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07 Sep 2009

One Foot Inbounds: Opening Weekend

by Robert Weintraub

When I was a young and evolving sports fanatic, there was nothing I enjoyed more than proving my hardcore bona fides by staying up late into the night watching West Coast action. Hockey games from Edmonton’s Northlands Coliseum, baseball at the Big A, hoops at the Salt Palace -- and, especially, Pac-10 basketball and football, usually called by a smooth-voiced announcer named Barry Tompkins, fresh off Balboa. Bleary-eyed, I would stagger in to school the following morning and astound my fellow ball-and-puck-obsessed classmates with tales of games unseen by most everyone east of the Mississippi.

Then I would doze off in class.

I thought of those yawn-filled days Thursday, when after many months of endless and repetitive analysis, college football finally returned to a desperately bored nation. Imagine -- we had actually pretended to give a crap about health care reform!

Yes, the games were back -- and after eight quarters of execrable football, I was out valuable sleep, sacrificed to the likes of defensive guru Steve Spurrier and sociopath LeGarrette Blount (who no doubt quoted Elliott Gould: "I must be losing my punch -- I never thought the son of a bitch would get up!"). During one second half stretch, there was the following sequence -- Boise fumble, Oregon interception, Boise sacked for 23-yard loss and intentional grounding penalty on fourth and 1, Oregon fumble, Boise fumble, Oregon stopped on fourth and short. Boise threw in a later fumble for good measure, enraging those who had bet on them to cover 3.5 points and were simply waiting for the put-away score -- which never came despite roughly a dozen opportunities.

After that, I was willing to debate the public option for a couple weeks while the varsity got their collective stuff together.

The initial Saturday of the season was a little better, although the defining moment of the day’s slate was a sack-and-squash of the defending Heisman Trophy winner. Didn’t the NFL outlaw that sort of thing when "Two-Ton" Tony Siragusa beer-belly dropped Rich Gannon in the 2000 AFC Championship game? No such luck for Oklahoma, who replaced Sam Bradford with a redshirt freshman unfortunately named Landry Jones (last seen running dope on a cigarette boat in a Carl Hiassen novel). Jones’ quivering upper lip was covered with a mustache as feeble as his grasp of the offense, and Oklahoma fell to Brigham Young University 14-13. The loss was a shock to Boomer Sooner Nation, who figured the only talking point coming out of the game at the new Dallas Cowboys’ stadium (known also as "Jerry World," for Cowboys owner Jerry Jones) would be punts clanging off the hideously huge video screen.

It was a gritty effort by the Mormon Monsters, especially on defense. Linebacker Coleby Clawson smashed Bradford, and fellow linebacker Jordan Pendleton smashed everybody else. Quarterback Max Hall was brilliant (9-of-10 and a touchdown pass) on the game-winning drive, despite being harried and hurried (had Bradford not been hurt, the story of the weekend might be middle linebacker Ryan Reynolds’ triumphant return to the Sooner defense). The win gives BYU a leg up on Boise State in the “Give the little guy a shot!” arguments coming this winter, when the expletives start flying in the direction of the BCS and all who sustain it. But the Cougs still have Florida State, TCU, and a bitter rival in Utah on the schedule (all at home). Boise only has a trip to Fresno in the Battle For The Milk Can as a potential landmine on the path to beating the disappointed, half-hearted loser of a major conference title game in a lesser BCS bowl.

Besides BYU and Boise, it was a letdown weekend for mid-majors. Nevada and Western Michigan had high-profile opportunities to step on the necks of embattled and widely loathed coaches Charlie Weis and Rich Rodriguez, respectively. But Notre Dame’s Pistol formation whipped Nevada, and Michigan bucked the Broncos with little trouble -- enraging those of us who liked the small fry to at least cover the spread, if not win outright. The Irish seem the more legitimate of the two fallen giants, given QB Jimmy Clausen’s emergence as an accurate deep passer. Two superb wideouts, Michael Floyd and Golden Tate, should help reel in his bombs. Michigan’s freshman quarterbacks, Tate Forcier (The Arm) and Denard “Shoelace” Robinson (The Wheels), will at least sleep in their own dorm room beds before tangling with Notre Dame next Saturday in the Big House.

