Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

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» Impact of the NFL's Kickoff Rule Change

After three NFL seasons of kicking off from the 35-yard line, what has been the impact on touchbacks, returns, field position, scoring and injuries? Also, is this rule responsible for a record number of big comebacks?

08 Dec 2008

Confessions of a Football Junkie: BCS Watching

by Russell Levine

The BCS die is cast, and in the end, there were no surprises. As anticipated, Florida jumped Texas -- just as Oklahoma had a week earlier -- to set up the title game matchup between the Gators and Sooners.

By the time the game kicks off on January 8, the Texas controversy will have been largely forgotten and the BCS championship will be among the most anticipated games in college football history. It is easily the most intriguing BCS match since undefeated Texas and USC met in the Rose Bowl four years ago.

The game will either feature a two-time Heisman winner in Tim Tebow or a pair of Heisman winners if Oklahoma's Sam Bradford captures this statuette as expected on Saturday. It features the most explosive offense in college football history (Oklahoma) and one that wasn't far behind in Florida. Both teams run variations of the spread, with Oklahoma relying more on the pass while Florida utilizes elements of the single-wing with Tebow acting as the fullback in short-yardage situations. It will serve as the final verdict on the Big 12-SEC argument that has been brewing all year.

Given that both teams' strength is on offense, the play of the two defenses could well be the deciding factor. The popular perception, one even echoed by Tebow himself, is that Oklahoma, and the Big 12 in general, doesn't play any defense. While it's true that Oklahoma's defensive stats aren't very pretty (65th overall in total defense to ninth for Florida), the Sooners appear to be peaking at the right time. Dr. Saturday offers a closer look at the Sooners' recent defensive efforts and comes to the conclusion that the ranking may be a misnomer. I agree, especially given the quality of offenses Oklahoma has faced relative to Florida. Outside of Florida, the SEC simply was not a great offensive league this year. It was an awful passing league. Fully half the conference -- six teams -- ranked in the NCAA's bottom 25 teams in passing offense. Only two SEC offenses, Georgia (16th) and Arkansas (23rd) ranked in the top 50 nationally. Compare that to the pass-happy Big 12, which had half of its teams -- No. 1 Texas Tech, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Missouri, No. 8 Kansas, No. 11 Texas, and No. 14 Nebraska -- ranked above the top-rated SEC squad.

Of course, the flip side is also true. There were 11 SEC teams ranked in the top 38 in total defense; the Big 12's top-ranked team was Texas at no. 50.

At some point it becomes a chicken-vs.-egg argument. Is it bad defense or great offense? Bad offense or great defense? The answer to that question won't be known until bowl season is complete. Your opinion at the moment is probably dependent on your accent and your geographic locale.

Clearly there are better passers, and more of them, in the Big 12, which means more explosive offenses in that league. But just as clearly there are more stout defenses -- with big, run-stuffing tackles and speedy athletic ends -- in the SEC. This is not a black-or-white argument, it's shades of gray. And in those shades will be determined the national championship.

Or will it?

Some would have you believe that a split title is possible, with Texas possibly claiming the AP crown if it can destroy Ohio State in the Fiesta while the BCS championship ends up a close, poorly played game.

Before anyone argues that there's no such thing as a split championship any more, that the BCS title is the official crown, know that even the BCS official site acknowledged a split title in 2003 before the site was changed this year.

Such a scenario won't occur this year. Texas's chances of claiming the AP title died when Oregon State melted down against Oregon last week and blew a berth in the Rose Bowl. The opposite result was needed to bounce USC to the Fiesta Bowl, where the Trojans could have been paired with Texas in a game with enough cachet to perhaps entice some voters to put its winner at no. 1.

