Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

03 Nov 2008

Confessions of a Football Junkie: Relax

by Russell Levine

Cue the gnashing of teeth.

We're early in BCS season -- this week marking just the second standings release of the year -- so it's the time of year when seemingly everyone connected to college football begins laying out the scenarios for BCS chaos.

With each new scenario comes much consternation from a fan base somewhere. Undefeated Penn State could get shut out! A one-loss SEC team might not have a chance! The Big Ten and Pac-10 are awful but will get the nod over the SEC or Big 12!

Allow me, please, a word of advice: Relax.

Have you learned nothing the last few years? Do you not remember South Florida and West Virginia, 2007? Louisville, Rutgers, and USC, 2006? Those are but a few of the teams that were in position to control their own destiny for a berth in the championship game, only to lose in inglorious fashion.

There are five weeks of regular-season play left. The teams currently in position to play for the BCS title -- No. 1 Alabama and second-ranked Texas Tech -- each have multiple difficult games remaining. Penn State, at No. 3 and with what appears to be an easy remaining schedule, might actually be the safest bet among the three to reach the championship. Florida, Oklahoma, and Texas, each highly ranked with a single loss, also have reasonable paths to the championship game based on their remaining schedules. It should be said, though, that USC likely needs a lot of help to get into the top two spots.

The BCS, with its reliance on the scary technology of computer rankings, has always been an easy target. It's an institution that was created in an attempt to solve an unsolvable problem: that of how to pick just two worthy teams out of a 120-team sport in which comparative results are few and far between and in which a playoff is not (presently) an option. It can only succeed by virtue of luck.

Rather than focusing on the shortcomings of the BCS, college football fans and observers should be saving their wrath for the human polls that still account for two-thirds of the BCS formula. The coaches' poll has always been a joke. It's an open secret that coaches don't spend much time watching other teams play every Saturday and that many a ballot is filled out by some junior-level assistant in the sports-information office. The poll is also full of favoritism and built-in bias. How it escapes the same microscope that is applied to the BCS as a whole baffles me.

Look at this week's survey, for example. Oklahoma is ranked fifth; Texas seventh. Those teams have the same number of losses, and when they played less than a month ago, Texas won by 10 points on a neutral field. The same holds true in the Harris writers' poll, which was created as a quickie replacement when the AP pulled out of the BCS a few years ago, but there the results are even worse, as someone still ranked Texas No. 1, presumably having not stayed up late enough to see Texas Tech complete the upset late Saturday night.

If anything, the computer rankings deserve credit for managing to apply some logic to the BCS, restoring Texas to its proper place ahead of Oklahoma.

Thankfully, there is one place where logic applies all the time: on the field. And there are still plenty of opportunities for statements to be made there, just as Florida and Texas Tech made impressive statements Saturday.

Florida looks very much like the best team in the country over the last month, having destroyed all comers. The latest victim, Georgia, never had a chance as the Bulldogs -- so bold in celebrating their supremacy over the Gators last season -- waved the white flag of surrender very early in Jacksonville (see below). Florida's loss to Ole Miss (at home, no less) grows more mystifying by the week. The Gators would be a clear-cut No. 1 right now if not for that game. Still, their path to the championship requires but a little outside assistance. Florida can take care of Alabama itself if both reach the SEC championship game, and would just need Texas Tech to lose.

A loss by the Red Raiders is not in the least bit far-fetched. Mike Leach will face his toughest coaching challenge this week as he prepares his team to face an Oklahoma State squad whose only loss was a tight one at Texas two weeks ago. While the Red Raiders were battling Texas, Oklahoma State was busy squeaking by Iowa State, 59-17.

Leach might want to some phone calls this week to a couple of coaches who also won "the biggest game in program history" in recent years, only to see it all come crashing back to earth the following week. Louisville was undefeated in 2006 when it beat West Virginia to get in position to reach the BCS championship. The next week, the Cardinals melted down in blowing a huge lead to Rutgers. That win put Rutgers in potential BCS position, but the Scarlet Knights' celebration was also a short one, as they fell at Cincinnati the following week.

Leach will need to do everything he can to talk his team down from its pedestal this week. Perhaps his unconventional approach will help. Leach has never been the type to make football larger than life. He should be able to convince his players of the need to stop accepting the pats on the back and get ready to face a team that could very easily beat them. And if Tech survives that test, there's still a road trip to Oklahoma to come. His players should have little trouble understanding the job is not finished.

The most impressive thing about Texas Tech's win Saturday night was that they dominated the line of scrimmage, ran the ball well, and pressured Colt McCoy. Leach's teams, among the most pass-happy in the wave of spread offenses that have come to dominate college football, have been hit with the dreaded "finesse" label, but there was nothing finesse about this weekend. Leach regularly ran the ball behind his massive offensive line. Count us in agreement with Dr. Saturday. If Tech is running the ball now, too, it's really not fair.

Texas Tech offered a straightforward approach to the Texas game. They played from the opening snap as if they were the better team and expected to win. There was little deception, almost no finesse. Again, contrast that with....

John L. Smith Trophy

... Georgia's Mark Richt. Richt emerged from a deep field of worthy contenders this week to grab the JLS by calling for an onside kick early in the second quarter after kicking a field goal to trail Florida 7-3. The effort failed, Florida marched the short field for a touchdown to make it 14-3, and never looked back.