Meanwhile, last year’s huggable outsiders, Utah, won ugly against its weak in-state rival Utah State; Mid-American Conference favorite Central Michigan was shut out for three and a half quarters by Arizona en route to a dispiriting 19-6 loss; East Carolina squeaked past Appalachian State of the FCS (formerly Division I-AA) 29-24 -- App’s star quarterback Armanti Edwards missed the game after a tough loss to a lawn mower; and in perhaps the biggest surprise of the weekend outside of Dallas, Troy, the most unlikely NFL pipeline (DeMarcus Ware, Leodis McKelvin, Osi Umenyiora) in the nation, were ambushed by Bowling Green, 31-14. Last season, the Falcons stunned Pitt and LeSean McCoy in the opener -- this one may have been even more shocking. While there may be another non-BCS school making a big splash come January, the gap between have and have-not appears to have grown since last season.

Alabama won’t be upset by a Mountain West team again. Any question marks about a rebuilt offensive line and the debut of quarterback Greg McElroy were resoundingly answered at the Georgia Dome. The Tide leaned on Virginia Tech with bigger, stronger bodies until the Hokies collapsed. Tech played with great passion, had some breaks, made several special teams plays -- and still lost by ten. McElroy replaced John Parker Wilson, who was as much a Tuscaloosa fixture as Dreamland BBQ. I’m ready to say, after a single start, that McElroy will be better: He withstood a fiery defense and his own inexperience early, hung tough, and made plenty of plays in the second half. Once he figures things out, and locks in with T.O. Jr., a.k.a wide receiver Julio Jones, Bama is set at quarterback. The running game, defense, and special teams are already championship quality.

Not so in Georgia. Living in Atlanta, I was exposed to endless tales of Dawgs’ quarterback Joe Cox’s impressive leadership ability. Usually, that means the arm strength is lacking, and that is the case with Cox -- and not just in comparison with the departed howitzer of Matthew Stafford. Granted, Cox’s first start came in the cauldron of T. Boone Pickens spanking new Windfarm Stadium, against a Top 10 team, and he had the flu (non-swine variety -- he keeps kosher). UGA was supposed to have a major advantage with it’s huge offensive line and deep corps of skill players against Oklahoma State’s wobbly defense, but it didn’t play out that way at all (losing Trindon Sturdivant to a knee injury for a second straight season doesn’t help). Bill Young, the “Defense Whisperer,” is the new Cowboys defensive coordinator, and he has already earned his salary. The unit that was shanked for over 400 yards per game in 2008 held Georgia to 257, and forced three turnovers, including a big sack-and-strip of Cox with 10 minutes to play. The fumble came moments after a dubious penalty wiped out a long punt return that would have set UGA up with first and goal at the Cowboys 2-yard line. On such heads of pins are entire seasons balanced. The Cowboys, with continued defensive improvement, wide receiver Dez Bryant’s brilliance, and Bradford’s injury, emerge as the main threat to Texas in the Big 12 South. It’s Cowboys vs. Longhorns, Man vs. Steer, on Halloween in Stillwater, and both should be undefeated -- although that Cowboys defense will be tested far more by pass-happy Houston and quarterback Case Keenum next Saturday than they were by the leadership of Joe Cox and UGA.

Toedrags

  • Give the Ol’ Ballcoach credit for a smart timeout midway through the fourth quarter against North Carolina State. The Wolfpack, at long last, had strung together a few first downs, and the Cocks’ defense was sucking wind. Spurrier halted play, got his defense some air, and they responded by holding the line in a 7-3 victory.
  • If Jake Locker played anywhere but the in the upper left of the country, he would be widely known as Tim Tebow Lite. Locker gave visiting LSU fits late Saturday night, but superior athleticism outside the numbers—namely, WR Terrance Toliver and CB Patrick Peterson—gave the Bayou Bengals enough of an advantage to pull out the win.
  • Hayden Fry was once considered a hot NFL coaching prospect. That is laughable now, but in the wake of Iowa’s twin field goal blocks to prevent humiliation at the hands of Northern Iowa, Fry should at least get a look as somebody’s special teams coach.
  • Anyone not rooting against Lane Kiffin and Tennessee after they ran up the score and the yards against overmatched Western Kentucky? A stiffer test for the Vols’ squadron of frosh runners comes against UCLA this week.
  • As a proud and defiant Syracuse man, I can only dream about what would have been if Greg Paulus had done the right thing and stayed home to play football, instead of taking a failed journey to Krzyzewski-ville.

New starting quarterback rankings

Here's a subjective ranking of quarterbacks who started their first games in college football over the weekend.