No, the best Texas can manage is a Fiesta Bowl trophy and a lifetime of "what if" questions, and the knowledge that the Big 12 will probably change its tie-breaking rules as a result of what happened to the Longhorns. To the "settle it on the field" crowd, I offer this year's Big 12 result as further proof of the folly of conference championship games. Here's a crazy idea: If a conference is really determined to "settle it on the field," why not drop the division format, have each team play a full round robin of 11 conference games plus one non-conference affair and truly determine the conference champ.

That will happen right around the time we get a 16-team playoff, which is to say, never.

Until then, I don't see much point in focusing on Texas -- or any other teams that were "screwed" by the BCS. Texas does not own that designation by its lonesome. How is USC or Penn State any less deserving? The BCS did what it is designed to do, pick two worthy teams and have them play for what somebody feels is a worthy designation, the "national championship." Make no mistake. The BCS did not "fail" this year. There are seven major-conference teams with one loss, plus two undefeated teams from mid-major conferences. The two playing for the title are the two hottest teams in college football. It's as worthy a matchup as any other. It is not the BCS's fault that the Big 12 chose to use the BCS standings to settle a three-way tie and elevated Oklahoma over Texas.

Those who would rather focus on the shortcomings of the system rather than enjoy what we have are welcome to do so. I won't be joining them. I look forward to the Penn State-USC game. I think Utah-Alabama has the potential to be a very interesting Sugar Bowl. There are some great battles in the second-tier games as well. I'll be watching the Poinsettia Bowl between Boise State and TCU with great interest. The Holiday Bowl should also be outstanding. Georgia Tech gets another shot at the SEC in its Chick-fil-a match against LSU.

When someone holds up the crystal football on January 8, they will be the champions. Anyone else that finished undefeated or with a single loss will have a valid argument that they were more deserving. They'll carry a high ranking into next season, or maybe they won't. The sun will rise in the morning. Life will go on.

Loving college football means accepting its warts. If you can get your mind around the idea that not having a clear-cut winner doesn't diminish what we've witnessed over the past 15 weeks (and may in fact add to it), bowl season can be one of the most entertaining times of year.

John L. Smith Trophy

It was a big weekend for Urban Meyer, as he coached his team to its second BCS championship game in his four years at Florida. But it might not have turned out so well if his players weren't able to recover from a penalty called on Meyer for being out on the field.

Florida was holding on to a four-point lead when it faced a second-and-goal at the Alabama 1-yard line with four minutes remaining. There was confusion, and Meyer and two of his assistants stepped several yards onto the field to direct personnel. The officials correctly flagged the Gators for a sideline violation, and moved them back to the six. Luckily for Meyer, Tim Tebow bailed him out with a touchdown pass on third down to salt the game away rather than have to settle for a field goal and a seven-point edge.

In a weekend devoid of any major strategic blunders, Meyer's brain cramp is enough to qualify him for the JLS Trophy this week.

BlogPoll Ballot

This season, I am again voting in the BlogPoll, hosted by mgoblog, and now available on CBS Sportsline. I'll post my ballot in Junkie each week. Feel free to comment, and I may make changes based on comments for a revised ballot later in the week .

Rank Team Delta
1 Texas --
2 Oklahoma --
3 Florida --
4 Alabama --
5 Penn State --
6 Southern Cal --
7 Texas Tech --
8 Utah --
9 Ohio State --
10 Boise State --
11 Oklahoma State --
12 Oregon --
13 TCU --
14 Georgia Tech --
15 Cincinnati --
16 Brigham Young --
17 Georgia --
18 Virginia Tech --
19 Oregon State --
20 Missouri --
21 Mississippi --
22 Michigan State --
23 Boston College --
24 Northwestern --
25 Ball State --


Dropped Out:

Rankings that may require further explanation: Not much shifting in the rankings this week as most teams' seasons were already complete. Texas remains No. 1 on my ballot thanks to its win over Oklahoma. Oklahoma moves up to No. 2, one spot ahead of Florida, because Oklahoma's loss (vs. Texas), is stronger than Florida's (vs. Ole Miss). Alabama performed better than I thought it would against Florida and remains in place at No. 4, just ahead of Penn State and USC.