Richt might argue it's the kind of call that makes you a hero if it works, a zero if it didn't. I could not disagree more. It's simply not a call you make if you feel you have the better team. Urban Meyer must have known precisely at that moment that Georgia didn't believe it could win.

As mentioned, there were plenty of worthy candidates this week, including both Charlie Weis and Dave Wannstedt from the Pitt-Notre Dame four-overtime caution-fest, Minnesota's Tim Brewster, and Wisconsin's Bret Bielema. All four of these men botched late-game clock situations. Even Leach deserves consideration for an obvious mistake: kicking an extra point when up by five with one second remaining.

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 Tech 25
2 Alabama 24
3 Penn State 23
4 Texas 22
5 Oklahoma State 21
6 Oklahoma 20
7 Southern Cal 19
8 Florida 18
9 Utah 17
10 TCU 16
11 Boise State 15
12 Ohio State 14
13 Missouri 13
14 LSU 12
15 Georgia 11
16 Brigham Young 10
17 Ball State 9
18 North Carolina 8
19 Michigan State 7
20 California 6
21 Georgia Tech 5
22 Northwestern 4
23 Maryland 3
24 Pittsburgh 2
25 Florida State 1



Dropped Out:

Note: Delta column is all messed up because I didn't file a ballot last week while my home network was on the fritz. All will return to normal next week.

Rankings that may require further explanation: I feel pretty good about the top eight. Texas Tech gets the nod based on most impressive win over Alabama (Georgia not looking as strong as a month ago) and Penn State (Ohio State). The one-loss teams in the next bunch are sorted by quality of that loss. Texas and Oklahoma State are in a virtual tie, with Oklahoma slightly behind in that they lost to Texas on a neutral field. USC (lost at Oregon State) edges Florida (lost at home to Ole Miss) based upon the same criteria. Beyond that it's a crapshoot. Utah should probably fall after the squeaker against New Mexico, but undefeated and a half-decent schedule counts for something. I feel like Georgia and LSU should be lower but I have a hard time putting them behind the teams below.

Games I watched at least part of: Michigan-Purdue, Pitt-Notre Dame, Florida State-Georgia Tech, Florida-Georgia, Texas-Texas Tech, Arizona State-Oregon State.

Posted by: Russell Levine on 03 Nov 2008

51 comments, Last at 24 Nov 2008, 10:25pm by Pat (filler)

Comments

1
by ElAngelo (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 6:44pm

Not that it's exactly a crime, but here's the biggest problem with this year's BCS: we're going to get some awful Orange Bowl game like Florida State-West Virginia, where both teams are marginal top-20 contenders, while some Top 6 team will be playing in a lesser bowl because of the BCS rules that we can't have more than two teams from a conference in a BCS game.

2
by peachy (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 7:06pm

Just as bad, there's a fair chance for some brutal mismatch between an automatic and a Big-12 or SEC team edged out of the title picture. (For example, the last time UF was close but no cigar nationally it turned around and blew the doors off a hopelessly over-rated Maryland. In the Orange, I believe...)

4
by Roscoe :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 7:49pm

Talk about terrible BCS games. Remember the folks running the Rose Bowl have a strong preference for keeping the game between Big 10 and Pac 10 schools. Last year, when Ohio State got tapped for the big dance, we got stuck with USC/Illinois (instead of, for example, USC/Missouri, which would have been a pretty good game). This year, if Penn State goes to the big dance, we will all have to suffer through--wait for it--USC/Ohio State (two teams that already played this year, and are going to play again next season).

9
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 8:47pm

I seriously doubt OSU will get into the BCS this year at all. There'll only be one open slot (since the WAC/MWC is likely to autoqualify again this year), and whichever team ends up being 5th is far more likely to get selected than OSU. It's entirely possible that Oregon State finishes as the PAC-10 autoqualifier, adding USC to the mix of possible at-large berths.

If I had to guess right now, I'd say Florida/Texas Tech as #3/#4, and Alabama getting in at #5, with Penn State/Texas in the NC. But shuffle as you will.

41
by Dave R (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 8:43pm

If you have a PSU/Texas title game, and nothing silly happens in the Pac 10 (i.e. USC wins out, and someone beats Oregon State), your top 5 would probably lead to...

BCS title: PSU vs. Texas
Rose: Ohio State vs. USC (the Rose Bowl will likely select a Big Ten/Pac 10 game if they can, even if it's a rematch of a one-sided game)
Fiesta: Texas Tech vs. Utah/Boise/TCU
Sugar: Florida vs. Big East champ (probably WVU)
Orange: ACC champ vs. Alabama

Basically, between the BCS rules and the current rankings, it would take a huge string of upsets for Ohio State to not go to the BCS. They're likely to be the only BCS conference team eligible for an at-large spot that's not from the Big 12 or SEC (and really, even if any Big East or ACC team other than their champion did manage to slip into the top 14, Ohio State would be much more attractive to the bowls in most cases), and no BCS bowl other than the Fiesta will voluntarily take a non-BCS team (which means a non-BCS team will go to the Fiesta or the Orange, which picks last this year).

3
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 7:34pm

It's an institution that was created in an attempt to solve an unsolvable problem: that of how to pick just two worthy teams out of a 120-team sport in which comparative results are few and far between and in which a playoff is not (presently) an option. It can only succeed by virtue of luck.

