather horrendous championship game between Butler and UConn. Were they the two best? What about the selection committee's arbitrary and subjective choices to winnow the field to 68? Isn't that more controversial? That committee doesn't watch the regular season to determine who makes it in, they look at schedules and results and RPI's (a computer not unlike the BCS poll) and make a decision.

While I agree that the (CFB) regular season is in itself not a playoff, it's been as long as I remember when one (preferably early) loss didn't necessarily eliminate a team from contending. The SEC has, begrudginly I admit, earned the capital to tip the scale in their favor. Six straight MNC's is ridiculous. The best talent and best coaches will do that, however, and the support network for them here in the southeast is unlike anything I can think of. The SEC is, in a word, different. They care more.

I think for now the best thing the ACC can do is simply start winning big games that people watch. 2-13 in BCS games is embarrassing. I would love to see the ACC be more competitive on the big stage, but unless and until FSU and Miami get their grooves back, I can't see the SEC's dominance being broken. But I do in one sense agree with ATL, in that if they drop the two team per conference max rule for BCS games and turn away from conference-bowl tie-ins, the SEC will profit to the detriment of everyone else, simply based on the ability of bowls to make a profit. That's capitalism. I'm fine with it. It's why the Yankees can spend $200 million every year, or the Red Sox $150 million. It sucks for the rest of us who hate those teams (and have to live with ESPN's bloviating coverage of them six months a year), but they're the ones who move the meter.

It's hard to get on a soapbox when the ACC fails to deliver when it matters most. Win when the chips are down and influence can be had. Until the day comes, however, come do a proper tailgate with a few rebs and relish the atmosphere of big-boy football. You'll never look at Shea Field quite the same again.

chicagofire1871 said...

I'm not sure a playoff is necessarily the answer. While it would allow some teams to sort if out on the field, it also semi-invalidates a teams regular season wins. Just because every other sport in the US (sorry el miz, not the world) crowns it's champion with a playoff doesn't mean that's the only barometer to determine success.

Had the computers not been overturned by the human voters, we'd have had LSU v. Ok State. There would have been far less acrimony with this match-up than two SEC teams.

EL MIZ said...

CT - the point isn't about the excitement of the championship game. as the article matt posted details, the system as currently constructed deprives the universities which field the teams of hundreds of millions of dollars per season, in the aggregate. all of this to have a meaningless "bowl season". if there was a playoff, LSU probably still would have played alabama, its hard to say they aren't the two best teams. but a playoff would mean way more money for the schools.

chicago fire -- if anything, this year proved the regular season by and large does not matter -- alabama got two bites at the apple. how "meaningful" was their home regular season game against LSU, as they essentially got a re-do. and that is WITH the bowl system! again, it probably would have been the same had there been a playoff, but to say that the regular season matters "more" with bowls in a season in which it turned out not to matter at all is illogical.

the point is not about the excitement of the championship game or about whether the regular season matters (it will matter regardless), the point is that colleges across the country lose, in the aggregate, hundreds of millions of dollars by "paying" the bowls to host 70 bowls, 69 of which are completely arbitrary exhibition games.

why is it better to have the corporate sponsors or the bowl execs to take home millions when BC (and other universities) could each be cashing a check for millions at the end of the season?

this article lays it all out. it is an economic argument, not fairness-based and not excitement-based. schools like BC would make millions more annually if there were an 8-team playoff and no other bowls:

Knucklehead said...

I want to know how many hours Bill Belichick put into studying LSU film this past week for his chronie Nick "shifty eyes" Saban.

The Bama scheme on offense was completely new and different than they had played all year. It looked exactly like the Patriots . . . short passing game/ take what the defense gives you.

LSU had no idea what to do on Defense(they did hold them to fields goals but 20 points 2x more than normal for them).

Jordan Jefferson ought to be investigated by a federal prosecutor the way he played last night. He fumbled the three times, took terrible sacks, and a shovel pass to the running back who wasn't looking were all egregious. He was blaming the Center and RB who were really not having any of it. He literally was a deer in headlights.

I almost guarantee that he gets drafted by the Patriots or the Chiefs(Belichick cronies) eventhough he is not NFL caliber as payment for throwing the game.

Big Jack Krack said...

I wonder what would happen if there were no Conference tie-ins with Bowls.

I used to think automatic tie ins were a good thing, but I have my doubts now.

Tie-ins = requirements, as in you are required to send 8 teams to 8 bowls, etc. Sure, one could look at it another way - be my guest. I don't have all the answers.

But if college Bowl games were truly invitational, I'm sure some of them would disappear. Because if they were invitational, teams would have the option to decline.

Ticket sale requirements would have to change, etc.

Speaking in terms of Bowls, maybe it was more fun when we were "Eastern Independents", even though we got screwed a few times.

Currently our goal is to win our division and win the ACCCG. After that, it's all about the matchup. Playing WVU on a Wednesday Night was not a reward, in my opinion. The Orange Bowl is becoming/has become a joke. That's what happened to the Cotton Bowl until they straightened it out.

Our goal should never be to win enough games to qualify for a god-awful bowl - or one on a weeknight after Christmas week vacation.

Our goal is to try to beat our opponent each week - and have fun and enjoyment and friendly interaction with family and friends and classmates and like-minded fans in the tailgate environment.

That's where Gene DeFilippo has to start.

Let's go, Gene - be a leader - do the right thing. Send some positive messages out to our school and fan-base. Get on the side of the customers - this isn't rocket science.

Big Jack Krack said...

Knucklehead - you're one of the reasons I enjoy reading this blog.

My comment about Eastern Independents and more fun, etc. probably seemed strange.

The difference in those days was that we earned our bids - few as they were in the Flutie years - we didn't simply automatically qualify. (Tangerine , Liberty and Cotton). It seemed more exciting in a way.

A few weeks back Atl ran a little chapter about Bowls and fan interest. We may have begun to lose interest when the conferences started assigning our bowls. Some were okay - none outstanding and some absolutely pathetic.

Let's start with our basic game day experience and school pride. The weather can rob us of half of our tailgates - but a good solid plan will be very helpful.

Right now our tailgating emphasizes the negative - "restricted, prohibited, limited, not authorized, etc. That has to change - baby steps, Gene - even baby steps will be appreciated.

Actually they will be demanded.

mod34b said...

This reform talk is all for naught.

Just look at the SEC wannabes in the ACC: Clemson, FSU, VT, GT. maybe Miami.

No reformers in that bunch.

I'd like to see the SEC break away from the NCAA for football only. Then declare themselves a quasi professional league with their own rules (e.g., pay the players $50k to $150k a year; academics optional or minimal), and be done with the farce that they are somehow honest, academic institutions when it comes to football.

Maybe FSU, Miami, Clemson and VT can join them!

JBQ said...

Source: Ryan Brewer, Indiana University-Purdue: "How much is your alma mater's team worth? Texas 805.1 mill. BC (#58) 75.4 mill. There is your answer and that is why LSU (#8) 504.2 mill doesnot have to worry about pressure from the NCAA in graduating their players. It is also why 'Bama (Roll Tide #6) 522.0mill will be in the national championship game next year.

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