1. Blaine Gabbert, Missouri
2. Matt Barkley, Southern Cal
3. Chris Todd, Auburn
4. Terrance Cain, Utah
5. Ryan Mallet, Arkansas

The Top 25

Now then. Time for One Foot Inbounds’ initial foray into the world of polls (the Blogpoll, to be precise). A couple of notes on the subjectivity of the rankings: quality of opponent is critical, thus Alabama ranks ahead of Texas and Southern Cal. But I don’t hold with the notion that a team can’t fall if it wins. While 'Bama is toying with Florida International next weekend, SC will be in Columbus to battle Ohio State and its outstanding two-point conversion defense (note: Navy succeeds in the passing game out of run formations. On the biggest play of the season outside the Army game, they telegraphed the pass with the formation, and it had no chance). So a win by USC is likely to vault them over every school not based in Gainesville.

Also, TCU is Top-25 worthy but not considered because they have yet to play, and OFI doesn’t rank teams on spec.

1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Alabama
4. USC
5. OK State
6. Cal
7. Penn State
8. LSU
9. BYU
10. Ole Miss
11. Ohio State
12. Boise State
13. VaTech
14. Georgia Tech
15. Oklahoma
16. Notre Dame
17. Utah
18. Miami/FSU winner
19. Kansas
20. Nebraska
21. North Carolina
22. Houston
23. Baylor
24. Auburn
25. Oregon State

Lurking: Michigan State, Missouri, South Carolina, Arkansas, Stanford

Posted by: Robert Weintraub on 07 Sep 2009

39 comments, Last at 10 Sep 2009, 1:13pm by Will Allen

Comments

1
by Joel (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 12:33pm

The Notre Dame receiver is MICHAEL Floyd. Malcolm Floyd plays for the Chargers.

Get to know the name Michael Floyd. In a year or two, he'll be a top ten draft pick, guaranteed.

2
by Thunderbolt of ... :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 12:52pm

A couple quick corrections:

Ryan Mallett has started before, but not for Arkansas and not competently.

Also, I'm pretty sure you mean Hayden Fry 2.0, AKA Kirk Ferentz, was once considered a NFL coaching prospect.

3
by Packerpalooza (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 2:17pm

One would be hard pressed to find a worse call then the whistle that nullified a football/turnover at the end of the WI/NIU game. THe Wisconsin defensive player, Schonfeld, BLEW UP the play hitting the qb before he could make the pitch. He then dove to recover the loose ball. Somehow in the nanosecond that the runner was stopped the official determined action was over. They didn't even claim inadvertent whistle. The official explanation after the game was that forward progress was stopped.

4
by TomKelso :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 2:51pm

Isn't the Iowa item about Kirk Ferentz? (Is Hayden Fry even still alive?)

7
by Lee (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 3:29pm

Fry is still alive. Just had a street in Iowa City (ok, Coralville) renamed for him.

5
by jdhein22 (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 2:56pm

I am not sure if this was you being sarcastic or something, but Hayden Fry has not coached the Iowa Hawkeyes in a decade.

6
by Todd (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 3:27pm

As 2 mentioned, Ryan Mallet started a few games for Michigan his freshman year when Henne went down with injury.

8
by CNB (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 3:40pm

Ha! You can't fool me with a pseudonym, Tanier. I'd know that Walkthrough quality anywhere.

I wonder: With Stanford lurking, how close might Andrew Luck be to ranking on that list of new starting qbs?

And at this point, I think I actually would take Hayden Fry, and all of his 80 years, over Ferentz (and since they're friends, so might Al Davis. A Raider fan can hope.)

9
by bird jam :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 4:19pm

Ah, the sure sign of someone not actually watching the game but just looking at the box score and passing judgment. Kiffin had his subs in pretty early in the second half. I know some people are going to hate Kiffin no matter what he does based on his lightning-rod personality and comments, but the Vols were not running up the score Saturday unless you would prefer they start kneeling down in the third quarter...

11
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 6:52pm

I freely admit I didn't watch the game and just looked at the box score (I don't watch weenie-bashings unless my team is involved), but UT was only up 35-7 after three, and STARTING quarterback Crompton threw TWO touchdown passes in the fourth quarter. Perhaps a close analysis of the tape would reveal something different, but that sure looks like a team piling on late to inflate the numbers...