Quoted-for-freaking-truth. It should be noted that, in all honesty, a playoff isn't really a solution, either. The problem is the fact that you've got way too many teams, way too big a talent disparity between the top and bottom, way too few games, and little to no connectivity. Nothing will solve that. Not even a playoff, because eventually, there will be teams on the fringe who get left off, and a team that manages to get in will win the playoff. We don't mind when this happens in other sports, but in other sports, we have waaay more connectivity. No one cares that Redskins get in on a weaker schedule when the Eagles get left out because we knew that the Eagles weren't significantly better than the Redskins due to the two games they played against each other.

Just as an example, try to get from Penn State to Alabama. PSU/Bama haven't played each other, so a direct comparison is out. PSU/Bama have no common opponents, so a once-removed comparison is out. Out-of-conference, PSU/Bama's opponents have no common opponents, so that means you have to hop through the conference, then out of conference. Right now I'm not sure the closest path isn't PSU-Purdue-Central Michigan-Georgia-Alabama.

There's just no way to deal with that problem.

20
by Becephalus :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 1:05am

Great article this week. As for the post above I agree completely except the following caveat.

There is a very clear and simple solution to college footballs problems. Relegation. It works fantastically for leagues this size and would make for a much more entertaining and mainstream product (more competitive games means people like myself might care about more than 1 or 2 of them a year).

Split the 120 teams in half into a West/Mid-West conference, and a South/Atlantic conference (or blue-gray, or red state-blue state, or snow state-sun state or whatever other combination would be entertaining). So now you have two groups of 60 teams. Break each of these into 4 divisions. Each team plays 14 games against the others in its division. It then matches up in a Bowl game with the team with the same rank and division from the opposite conference. All teams would be playing the exact same schedule as those they are competing for bowl games with so there can be no complaints about seeding.

The top 2 teams from each division also swap with the bottom two teams from the above division after each year. So any team is at most 4 years away from playing for the overall title (which is more than fair to improving programs I think)

Under such a system the top two division next year based on FEI would be:

West/Midwest
Texas
PSU
USC
Oklahoma
Oklahoma State
Texas Tech
Missouri
OSU
Ball State
Pittsburgh
Iowa
BSU
MSU
Tulsa
Utah

South/Atlantic
NC
UF
Alabama
Georgia
VT
GT
FSU
Connecticut
Mississippi
Vanderbuilt
BC
Miami
Wake Forest
SC
Duke

wouldn't that make for a great year of games? And if LSU (which might end up finsihing in the FEI top 30 anyway) feels slighted all they have to do is beat the crap out of South/Atlantic division B next year and they move back into the top league which presumably should not be hard if they are so great (or ND or Aubrun or Michigan etc.).

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

21
by Becephalus :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 1:13am

If the geographic closeness of the SEC teams is what makes the economics work for them you could also change it to 4 conferences each with 2 divisions and just have a 2 game playoff at the end of the year (or 3 divisions and switch to 10 team divisions keeping the total games to 11 instead of 16). This would allow the conferences to be nearly as geographically tight as they are now.

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

32
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 3:49pm

No complaints about seeding?! What do you do when the teams from one conference finish with 4 13-1 teams in a circle of death, while in another conference the best team finishes 7-7?

The only way you get a "clear" champion is with lots of connectivity, and you're tossing that right out the window: the two conferences are totally disconnected.

There is a very clear and simple solution to college footballs problems.

Unfortunately, there is also a very clear and simple problem to your clear and simple solution (which, as above, I really doubt is clear and simple). Economics.

Most BCS teams play an unbalanced number of home/away games, and they have to - because they wouldn't be able to afford the program otherwise. In order to have an unbalanced number of home/away games, there have to be a set of teams that have it balanced the other way. Those are, of course, the midmajor teams. Which means you're always going to have an unbalanced league.

There's an additional problem, of course: college football isn't a sport. There's no governing body interested in fairness, parity, or anything like that, and the teams themselves don't really care that much about a national championship (they care much more about national publicity). If you recognize that college football isn't a sport (and is pretty much never going to become one), it becomes a lot easier to accept its flaws.

The problem with your criticism, really, is right in your comment: more competitive games means people like myself might care about more than 1 or 2 of them a year. Colleges don't really care about people like you. Why would they? The amount of money you add is negligible, and it's not like most schools can use that money for anything other than the football program.

I don't actually agree that relegation does anything - I think it's a pointless addition to a sport. Defenders usually say that relegation makes games between the worst teams interesting - I disagree, as it only makes them interesting to fans of those teams, and fans of those teams already find all of the games interesting. But that's mostly a philosophical difference.

The only thing it does is creates a multileague structure which could be equally done via a deciding body rather than by an arbitrary tiebreaker structure.

36
by DFJinPgh (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 4:50pm

Every time this topic comes up I like to link to this article (link in name).

The structure is that conferences/divisions are kept, they play each other, then play cross-conference to set up the bowls. I do it no justice - and I didn't come up with it nor am I affiliated with the site - but it really is rather interesting.

That said, Pat's accurate characterization of college football as not-a-sport means any and all reasonable "solutions" are pointless.

38
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 5:45pm

I think I've commented on that site before: the two problems are 1) little connectivity between the conferences (interconference play doesn't show up until week 11) and 2) no possibility for an imbalanced home/away split without conferring an advantage, so economically, it wouldn't work.

My best suggestion for "what to do" - and it should be noted how much of a massive change this is - would be to split Division IA in four, leaving a 32-team Championship Division (possibly with relegation, although I doubt that would work). 4 8-team divisions, leaving 7 games in-division, 3 cross-division games, and 2 preseason games which can come from anywhere, which then feeds into at a minimum a 4-team playoff, most likely not determined by conference champs: conference champs would get an autoberth into a BCS-like primetime bowl to maintain conference prestige, but the 4 teams would be decided by a ranking system.