Games I watched at least part of: Louisville-Rutgers, Buffalo-Ball State, Boston College-Virginia Tech, East Carolina-Tulsa, Army-Navy, Florida-Alabama, Oklahoma-Missouri.

Posted by: Russell Levine on 08 Dec 2008

42 comments, Last at 16 Dec 2008, 5:19pm by Kevin 11

Comments

1
by Kevin Eleven :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:02pm

1. Oklahoma (12-1)
2. Florida (11-1)
3. Alabama (12-1)
4. Texas (11-1)
5. Utah (12-0)
6. Penn State (11-1)
7. USC (11-1)- they could go as high as #2 after the bowls. This might really be the best team in the country, and that Thursday night loss to Oregon State must keep SC fans up at night.
8. Texas Tech (11-1)
9. Oklahoma State (9-3)
10. Ohio State (10-2)
11. TCU (10-2)
12. Cincinnati (10-2)
13. Boise State (11-0)
14. Georgia Tech (9-3)
15. BYU (10-2)
16. Georgia (9-3)
17. Missouri (9-4)
18. Virginia Tech (9-4)
19. Oregon (9-3)
20. Michigan State (9-3)
21. Ole Miss (8-4)
22. Northwestern (9-3)
23. Pittsburgh (9-3)
24. Boston College (9-3)
25. Iowa (8-4)

2
by Hooked (not verified) :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:15pm

I think your argument is a sound one. I'm not so pissed at the BCS as I am at the Big 12. You don't really need a round robin to settle everything - just no divisions and some sort of tiebreaker. That isn't perfect, but it's better than the "black box" of the BCS ranking. At least 2 of the 3 best Big 12 teams would have played for the conference title, instead of one, and that game would have told us something about the two of them.

3
by Mike Y :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:18pm

There really needs to be a playoff. I propose a 16 team playoff, with each of the 11 conference champions getting bids, along with 5 at-large teams selected by an NCAAB-style committee. I will pick Alabama, Texas Tech, Texas, Ohio State, and TCU as the at large teams. Here are the matchups, higher seed gets the home game in the first two rounds, and the "Final Four" will be played at a neutral site:

Saturday, December 20

#16 Troy at #1 Oklahoma
#9 Boise St. at #8 Penn St.
#13 Virginia Tech at #4 USC
#12 Cincinnati at #5 Alabama
#14 Tulsa at #3 Texas
#11 TCU at #6 Utah
#10 Ohio St. at #7 Texas Tech
#15 Buffalo at #2 Florida

Saturday, December 27 (assuming higher seeds win)

#8 Penn St. at #1 Oklahoma
#5 Alabama at #4 USC
#6 Utah at #3 Texas
#7 Texas Tech at #2 Florida

Monday, January 5 at Miami, Fla.

#4 USC vs. #1 Oklahoma
#2 Florida vs. #3 Texas

Monday, January 12 at Miami, Fla.

#1 Oklahoma vs. #2 Florida

Of course, the games won't be played out like that, and there will be upsets, making it that much more exciting. Instead we get the BCS.

Also, we could keep all the bowls, we could still have a Michigan State vs. Oregon Rose Bowl on New Years Day, and an Oklahoma State vs. Georgia Cotton Bowl, and a Minnesota vs. Central Michigan Motor City Bowl.

All of this is workable, and yet some people still seem to be against a playoff.

5
by Disco Stu (not verified) :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:39pm

A Rose Bowl between the #3 Big Ten team and the #3 Pac 10 team?

9
by Mike Y :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 12:49am

A Rose Bowl between the #3 Big Ten team and the #2/3 Pac 10 team + a playoff system is more desirable than the current Rose Bowl + the BCS two team playoff. In the playoff system, if Penn State plays USC in a National Semifinal, it would actually mean something other than a glorified exhibition game.