12
by bird jam :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 7:26pm

You probably missed all of last season too, but Crompton needs all the snaps he can get before the UCLA and Florida games. Berry and Nick Reveiz were pulled in the middle of the third quarter. Most of the second string was in by the end of the third quarter.

If Urban Meyer or Steve Spurrier does this, nobody bats an eye. But everyone loves jumping on the "Let's rip Kiffin" bandwagon.

14
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 8:28pm

Oh, believe me, I derived great pleasure from watching the Crompton Show last year... but I'm not sure that saying 'our starter is so lousy that a few more series against WKU is critical for his development' is any better than just saying 'yeah, we ran up the score against a weenie.' (And frankly, regardless of how lousy your starter is, having him throw against WKU in the fourth quarter with a four-TD lead is RUTS.)

15
by vcn (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 9:00pm

It was hardly "a few more series." Crompton played for the first two minutes of the fourth-quarter. In that time he threw 3 passes. Both completions were in first-and-short situations that Tennessee would have converted.

I'm admittedly a Tennessee homer, but I don't see much difference between that and the various other first-week cupcake-stompings, besides the size of Kiffin's mouth.

26
by hrudey (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 3:27pm

Preach on! Spurrier still had Garcia in late in the opener against NC State, and Tebow played into the second quarter. But nobody's faulting them for running up the score. Bunch o' hypocrites!

10
by bradley (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 6:49pm

One minor quibble. Ryan Renolds played poorly. He was abused all night by the slow footed BYU tight end. Just check the sooner blogs if you dont believe me. www.windmilltilting.com

13
by GoJackets (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 8:07pm

This was absolutely incredible writing. A very thorough walkthrough of all the important action, complete with loads of clever witticisms. Keep it up.

22
by MCS :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 10:12am

Seconded.

This article actually made me read about college football. Not something I tend to do. Bravo.

16
by robwein (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 11:16pm

Looks like the rust is on the writer too--as noted, I succumbed to the late hour and wrote Fry when I obviously meant Ferentz. Also, Bama should rank #2 over Texas, for this week anyway, and where it says "Notre Dame's pistol formation whipped Nevada," that should read "Notre Dame Pistol (formation) whipped Nevada." It was a play on words with Nevada's Pistol formation, and it was a bad one.

As for you touchy Vols fans, that was sarcasm on the Kiffin comment--since as someone pointed out, the big-name coaches run up the score all the time and get lauded, Lane clearly knows how to play the game.

Also, my picks sucked--currently 3-7 with the U half a point in arrears with 11 minutes left. This will improve, or may name ain't Phil Steele...
Rob

21
by bird jam :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 6:27am

Yeah, our comments were sarcasm too.

25
by vcn (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 3:24pm

As were UT's last three touchdowns.

17
by robwein (not verified) :: Mon, 09/07/2009 - 11:59pm

The U!! Favorite part of this InstaClassic--Jacory stone-faced after the dropped pass, recognizing the Canes had to sweat out a review before they could celebrate.

18
by utvikefan (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 1:12am

Glad to see the Mountain West can't beat Alabama this year either.

19
by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 1:47am

I have lots of pennies to hand out for any thoughts on the washington LSU game

24
by Vincent Verhei :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 12:47pm

I only watched the first drive. Jake Locker still looked iffy on both accuracy and touch. But Chris Polk looked really good, a short, powerful runner with good burst, a la Emmitt Smith. And the offensive line showed more cohesion on sweeps and screen plays than they have in years and years. Most importantly, the walls of sound that came through my TV on the screen pass and then the touchdown were the kind Husky fans haven't seen since the Halcyon days of the Purple Haze. They've waited nearly a decade for something to cheer for, and they think they've found it.

You can watch the entire game, for free, via ESPN.com.

20
by Big Johnson (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 2:50am

oh and i think theres a typo.

"A couple of notes on the subjectivity of the rankings: quality of opponent is critical, thus Alabama ranks ahead of Texas and Southern Cal"

"1. Florida
2. Texas
3. Alabama
4. USC
5. OK State
6. Cal
7. Penn State
8. LSU
9. BYU
10. Ole Miss"

23
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 11:47am

My long shot dream is for Boise State and BYU to be the sole undefeated teams, with USC's one loss coming against Oregon. Then we can watch the phony cartel-running BCS presidents and athletic directors bloviate about how it is obvious that a championship game should not involve the major t.v. markets of Idaho and Utah.

Regarding this remark....

"....beating the disappointed, half-hearted loser of a major conference title game in a lesser BCS bowl."