It's a huge change and it's probably still not ideal, but it's the only way you can get major-sport level connectivity (every team plays or has a common opponent with every other team) while keeping the number of games roughly equal and allowing for a home-away imbalance.

43
by DFJinPgh (not verified) :: Wed, 11/05/2008 - 4:33pm

Can't disagree with your point 1, of course. Connectivity is key for any serious ranking system.

And I'm not disagreeing, but I must say I don't understand the economic requirement of an unbalanced schedule. I see how a team playing at home saves money, yes. And it's pretty obvious that travelling costs more.

What I don't understand is, in general, the BCS teams also have more money (than the mid-majors) available to them, so their marginal cost of travelling (am I using the word marginal correctly here?) is much less.

How come it costs more for BCS schools to travel than mid-majors? I could see, if there was a big disparity, that it would be cheaper to pay a smaller school to come to them than for them to travel, but that only works with LSU-MidDirectionalFlyoverState, not Pitt-BowlingGreen.

45
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 11/05/2008 - 6:26pm

How come it costs more for BCS schools to travel than mid-majors?

Because Penn State has a stadium of 110,000 people, and they pack it, and their opponents typically have stadia which hold less than 50,000, and it's frequently not full. When they play mid-major teams, they typically give a fixed payout to their opponent, rather than a fraction of ticket sales. That fixed payout is tiny, and so "money in - payout" is way bigger than "fraction of ticket sales at a larger venue."

BCS schools make waaaaay more money at home than on the road. I cannot make that "way" big enough.

46
by bcsbusters (not verified) :: Wed, 11/05/2008 - 9:41pm

I have actually created another site with the brackets all filled out and have even addressed your concern in several different articles that I will provide for you.

The new site with the brackets can be found at: http://www.ncaa-schedule.com/Site/Playoff_Brackets.html

I have also written a six part report that can be found here that addresses your concern. I find it incredibly short sighted that you cannot comprehend that an uneven schedule will occur in less than 5% of the schedules. Hypothetically, even if this uneven schedule factor occurred more than 50% percent of the time, don't you think it would be an even trade off...the fact that these teams would be in the race for a national championship which would be determined on the field rather than a ridiculous poll and computer formula format.

Do you think Oregon (2002) would trade the extra home game for a chance to actually earn the right on the field to play in the national championship game? Or how about USC in 2003 or Utah in 2004? Boise State in 2006? How about Michigan in 2006 or even a handful of teams last year...Oklahoma, West Virginia, or even USC again?

Your stressing a factor that isn't even a real issue because every conference in this system would have a conference championship game, which all conference members would share in the revenue. It would more than make up the difference plus the television ratings and income derived would go through the roof...as it it already hasn't gone through the roof.

Here are some other articles for you to consider as well:

http://www.ncaa-schedule.com/Site/Blog/Entries/2007/12/27_Challenging_Th...

http://bcsbusters.wordpress.com/2007/08/20/national-expansion-for-colleg...

47
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 11/06/2008 - 5:13pm

I find it incredibly short sighted that you cannot comprehend that an uneven schedule will occur in less than 5% of the schedules.

Uh, actually, the problem is that college football needs uneven schedules in virtually all of the BCS teams.

Do you think Oregon (2002) would trade the extra home game for a chance to actually earn the right on the field to play in the national championship game? Or how about USC in 2003 or Utah in 2004? Boise State in 2006? How about Michigan in 2006 or even a handful of teams last year...Oklahoma, West Virginia, or even USC again?

No. Have you ever read any of the comments from athletic directors where they specifically say they wouldn't agree to a system that loses them any home games?

the fact that these teams would be in the race for a national championship which would be determined on the field rather than a ridiculous poll and computer formula format.

I don't believe that a playoff that's bracketed from a poorly-connected season has any special merit over picking the top 2 teams from a poll. Both are equally arbitrary. Your system would be an improvement, but the majority of that comes from eliminating the FCS games and forcing the few connections to be between major conferences. Economically, that won't work. The teams need the FCS/midmajor games in order to support the program.

48
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Thu, 11/06/2008 - 5:40pm

OK, "virtually all" is too much. "A large number" is probably more appropriate. I know OSU, Penn State, Michigan all average between 7-8 home games. I know Texas Tech, Texas, Florida, Georgia all average more than 6 home games (typically 7, sometimes 8, depends on how you count neutral-sites as well). The only "big school" I know of that averages 6 home games is USC, and they never have less.

Quotes:

Interview with Penn State AD Curley: "For the Lions, who maintain they need seven home games to support their athletic department, it made sense to pair up with a FCS school that won't require a home-and-away series."

Paterno: "Paterno specifically was asked if he would be in favor if Pitt agreed to play six games at Beaver Stadium and four in Pittsburgh. He has previously said one of his concerns is making sure Penn State plays seven home games. "

Paterno: "We're not sure exactly how many games we can play out of the Big Ten," Paterno said. "Financially, we have to have seven home games."

LSU AD: "It is virtually a must to have seven home games for one very simple reason: those seven Saturday nights financially drive the entire LSU athletics program. One sold out home
football game is worth over $2 million to Tiger Athletics in ticket sales alone. So it’s
easy to see that, when we have only 11 games, the three non-SEC games must be played
at home."