15
by bowman (not verified) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 9:47am

Just move the Rose Bowl up to December 6, and pair the Pac10 and Big10 champions. You'd have a "national semi-final" type game, and boost the BCS chances of the participants.

29
by Will :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 7:51pm

Speak for yourself, to me, a die hard Big Ten and Ohio State fan:

Big Ten #1 vs. Pac-10 #1 > BCS/Playoff

Will

31
by Solomon (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 12:52am

While a playoff has merit, I would hate to see the demise of the Rose Bowl and the Big 10/Pac 10 champions format. Maybe a plus-one system would be a reasonable compromise.

Part of me was a little disappointed when Ohio State had to miss the Rose Bowl when it played in the national title games, despite winning the Big 10. I was actually hoping OSU had gone to the Rose Bowl last season, as I thought OSU was not as talented as Louisiana State. The Big 10 sent its third (arguably second) best team to Pasadena last season, with predictable results. I am not saying OSU would have beaten USC, but it cannot have done worse than Illinois.

It still seems weird to see Penn State go to the Rose Bowl, as PSU just seems out of place in the Big 10.

22
by roguerouge :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 1:47pm

Simple: that's a 16 or 17 game season. These are still kids. Their muscles and bodies are still growing and are more vulnerable to injury and over-use. In addition, when are these kids going to be taking final exams under this scheme?

26
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 5:27pm

High school teams play sixteen game schedules (including playoffs). I-AA/FCS teams play sixteen game schedules (including playoffs). NFL teams play up to 25 games (including the preseason and playoffs).

College basketball has a longer season than football, and the NCAA tournament takes place during mid-terms or final exams for most schools.

This is a non-issue.

--
My new CuseFanInSoCal blog

4
by Kevin Eleven :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:21pm

Russell, how is Texas ahead of OU? Yes, Texas beat OU. But Tech beat Texas. But OU beat Tech. But Texas beat OU.

OU has lapped Tech schedule wise by blowing out Mizzou.

6
by forcefulmuffin (not verified) :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:49pm

I have to agree with this article other than the part concerning the round robin format. I think that getting rid of the north and south would be better in the case of the big twelve especially when considering the opponent the north has had to offer recently (excluding last year). Even though neither would have solved this year's crisis.

7
by Fourth (not verified) :: Mon, 12/08/2008 - 11:57pm

Yeah, and Texas Tech lost to a better team than Florida too, so bump them up. Penn State at least had the decency to lose on the road, better move them ahead of Florida. Hell, Alabama's loss is much better than Florida's, gotta move the Gators down again...

Florida had a Madden "no fracking way" game and lost by a point to a decent team. Plz2luk at entire season, kthx.

If you think Texas and OU are the best teams in the country, that's fine, no one really knows for sure anyway. I just have a problem with this "best loss" idea being used as a logical argument for keeping Florida lower than they probably should be. (Have we heard this best loss argument from you involving ranking teams besides Florida? Or is it just them, because lololemiss and istillhaverepressedangerabout06?) Anyway, why not best win? First half point differential over the whole year? Strength of Schedule? Eyeball test? Any of those are equal to or better measures than "best loss," in my opinion.

Here's an interesting question: if your vote actually counted for something in the bcs, would you still vote for a Texas - OU rematch and leave Florida third?

17
by bowman (not verified) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 10:15am

"I just have a problem with this "best loss" idea being used as a logical argument for keeping Florida lower than they probably should be."

If the author was really using "best loss" as his sole criteria, he would by definition have Utah and BSU 1 and 2. Therefore, he must have other criteria he's looked at, and is using "best loss" as a tie-breaker. What I think we're really reading is "Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida are equally deserving, so Texas is first based on a 1-0 record vs. each other, Oklahoma is second because it played #1, and Florida is 3rd because it didn't".

8
by mm (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 12:18am

Here's a crazy idea: If a conference is really determined to "settle it on the field," why not drop the division format, have each team play a full round robin of 11 conference games plus one non-conference affair and truly determine the conference champ.