.....ya' know what ya' call a team which can't come close to meeting the intensity of it's opponent, in a nationally televised game, in a favorable game location, after a three week layoff, while led by a supposedly great coach, which then gets it's ass whipped? A squad which is decidedly inferior to the opponent. Half hearted teams in that situation aren't as good as the teams which beat them like the proverbial horse/donkey hybrid. Period.

28
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 5:21pm

"Then we can watch the phony cartel-running BCS presidents and athletic directors bloviate about how it is obvious that a championship game should not involve the major t.v. markets of Idaho and Utah."

They won't need to. They'll point to the statistical rankings of both BYU/Boise State vs the one-loss team (which will be massively in favor of the one-loss team) and say that while it's impressive that they went undefeated, their weak schedule was their undoing.

And the vast majority of college football fans will agree with them. Why? Because it's true. We know that college football isn't a fair system, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the BCS, which is simply living in that unfair system.

It has everything to do with the money disparity between the BCS conferences versus the non-BCS conferences. It's simply massive. Big Ten schools average a football budget of around $15M. Boise State's is $5.6M. Note that: Boise State, the best school in the WAC, has a football budget less than one half that of the Big Ten's worst team.

The BCS is not the source of college football's problems. "College" is the source of college football's problems. Ohio State has an endowment that's almost 40 times larger than Boise State's. It has 4 times the students, and probably hundreds of times the alumni.

BCS schools will always be able to schedule better (not harder, better - on their terms) and be able to control their conference membership better, so long as they have that massive economic advantage.

This means that while it's easy to say "it's unfair to exclude a non-BCS team that went undefeated," the harder truth is that that non-BCS team simply hasn't proven as much, and in fact it would be more unfair to exclude a BCS team that has proven more. Is it the non-BCS team's fault that they haven't? No. It's an unfair system, but you cannot make it fair.

You could make a 16-team playoff, but an undefeated non-BCS team still might not make it in - because autoberths for all conference champions is clearly unfair given the conference disparity. You'd just shift the people calling "unfair" from one college to another, and guess what? They'd be even *more* right than the ones calling "unfair" now. And even if it did, it'd be seeded far worse, and so people would again claim "unfair."

There is absolutely *no* analog in sports for the situation in FBS college football. The same disparity does not exist for basketball. The same disparity does not exist for FCS college football. No professional sport has the combination of ridiculously poor connectivity, massive economic disparity, and massive league size that FBS football has.

The reason a non-BCS team has never made the championship game honestly has nothing to do with a 'BCS cartel.' Look at the statistical rankings: no non-BCS team has ever finished in the top 2. Last year was the closest any non-BCS team has ever come, and Utah was still a *huge* distance away (in actual ranking, not in ordinal). That's why they've been kept out - because the BCS teams have shown more.

29
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 7:47pm

Yes, Pat, and as you note, the BCS schools have shown more because "BCS schools will always be able to schedule better (not harder, better - on their terms) and be able to control their conference membership better, so long as they have that massive economic advantage."

The reason I frequently despise some of the people involved in college football is because they maximize their large compensation by controlling very young adults, keeping their compensation relatively small, and to top it off, some of the young adults never get a chance to compete for a championship. Rich Rodriguez and Bill Martin are happy to have some of the marks help pay their salaries, but goodness knows they don't want the marks to have an actual chance to compete. That may be unfair to Rodriguez, given I don't know his views, but I'm pretty confident that Martin is a standard Big 10 Jim Delaney bureaucrat.

No, no system is "fair", in large part because the very concept of fairness is entirely nebulous, being so dependent on the vantage point of the observer. I would prefer a system where a team which did not win it's conference championship was seen as being ineligible for a national championship, and that any team which won it's conference championship while going undefeated knew that it had a chance. Throw in some conditions which would strongly discourage the deliberate attempt to schedule weak non-conferfence opponents, and I think the college game would have broader appeal while maintaining traditional enthusiasm.

32
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 9:57pm

"I would prefer a system where a team which did not win it's conference championship was seen as being ineligible for a national championship, and that any team which won it's conference championship while going undefeated knew that it had a chance"

Why? What's so special about the Sun Belt conference that "winning" it is somehow better than having 1 loss in the SEC? Autoberths for conference champions makes *no* sense. The conferences aren't equal, and they were never set up to be equal. Why should they be treated equally?

and to top it off, some of the young adults never get a chance to compete for a championship

There are a grand total of 2 teams that never get a chance to compete for a championship: Army and Navy. Every other team has a chance to compete for a championship.