50
by bcsbusters (not verified) :: Sat, 11/08/2008 - 3:51pm

LSU has raised nearly 300 million dollars in the last five years alone from the Oil monopolists...essentially BP and Shell, which are controlled by British Petrolium, which is controlled by the Rothschild banking dynasty from England/Europe. Not to mention the connections that Blackwater has to LSU as well, which like the oil industry, is tied specifically to the Military Industrial Complex, which again is connected to the Federal Reserve.

I don't think 7 measly home games would make a drop in the bucket compared to what these evil corporate multinational giants could contribute to make up for the one home game that doesn't exist in the BCS Buster Regular Season Playoff system.

The BCS is controlled by the same multinational corporations listed above and the real reason it doesn't change is because it can be manipulated and controlled via a silent monopoly, the same silent monopolists that control both branches of our government.

Of course if you bothered to research and report the real issue, you would understand that the Rothschild Family Dynasty is behind the central banking concept and they have been after a one world government, under central banking (fiat money) control. With Obama earning the Presidency, we are days away from achieving this as the monetary crisis of present day will evolve into one world global multinational control. The Rothschild family has funded both sides of every war since the days of Napolean and has taken over the American University educational system for the last 100 years via the Ford, Rockefeller, Morgan, Carnegie and Kellog Foundations.

The BCS fits the Rothschild mold to a T. A divide and conquer strategy where both sides of an issue or funded, while the conspirators sit back and watch everyone destroy each other. The BCS has come into existence at exactly the same time as "The New American Century" has come into play, which was followed by 911, The Iraq War and the current edition of the World Monetary Crisis.

The controversy has been good for America in their view because it takes the focus away from Washington and their communist, socialist, totalitarian agenda of creating a one world government. That is the true aim of the BCS in college football.

Of course, you can simply research the issue here: http://www.bowlchampionshipseries.wordpress.com

49
by bcsbusters (not verified) :: Sat, 11/08/2008 - 3:33pm

I don't believe that a playoff that's bracketed from a poorly-connected season has any special merit over picking the top 2 teams from a poll. Both are equally arbitrary. Your system would be an improvement, but the majority of that comes from eliminating the FCS games and forcing the few connections to be between major conferences. Economically, that won't work. The teams need the FCS/midmajor games in order to support the program?

A poorly connected-season?

Let me get this straight. In your view a poorly connected season is one in which the 8 game conference stretch to start the season is climaxed with the top four teams from each of the super conferences aligned to play it off on the field for the right to earn a final 8 berth within the last two weeks of the regular season, for the right to earn on the field a BCS or upper tier bowl berth.

(everyone on the internet is clamoring for the 8 team playoff in college football, but how would arbitrarily voting for the final 8 be any different than voting for the final two in which is the scenario in the present BCS calamity?)

Once we get to the final 8, the conferences are aligned with the SEC vs ACC, Big-10 vs Big-East, Pac-10 vs Big-12, and the Mid Major programs from the Rocky Mountain (evolved from reorganizing the WAC, Mountain West and Conference USA) with the MAC Conference).

(Or have you not witnessed the SEC vs ACC match-ups that ARE NOT ALREADY OCCURRING ON A REGULAR BASIS, or the Big-12 and PAC-10 match-ups that ARE NOT ALREADY OCCURRING ON A REGULAR BASIS, or the Big-10 vs Big-East match-ups that ARE NOT ALREADY OCCURRING ON A REGULAR BASI within the present system).

This is just one of four brackets. The so called FSC vs Mid Major match-ups that you say wouldn't be occurring in my system are taken care of in the Holiday, NIT and Sportsmans Brackets, not to mention the fact that the elite schools of the non-bcs can actually have the opportunity to earn a bcs bowl berth.

Do you think Oregon (2002) would trade the extra home game for a chance to actually earn the right on the field to play in the national championship game? Or how about USC in 2003 or Utah in 2004? Boise State in 2006? How about Michigan in 2006 or even a handful of teams last year...Oklahoma, West Virginia, or even USC again?

No. Have you ever read any of the comments from athletic directors where they specifically say they wouldn't agree to a system that loses them any home games?

That actually only occurs from the schools like Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and the SEC. Which are the schools that actually control the BCS monopoly with their blatant connections to the Federal Reserve, Council on Foreign Relations, Big Oil, the Military Industrial Complex as well as the Steel and Auto monopoly. These are the schools that tie up and foul up the whole system because they want to protect the monopoly.

When people finally get around to researching the history of monopoly, you will find that all of the monopolies are interconnected with the same feature players.

It is amazing that a so-called expert like yourself would find the most ridiculous aspects to rip apart a perfectly simple and logical format, which provides equal opportunity for all. Remember the concept of opportunity with out suppression or oppression...the very reason our country was created in the first place? The so called football experts couldn't find water if they fell out of a boat. And to think that I actually thought for a second that you knew what you were talking about. Good day and good bye! This site is ridiculous and easily identifiable as a smear conspirator to protect the evil empire of monopoly that likely pays for your very site.

The BCS system continues because a small number of schools are protected within the system and you will find that the presidents and board of regent members of these schools are intertwined and interconnected with the monopolists that control the world via the New World Order: The Federal Reserve, Big Oil, Big Pharma, Steel and automotive Industry, Railroad, Military Industrial Complex and the Food and Drug Industry. They control it all - INCLUDING THE BCS AND WHEN PEOPLE FINALLY GET AROUND TO GETTING IT, THEY WILL SEE JUST HOW FLIMSY NOT ONLY THESE ARGUMENTS ARE, BUT THE VERY PEOPLE WHO WORK AND GET PAID TO PROTECT IT ARE...LIKE YOURSELF!