How would that solve 3 way ties like happened in the Big 12 South this year? You always need tiebreakers. The NFL has tiebreakers, and they apply them the same way the Big 12 does.

No matter what criteria you use to break a 3 way tie (where each team has the same record in head to head against the others), you will end up with a team not advancing that beat the team that did; going to an 11 game conference schedule will not eliminate them.

18
by Dennis :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 11:11am

I was going to post the same thing. You had a truly unique situation in the big 12 this year with a complete three-way tie. If they played a full round-robin and each won their other three, how would you break the tie?

10
by lionsbob :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 12:55am

and the way too early to actually know department:

I am looking forward to the Alabama-Florida rematch in the SEC championship. I never thought Alabama would be in the SEC championship before this season and thought 2009 would be the more reasonable chance (they lose Georgia on the schedule for South Carolina and their SEC road games will be Kentucky, Auburn, Ole Miss, and Miss. State-they get South Carolina, LSU, Tennessee, and Arkansas at home). There will likely be a game against Virginia Tech in Atlanta to start the season off, but nothing else too difficult on the non-conference slate.

Of course they will have to replace the starting QB (which beyond leadership, might be an upgrade), 2-3 starting OL (the big ones being Caldwell...and maybe Smith), 2 TEs (but guys like Smelley and Peek will be good replacements). And then on defense 2 starters-again the lost of leadership and playmaking ability with Johnson is going to be huge to overcome. I don't think Cody leaves early, but that might be someone else we have to replace.

12
by Fourth (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 1:56am

I'd still be a little worried about that QB position. First year starters tend to struggle a bit, and any given Saturday in the SEC can be a tough one if you start turning the ball over. Then again, Julio Jones. Why didn't y'all get him the ball more often Saturday? Also 6-2 will probably be enough to win the west.

Florida has a relatively easy schedule next year in theory: At Kentucky, LSU, Miss St, South Carolina...home for Tenn, Ark, Vandy...Georgia in Jax. Obviously, at LSU stands out as the toughest of those, but that looks a lot like 7-1 or 8-0 to me. Unless Tebow leaves. Then it looks more like 6-2.

I'd say Florida has about a 50% shot at winning the east without Tebow and 100% with him (Georgia will be replacing Stafford, Tenn has a first year coach...South Carolina is probably the biggest threat by process of elimination). Alabama is maybe 60-70% to win the west, with most of the uncertainty on the new qb. LSU and maybe Ole Miss should be the only threats.

11
by td (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 1:32am

In 1997, Nebraska won the only championship that mattered

20
by Yinka Double Dare :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 12:15pm

I wasn't aware that the "Coaches Poll Retirement Gift to Tom Osborne after Nebraska finished undefeated solely due to an illegal play" title was the only one that mattered.

13
by Gihyou (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 3:37am

If you have a round-robin format, at least you can say you tried to settle it on the field. If you don't, you leave the schedule up to a certain (high) amount of luck.

Not only that, but by separating the conferences into two divisions for the purposes of forming a cash-grab championship game, you end up with situations where Missouri, the fourth or fifth best team in the conference, could have won the conference by beating Oklahoma, in which case Missouri would have gotten a rather undeserved BCS appearance.

No, no the Big 12 doesn't do it right at all. The Pac-10 does it the best: round-robin, winner take all. You may need tiebreakers, but when everyone plays each other, things like point differential and all make a little more sense.

14
by bradluen :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 5:45am

Only having one non-conference game would make inter-conference comparisons before the bowls all but useless. Round-robins are great, but for that to work for the Big 12, they'd need to play a 14 game season, or drop some dead weight (*cough* Iowa State *cough*), neither of which are going to happen.

Everyone besides Oklahoma and Missouri would've preferred a Sooners-Longhorns rematch (Missouri should've known they'd get destroyed), so if you're going to have a conference championship game, you should have it between the top two teams regardless of division, and any sensible tiebreaker would've picked Oklahoma and Texas as the two (no, it wouldn't be those two every year).