A conference championship, yes, but the "FBS Subdivision" is so completely screwed up that a "fair FBS champion" is absolutely impossible to have. Conference championships are real, and relatively easy to figure out. But you can't bootstrap that up to a "national championship" because the conferences aren't equal.

I also don't see your logic in saying that the current system hurts the students because it deprives them of a chance for a championship. What they get in return is far, far more valuable - national exposure at a bowl game.

Throw in some conditions which would strongly discourage the deliberate attempt to schedule weak non-conferfence opponents

I love how you just offhand throw this in there, as if it's no big deal and easily done. Why don't you just say "Include a major overhaul of the funding structure of college football" - and hey, let's include "fix the federal deficit" in there just for good measure.

Let's be clear: Major college programs do not intentionally schedule weak non-cons. They intentionally schedule cheap non-cons who are willing to accept terms that are strongly in the major program's favor. The ADs don't care about the program's strength, mainly because they have no idea how strong that program will be in a few years.

And you can't fix that just by "throwing in a few conditions." That's the entire economic basis of college football. Break that, and the whole thing starts to come crumbling down.

34
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 1:42am

Pat, if you want to give team A a second bite at the apple, after it failed to prevail over team B in it's conference, perhaps even on a head to head basis, fine. I don't. I think the longest, best tradition in college football is the importance of the conference championship, and I prefer to take measures which insures that no team which fails to win it's conference will consider the year to be a success.

If you wish to contend that national exposure in a major bowl game is far, far, more valuable than being recognized as the national champion, fine. If you are contending that no non-BCS tweam would ever win such recognition, fine. Say, why don't we poll the last five rosters of undefeated non BCS schools, and ask them what they consider far, far, more valuable? Or are you now contending that you have the power to perceive their interests better than they can themselves? I love how you adopt this conceit.

Yes, yes, the entire economic basis of college football, which if broken, starts to come crumbling down, is dependent on Florida scheduling Troy and Charleston Southern. And really, it is impossible to have any idea whatsoever as to whether Troy will be able to give Florida a competitive game in four years. One has as good a chance to accurately predict what the high temperature will be in Gainesville on October 15, 2067. A complete and total unknowable. Really.

36
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 5:24pm

Pat, if you want to give team A a second bite at the apple, after it failed to prevail over team B in it's conference, perhaps even on a head to head basis, fine. I don't.

1) At least two of the conferences - the Big Ten and PAC-10 - have multiple independent schedules, so there exists the possibility that team A might not have played team B at all.

2) Last year's Big 12 didn't convince you? Texas beat the Big 12 champion, had an identical record, and didn't win the conference championship because it was ranked lower in the BCS standings. If by some miracle they had been identically ranked, it's entirely possible that the winner would have been chosen by draw.

You're somehow telling me that a team, in a BCS conference, that doesn't win its championship because of pure luck, went 12-1, finished in the top 5 of nearly every statistical ranking, is less deserving than an 8-5 Troy?

Just follow the logic here: if you're saying that "winning a conference championship" is most important, obviously, you'd want the conferences to have equal strength. But equal conference strength means on average, worse games - because the bottom five of the Big Ten are way, way better on average than the bottom five of the WAC, Sun Belt, etc.

Say, why don't we poll the last five rosters of undefeated non BCS schools, and ask them what they consider far, far, more valuable?

Why are you putting the desires of a ridiculously small number of teams over the rosters of half of college football?

Yes, yes, the entire economic basis of college football, which if broken, starts to come crumbling down, is dependent on Florida scheduling Troy and Charleston Southern.

Nah.

It actually breaks the entire economic basis of college sports. College football on its own could survive, but since it's propping up all of the other sports, they'd crumble. This is not in question - it's simple fact. You can look up the financial records for most universities online.

And really, it is impossible to have any idea whatsoever as to whether Troy will be able to give Florida a competitive game in four years

Yup. Penn State scheduled USF as a one-shot in 2005. Everyone expected them to be a cream puff - duh, the program was only a few years old. They won, but a 23-13 victory was a lot closer than most people expected, and was a criticism of the team until USF finished near 0.500 and upset Louisville.

Troy's Colley rankings over the past 5 years:
#64, #40, #67, #106, #71.