GOOD DAY COMRADE, BECAUSE THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT YOU ARE!

51
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/24/2008 - 10:25pm

Let me get this straight. In your view a poorly connected season is one in which the 8 game conference stretch to start the season is climaxed with the top four teams from each of the super conferences aligned to play it off on the field for the right to earn a final 8 berth within the last two weeks of the regular season, for the right to earn on the field a BCS or upper tier bowl berth.

Yup. You're not connecting the conferences at all before bracket play. Therefore, it's horribly connected. You have absolutely no idea how good each team is before they go into bracket play other than how they're defined by the conferences.

The reason a league like the NFL shows no evidence of second-degree ordering is because it's heavily connected - you can't optimize a team to win the NFC East, for instance, because you play 10 games outside of the NFC East. If you isolate each conference as seriously as you're talking about, you'd get huge amounts of second-degree ordering. At that point, just ignore any and all seedings and bracketing, as it won't matter.

That actually only occurs from the schools like Michigan, Ohio State, Florida, Florida State, Virginia Tech, Miami, Oklahoma, Texas and the SEC.

Yes, that's right. That's why Boise State has given a complete breakdown of the money they get from each home game, which they show how it provides over half of their football budget. Boise State - Congressional Powerhouse.

The BCS system continues because a small number of schools are protected within the system and you will find that the presidents and board of regent members of these schools are intertwined and interconnected with the monopolists that control the world via the New World Order

Yes, because the president and the Board of Regents of a university are the ones who schedule football games. They're not interested in, y'know, department funding, endowment managing... they spend all their time wondering whether to schedule Montana State or Northern Illinois.

Thanks for confirming that you're a paranoid lunatic, though.

28
by Thok (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 2:30pm

Well, there is a way to deal with that problem: scheduling reform. If BCS conference schools were actually forced to play other BCS schools, that would help with the connectivity problems.

5
by Steve (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 7:53pm

If everything plays out how some people think it might (which it NEVER does, of course), this year would be a perfect setup for a 4 team playoff.

Take undefeated Penn State, The Big 12 Champ (which could be OK, OK state, Texas or Texas Tech, assuming whoever wins the South wins the B12CG), the winner of the SECTG matchup between Florida and Bama, and an 11-1 Pac10 Champ USC. Seed them, play them, viola! A semi-legit National Champion.

Pat's point is very true, there are just too many teams and not enough games for us to really give any legitimacy to the idea of a real National Champion. It does no good for people to hyperventilate about the BCS because its charged with an almost impossible task, and the only times it has gotten things completely right were when it had two, and only two, undefeated teams dropped into its lap.

6
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 7:59pm

Take undefeated Penn State, The Big 12 Champ (which could be OK, OK state, Texas or Texas Tech, assuming whoever wins the South wins the B12CG), the winner of the SECTG matchup between Florida and Bama, and an 11-1 Pac10 Champ USC. Seed them, play them, viola! A semi-legit National Champion.

In order for USC to be the PAC-10 champ, Oregon State needs to lose. If Oregon State wins out, they're the PAC-10 champ due to the head-to-head victory.

As you can see, playoffs don't always work out either.

14
by Steve (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 10:50pm

You're half right. OSU would be Pac-10 CO-champs, along with USC. The Pac-10 gives out co-championships to all teams that tie for the best record, though technically the team which wins head to head would get the automatic BCS nod. USC has benefited from this system the last two years. In 2006 they were co-champs with Cal, and last year they were co-Champs with ASU, but since they won the respective head to head matchups they got the automatic bid to the Rose Bowl.

Of course, in my dream playoff scenario I kinda implicitly assume that OSU will have another loss, giving USC the pac-10 title outright. In reality, you bring up a situation which is interesting: if OSU wins out, it will go to the Rose Bowl, and USC, which could be 11-1 and very highly ranked, will need to get a BCS at large bid or end up in the Holiday Bowl on December 30th.

7
by Kevin Eleven :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 8:41pm

1. Texas Tech- This ranking may be a placeholder. They still have to beat Oklahoma and Oklahoma State.
2. Texas
3. Penn State
4. Alabama- suddenly the blowout win against Georgia looks a lot less impressive.
5. Florida- this truly might be the best team in the nation.
6. Oklahoma State
7. Southern Cal
8. Oklahoma- OU is back in the title hunt, but they have to beat Texas Tech, and TTU has to beat OSU.
9. Utah
10. Ohio State
11. TCU
12. Missouri
13. Georgia
14. BYU
15. Michigan State
16. LSU
17. Maryland
18. California
19. Boise State
20. North Carolina
21. South Carolina
22. Georgia Tech
23. West Virginia
24. Ball State
25. Cincinnati

8
by MTR (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 8:43pm

I currently favor an eight team playoff, conference champions only. Give out six berths automatically and let a committee pick two more at large.

11
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 9:00pm

That's two less berths than the current BCS, which frequently excludes very good teams due to arbitrary selection mechanisms. How do you decide who's the conference champion when two teams have identical records and didn't play each other? How does the committee decide between two undefeated Big 10 teams and two non-BCS undefeated teams? Or two 1-loss Big 10 teams and two non-BCS undefeated teams (which we could have this year)?