Or: the championship game would be superfluous (you could just split the title) if we had a BCS/playoff that wasn't of the "one from each conference guaranteed" variety. (Aside to "all conference champs in a playoff" advocates: no cares about Troy. Sorry Troy, but you know it.)

21
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 1:39pm

Of course, if not for the moneygrab championship games, the Big 12 would not exist, and we'd still have the SWC and Big 8 (which could and did play round-robin schedules), though their membership might have changed some (Utah, BYU, and/or Boise might have moved into one or the other). The ACC might have snatched Miami from the Big East, but would have left VT and BC alone (though they'd still have South Carolina, since the SEC wouldn't have grabbed them or Arkansas, so maybe not). Etc.

--
My new CuseFanInSoCal blog

23
by zlionsfan :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 1:59pm

(Aside to "all conference champs in a playoff" advocates: no cares about Troy. Sorry Troy, but you know it.)

I must respectfully disagree. The best playoff system needs three things: the best teams, so we have the best odds of seeing really good games throughout the tournament; all conferences, so nobody can claim they didn't have a chance (and so lawyer-type people are satisfied); and the possibility of upsets, so that serious gambling money is involved.

I mean, so that people are interested about games other than the finals.

Of course we can't tell in advance who will have upset potential, and there will certainly be a fair share of blowouts (not like BCS teams can't manage those all on their own), but every now and then there will be a surprise, and the best thing about it is that it won't be a one-game-only thing. Okay, so Boise State did get past Oklahoma. Was it a fluke or can they really make a run at the title?

16
by bowman (not verified) (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 10:04am

"Only two SEC offenses, Georgia (16th) and Arkansas (23rd) ranked in the top 50 nationally. Compare that to the pass-happy Big 12, which had half of its teams -- No. 1 Texas Tech, No. 3 Oklahoma, No. 4 Missouri, No. 8 Kansas, No. 11 Texas, and No. 14 Nebraska -- ranked above the top-rated SEC squad."

Looking at the FEI on this site, the above seems misguided. As FEI looks at drives, and hides the average number of drives per game (which is obviously larger in the Big12), I see the following ranks on Offense:

OU - 1
TT - 2
UT - 4
OSU - 5
UF - 6
UGA - 7
Mizzu - 14
Bama - 18
Miss - 20

In top 20 - 5 Big 12, 4 SEC, with 4 of the 5 Big 12 in top 5

On Defense:

UF - 3
UT - 8
Bama - 10
USC - 16
Tenn - 19

In top 20 - 1 Big 12, 4 SEC.

While the top Big12 teams do have a better offense, it doesn't seem as pronounced as the article makes it out to be, while the Big 12 defenses don't look as bad as the conventional numbers.

19
by hrudey (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 11:17am

While the argument that the Big XII defensive stats are hurt by the Big XII offenses (and the number of possessions their Loyola Marymount tactics create), look at some of the point totals given up by them to out of conference teams. Other than the big three, all of them have given up at least 30 points to a non-conference team that's not exactly a scoring juggernaut, and many of them in the 40s.

Of course, the counter-argument that the SEC passing offenses mostly stink is also valid. Still, it'll be an intriguing BCS title game -- I really want to see how Oklahoma's defense matches up against the best scoring offense they've faced all year.

24
by SOBL (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 2:10pm

@yinka double dare,

that is the best comment i have read this NCAA season. How about the Osborne Nebraska 94 team not splitting a championship even though the Penn St nittany lions went undefeated in the big 10, when that meant something, because the voters were scared Osborne might retire without winning a title.... only to watch him win 2 more in the next 3 seasons? Voters did it for Bowden the year before with that magical one spot drop after losing to ND, albeit in ND on the very last play. No one else has received as gracious a drop as that team did with that loss.