Florida's rankings over the past 5 years:
#1, #11, #1, #17, #33

Yes, I do think it's impossible to predict whether or not Troy will give Florida a competitive game in 5 years. They probably won't, but it's definitely a possibility they might.

I say again: teams don't schedule their non-cons due to perceived strength. They schedule them based on who they can get to give them a home-only series. Those tend to be weak teams, but not always.

38
by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/10/2009 - 12:15pm

Pat, it's pointless to have a dialogue if you are going to invent things I never wrote. I agree that many conferences have a poor method of identifying their champion. Making the attainment of the conference championship of paramount importance would give a incentive to improve those methods.

Look, you were the one who asserted that "x" is "far, far, more valuable" to people "y" than "z" is. I simply proposed that we poll people "y" to see if they agree with you. For some reason, you have responded by asking me why I am putting the desires of people "y" ahead of a larger set of people.

Yes, I understand that you assert that the current model is the only one that would supply revenue streams equal to today's revenue streams to various ahtletic departments. There is often an erroneous assumption that only the status quo will produce revenue streams equal to the revenue streams produced by the status quo. Then someone develops a better business model which produces superior revenue streams.

Finally, you don't seem to understand that the moment you concede that outcome x "probably" won't happen, you have conceded that it is inaccurate to state that you have "no idea" as to whether outcome x will happen. You do have an idea, which is why you have written that it probably won't.

27
by 2mathias (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 3:45pm

There was a magical moment in the San Jose State-USC game where the referee while announcing a penalty pointed the wrong way and then held up three fingers while he said, "repeat second down".

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 8:20pm

To expand a little bit, an eight team playoff, featuring the 6 BCS champs, and two of the non BCS champs, starting on the home fields of seeds 1-4 on the first or second Saturday of December, with semifinals on January 1, and the championship a week later, would be a huge money maker, dwarfing today's revenues. If one wanted to only give a seventh or eigth seed to a non-BCS champ if it was undefeated, fine, as much as I dislike a team which fails to win it's conference having a chance to win a national championship. If one wanted to maximize fairness to the BCS by saying that a non BCS team can never have a home playoff game, no matter who they schedule, fine. Telling guys who are working just as hard as anyone else, and, as we have seen, are capable of competing against elite BCS schools, that they have zero chance to win a title, no matter what they do, is pretty revolting to me.

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by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 10:00pm

Telling guys who are working just as hard as anyone else, and, as we have seen, are capable of competing against elite BCS schools, that they have zero chance to win a title, no matter what they do, is pretty revolting to me.

That's what we do to the entirety of Division IAA.

They have their own championship, but the non-BCS conferences have their own championships too.

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 1:47am

Yes, Pat, and if IAA conference champs were beating BCS conference champs or 2nd place finishers with any frequency in Bowl games, I'd favor them getting a chance to win a national championship as well.

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by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 09/09/2009 - 5:31pm

The non-BCS teams that finish that high do have a chance. They could schedule out-of-conference harder, because their in-conference schedule is complete trash compared to the BCS teams.

Could they do so? Sure. There have been negotiations between Utah, BYU, Boise State, etc. against major conferences, and they do play them occasionally. But they won't play more than one in a year, because they can't do it economically, because they need the home games, just like the major schools do.

I don't get it - you're complaining that there should be rules against Florida, etc. scheduling weak opponents, but you're trying to reward non-BCS teams for having a schedule full of weak opponents.

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by Will Allen (not verified) :: Thu, 09/10/2009 - 1:13pm

Here are the FEI rankings for Penn States's opponents this year, in descending order:

6,19,22,32,52,61,78,79,103,104,105,unranked (Ohio Valley Conference)

Here is the same for BYU:
7,23,28,45,73,92,93,96,99,107,110,112

In any case, to make myself more clear, what I am mostly suggesting is that four BCS conference champs be rewarded with a home playoff game for having the highest quality non-conference wins. I am not pitting BYU against Florida here. I'm pitting Florida against Oklahoma, USC, Ohio State, etc.

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by snik75 (not verified) :: Tue, 09/08/2009 - 9:00pm

The unfair part is trying to crown a team "national champion" of a "league" that includes an undefeated team. If you can go undefeated through your regular schedule and post-season and not be the "champion", then to me the term champion has no meaning. Which is why I believe the NCAA is correct in not recognizing a champion of the bowl subdivision.

My team will not win a "National Championship" in my lifetime. But I will still enjoy cheering for them.