Sorry, but ad-hoc playoff scenarios don't fix the problem. They might make obvious problems less frequent, but the problems would still be there on lesser scales. You want to crown an undisputed, no one will complain national champion? You'd have to do something drastic - like cut college football in half, or in quarter. If you cut it in half (to, say, 64 teams in 8 conferences), you'd probably still have to increase the season to 14 games, playing 1 game against every opponent in conference, and 1 game against a single opponent in every other conference.

That's what's needed to give college football connectivity close to the NFL. And it's connectivity, not a playoff, that makes defining a "champion" clear-cut.

16
by Steve (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:16pm

You want to crown an undisputed, no one will complain national champion?

I don't think you can eliminate all complaining, but you can get rid of 99% of the legitimate grips which now exist under the BCS. You'll get some griping under any system in any sport. Case in point: in the NFL this year, someone is gonna get a playoff spot from the horrible AFC west, while at least one of the 4 playoff caliber teams from the NFC East will be watching the playoffs from their living rooms. Doesn't seem completely fair, but no one seriously questions the legitimacy of the NFL playoffs for crowning a champion.

A 4 or 8 team playoff would be sufficient I think. Take the 6 BCS champions and give them automatic bids. In only one conference, the Big 10, would you have to worry about two undefeated teams, and that is exeedingly rare. All other conferences either play round robin or have a conference title game. The other two spots go to at large teams, which would either have to be the champions of a non-bcs conference (preferably undefeated) or a really deserving runner up in a big conference.

Looking backwards at the end of past seasons, I don't think it would be that hard to figure out which 8 teams would be selected. Would the 9th best team get screwed? Maybe. But under the current system the 3rd through 8th teams also get screwed.

33
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 3:56pm

But under the current system the 3rd through 8th teams also get screwed.

But the 8th team is much less likely to be as strong as the 1st or 2nd team, so most of their complaints wouldn't make a lot of sense. Ohio State clamoring for the National Championship in 2005 wouldn't make much sense, for instance. The 9th-15th team, however, is a lot more likely to be just as strong as the 8th team, though, since the team strength distribution falls off quickly and the poor connectivity means that the rank ordering of teams gets fuzzier as you move down.

Which means even though it seems like you're allowing more teams with a valid claim in, you're actually screwing more teams that have a similarly valid claim over.

Again, it's connectivity which solves the problem, not a playoff. Right now, you might think it would solve most of the problems, but that's just because we don't have experience with any other system. Once you have that experience, you'll find all sorts of new and interesting problems. To use the popular phrase from this year, putting lipstick on a pig still gives you a pig.

17
by Lance :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:25pm

Conference champs only? The Big-12 South alone has 4 teams in the (depending on the poll) top 10! My guess is that when it's all said and one, 3 of those 4 will still be there. If you're going to have an 8-team play-off and limit it to just conference champs, then you're going to get stuck with like Georgia Tech or Maryland in there instead of another among Texas, OU, OSU, or Texas Tech, (assuming one wins the Big 12-- but one can add that Mizzou is also almost certainly a better pick than any ACC school this year) and that just doesn't seem right.

22
by Steve (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 1:19am

8 bids-6 BCS conference champs = 2 at large bids, open to teams from the Big-12 South or any other conference.

If the choice is between every big 12 team getting shut out of the title game (which I think will happen this year as Penn State takes on the SEC champ in the BCSCG), or having 1 to 3 Big 12 teams in a playoff, which works out better for the Big 12?

Remember that OK, OK state and Tech still have to play each other, which should thin out the herd somewhat.

Yes, having an automatic bid for conference champs may put a team or two which we may deem as "unworthy" in the playoffs. Of course, many people thought that Big East Champ WV wouldn't be much of a match for Big-12 Champ OK in the Fiesta bowl. Or that WV had no chance a few years ago against Georgia, champion of the mighty SEC, in the Sugar Bowl. The whole point of having a playoff is that we don't really know how teams will stack up until they actually square off.

10
by Kevin Eleven :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 8:49pm

Well, the big story is that Phil Fulmer is out after 17 years as Tennessee'shead coach.

I might be getting old, but I hate the whole "Bye, bye, Fat Phil" stuff from people that claim to be part of Vol Nation. A change was needed, but Fulmer is a legend to be respected. Today is a sad and emotional day for true Vol Fans.

FWIW, Fulmer made it clear that his "resignation" was not his choice.

12
by sam :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 9:00pm

Florida's loss isn't mystifying if you watched. They played decently enough, but lost 3 fumbles on Ole Miss' side of the field. They've taken much better care of the ball. Come on... they have 7 wins by 23 points or more!

--
sam! or the original sam from the old FO

13
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 9:25pm

They played decently enough, but lost 3 fumbles on Ole Miss' side of the field.

C'mon, I'm assuming Florida's your team, right? You should be able to defend them with statistics that are at least correct. Florida lost 2 fumbles on Florida's side of the field, and 1 on Ole Miss's side.

The scoring went: Mississippi drove 70 yards for a TD, then held Florida to a field goal. Florida themselves had a bit of help due to an interception near midfield leading to a short-field TD, before the game stalled for a while. Florida then had a big play that broke for a TD.

The fumbles that Mississippi recovered led to 10 points, and then the game stalled for a bit, before Ole Miss drove 72 yards for a TD. Florida got another short field TD thanks to a return, and then Ole Miss drove 89 yards on a busted-play TD. Florida then had a 68-yard TD drive with the missed XP.