People get obsessed with a champion when there is so much more to college football than just saying who the best team is.

25
by Dave51 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 4:59pm

Why does the BCS even rank 3-25 if those spots are completely meaningless for bowl placement?

27
by CuseFanInSoCal :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 6:00pm

They're not. If the highest ranked team that didn't win their conference and isn't #1 or #2 is #4 or #3, they automatically get a spot. If the highest ranked non-BCS conference champ is in the top 12 or in the top 16 above the highest rank BCS conference champ. If Notre Dame is the BCS top 8, they automatically bid.

And many conferences use the BCS rankings as part of tiebreakers. So they need to go rather far past #1 and #2 even in the final version.

--
My new CuseFanInSoCal blog

28
by MC2 :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 7:07pm

Even though I'm more of a fan of the pro game than the college game, I always enjoy reading this column. However, I could really do without the relentless defense of the BCS, which has, at least recently, started to sound almost like a written version of John Saunders, the King of Pro-BCS Propaganda.

Of course, you're entitled to your opinion, but at this point, I doubt you're going to change anyone's mind. If they weren't swayed by any of your dozens of previous renditions of "Ode to the Status Quo", I doubt that one more verse of the same song is going to persuade them.

Just my 2 cents.

32
by Love is like a bottle of gin (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 12:54am

Well said I concur on all points.

36
by Kevin Eleven :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 1:30pm

What's more relentless- defending the BCS, or the calls for a playoff?

Answer- the calls for a playoff.

Look, NO playoff system could withstand the scrutiny the BCS endures. Can you imagine if two teams went 1-1 against each other, but the six loss team was handed the championship over the one loss team?

That's exactly what happened in the NFL last year, but no one questions it. And I'm not saying anyone should, but maybe college football's system should have a similar level of acceptance.

37
by MC2 :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 7:46pm

I've had this argument dozens of times, on this site and other sites (not to mention dozens of other times in person), and I'm in no mood to have it again. At this point, it feels like arguing with a fire hydrant. It's obvious to me that neither side is going to convince the other, and I'd rather see Russell just let it go. But, as I said above, it's his column, and he can do what he wants with it. I just think he's wasting his time.

By the way, if you want to read my response to the exact argument that you're making, check out my debate with Eddo on this thread: http://www.footballoutsiders.com/confessions/2008/confessions-football-j...

38
by ScottD (not verified) :: Thu, 12/11/2008 - 9:04pm

This is what I don't understand. If you like the pro game better that's great, watch the pro game. But don't try to turn college football into the NFL. Many of us who love college football (not those of us who like college football, those of us who LOVE college football more than anything else) don't want to see a playoff because it would ruin the epic nature of Saturdays. Every week we get out of bed knowing that something is going to happen that is going to change the entire outlook of the season for at least a few teams. If you introduce anything more than a 4-team playoff you completely ruin that magic. If you want football with playoffs, you've already got your games on Sundays. Just leave the rest of us alone, please.

39
by MC2 :: Fri, 12/12/2008 - 7:32am

Leave you alone?

I have just as much right to voice my opposition to the BCS as you (or Russell) have to voice your support for it. You don't "own" college football, so don't give me this whiny "You're trying to ruin OUR sport with your mean old playoff" crap.

I could just as easily tell you to shut up and be happy that there's no playoff (yet), instead of constantly showering praise on the BCS. But unlike you, I understand that people have a right to express their opinions. That doesn't mean I have to agree with those opinions.

Oh, and try telling Texas fans about the "magic" of Saturdays and how much "every game counts" under the current system.

40
by Kevin Eleven :: Sun, 12/14/2008 - 10:23am

I understand what he means when he says "leave us alone", and i think you took it a touch too literally.

It gets exasperating when EVERY SINGLE CONVERSATION about college football turns into a "should there be a playoff" debate, And from that exasperation comes frustration, where I sometimes want to say "if you like football playoffs so much, go watch the NFL, and leave the sport that I like alone".

The argument that the current system stinks because Texas got left out if baloney. Tell me about a system that includes Texas, and if you leave Texas Tech out of that system you're screwing them.

Everyone thinks they have the answer, but they don't. Every playoff proposal I've every seen creates as many problems as it solves AND it makes the regular season less meaningful.

Finally, quoting myself "Can you imagine if two teams went 1-1 against each other, but the six loss team was handed the championship over the one loss team?
That's exactly what happened in the NFL last year".

Noting that not a single playoff proponent wanted to touch that one...

41
by MC2 :: Mon, 12/15/2008 - 8:42pm

I answered your argument about the NFL in the thread that I provided a link to above. To briefly summarize, the big difference between college and the NFL is that in the NFL, everyone knows the rules ahead of time, while in college they just make up new rules as they go along. That's really the crux of my hatred of the BCS. It creates an arbitrary, soap-opera-like atmosphere, e.g. Florida and USC both suffer midseason upsets (just two days apart) to clearly inferior teams, then win out, but Florida goes on to play for the national championship, while USC never again gets serious consideration. Talk about baloney.

Finally, I don't want to get political (I'm a big fan of the "no politics" rule on this site and wish it was enforced more vigorously), but the "leave my sport alone" argument suffers from the same flaws as the "love it or leave it" argument employed against people who criticize governmental policy (regardless of which party's in power). Just because you happen to disagree with the current laws (and feel that changing them would make the country a better place) doesn't mean you have any less right to live here than someone who happens to agree with the current laws. The same thing applies to college football (or any other sport). The fact that you happen to agree with the current rules does not give you the right to "kick out" someone who disagrees with those rules.

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by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 12/16/2008 - 5:19pm

1. I agree with what you're saying re: the "love it or leave it" thing. If you think a playoff would make the game better, you certainly have the right to express that opinion. My point was (and is) that the non-stop playoff talk can be frustrating, and when frustrated people can say the wrong things.

2. Despite having identical records, Florida accomplished more in 2008 than USC did. Even in a down year, the SEC was far tougher than the Pac-10. Out of conference, SC played (and killed) Ohio State, but there’s not much after that. Florida played Florida State and Miami, then had the extra game against Alabama. When one compares schedules, it’s a no-contest- Florida did more to impress.

3. No one changed the rule in mid-stream; from the beginning it was known by all parties that the top two teams would be determined by the BCS forumula.

30
by Zachary S. (not verified) :: Tue, 12/09/2008 - 9:11pm

What, no mention of the Cotton Bowl? Two potential #1 draft picks (Oher and Crabtree) and an intriguing match-up of teams and all anyone can think about is playoff scenarios? The Emerald, Holiday, and Rose bowls should be entertaining. And the BCS title game could be a classic like USC-UT.

33
by Salvi's Headband (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 10:19am

I'm looking forward to the Papajohns.com bowl. Well, not too much, but its about as itnriguing as a lowest of the low tier bowls get, with Rutgers facing North Carolina. Had the season started with the last 5 games, both of these teams would have been in the top 10!

34
by Salvi's Headband (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 10:20am

That's Rutgers facing NC State, not North Carolina, of course.

35
by pete (not verified) :: Wed, 12/10/2008 - 11:45am

to mike: if you are to do a 16 team playoff, you cant take all 11 conf champions. what you do is take the 6 bcs champions, then take the other conference champs if they finish in the top 12 of the BCS. Troy, ECU, Buffalo have no business being in an NC discussion and produce nothing but wasted television.

The Bowl system is nothing more than ESPN's wet dream, which they insist upon us. If they open up a true college playoff, it is likely an NBC or CBS would vault their offer, plus it would likely decrease the value of their bowls, which produce something like 100+ hours of programming for the network during the deadest of sports months.

College football is an awful system. three months of football lead up to 33 meaningless games (plus one national title game) that are played a month after the regular season ends.