So as near as I can count, Ole Miss had 10 points off of a short field, Florida had 14 points off of a short field, and they both had two extended drives and one big-play drive.

Doesn't seem that fluky to me. Yeah, the fumbles helped, but so did the interception and return for Florida.

30
by Kibbles :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 3:01pm

I agree that it's not like Florida outplayed Miss and just caught some bad breaks, but comparing the fumbles to the INT ignores one basic tenet of FO- fumble recoveries are essentially luck, and Miss was the beneficiary of all of that luck.

I agree with Russell that it's really just a mystifying game. Florida, iirc, is in the top 3 nationally in turnover margin, yet on the day they were -2. Tebow is probably the best short-yardage runner in the nation, but the game ended when he failed to convert 4th-and-1. Florida has quite possibly the nation's best special teams, with a DEMON of a return man and the most block-happy unit in college football, but the loss was sealed when they had their kick blocked for the first time, as nearly as I can tell, in the Urban Meyer era.

15
by Solomon (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:04pm

"I seriously doubt OSU will get into the BCS this year at all. There'll only be one open slot (since the WAC/MWC is likely to autoqualify again this year), and whichever team ends up being 5th is far more likely to get selected than OSU."

The BCS has 10 total spots, 6 auto and 4 at-large. Ohio State, if it wins out, will likely receive an at-large BCS bid. If it loses again, it will not get a bid.

The remaining schedule is at Northwestern (OSU completely owns this team, even when NW is decent; OSU has lost maybe once to NW in the last 30 years); at Illinois (OSU has not lost in Champaign since 1991; for some reason, the road team does well in the series), and home vs. the school up north (which is having a lousy season). So the chances are good that OSU reaches 10-2 and ends up in the 6-10 range in the final BCS standings.

Even if a non-BCS team receives an "auto" bid, that still leaves 3 spots. If the Rose Bowl loses Penn State to the title game, it will receive one of the top two selections (depending on whether PSU is 1 or 2) and would likely select OSU. If it took Illinois last year, it would probably take OSU this year. Even is PSU stumbles and knocks Ohio State out of the Rose, OSU would still likely receive a BCS bid. OSU will pack a stadium and bring a large TV audience.

Ohio State mathematically could still receive the Big 10 auto-BCS bid, although that scenario is admittedly remote.

19
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:50pm

Well, there likely won't be 3 slots. Probably just 2, because one of #3/#4 will be a non-champ from the SEC/Big 12. But with 2 slots, I think it's safe to say that Ohio State might be taken, so good point. But I still don't think it's likely.

31
by Dave R (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 3:03pm

Ohio State is near certain to get a BCS bid. It's extremely unlikely the ACC or Big East or Pac 10 will be able to send two teams to the BCS. It's extremely unlikely that Ohio State will drop out of the BCS top 14, or that another Big Ten team will get in the BCS top 14. And it's extremely unlikely that any BCS bowl other than the Fiesta would select a non-BCS team if they had any discretion in the matter.

About the only plausible scenario where Ohio State doesn't get a BCS bid is if all of Texas Tech, Alabama, Penn State, and Oregon State or Cal win out. In that case, you probably get
BCS title: Texas Tech v. Alabama
Rose: Penn State vs. Oregon State/Cal
Fiesta: Big 12 #2 (probably Texas) vs. USC
Sugar: SEC #2 (probably Florida) vs. Big East/non-BCS (probably WVU)
Orange: ACC #1 (who knows?) vs. Big East/non-BCS (probably Boise or TCU)

18
by Parker W. (not verified) :: Mon, 11/03/2008 - 11:46pm

I was discussing this with a friend today, and I'd appreciate anyone's insight.

I'm an SEC guy so I'm not sure which side is which in the Big 12, but I know that Oklahoma, Ok. St., Texas and Texas Tech are all on the same side.

If Oklahoma beats Tech, which beat Texas, which beat Oklahoma creating a three team loop of teams with only one conference lost, what is the next tie-breaker?

24
by Travis :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 8:24am

Assuming all 3 finish at 11-1, the tiebreaker would be which team had the highest BCS ranking in the final calculation before the Big 12 championship game. Based on poll inertia and better out-of-conference schedule, probably Oklahoma.

The full list of tiebreakers can be found here.

23
by td (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 3:51am

I think it's going to come down to the SEC champion against Penn State. Florida is already right there with Texas in the BCS standings, and they'll get a bigger boost beating Alabama than whoever wins the Big 12 South will get from beating Mizzou. Tech beat OU last year, but I don't see them winning in Norman. It does raise the possibility of a split championship, since USC and whoever gets shut out of the title game will have legitimate claims that they should have been there. (of course Penn State, Texas Tech, and Alabama can rended this moot)

25
by Pete (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 9:22am

I'm a Gator fan, so I admit to that bias. I can make excuses for the home loss against Mississippi, such as injuries (Harvin and Moody, LG and LT, Doe at LB, etc.) and turnovers (no turnovers up to that point, 3 out of 5 fumbles lost). The truth is that I believe they were young and not using the talent to the best ability on offense ("Simple as 1-2-3", less than ideal blocking especially in the run game). They also had a little leftover of the Charlie Strong defense (prevent all game long) at times. There were questionable offensive play calls by Florida and Tebow had not thrown a completion more than 12 yards down the field.

At the time of their loss, I thought they were probably the 10th-15th best team in the country. Many of their points before then were scored in the 4th quarter. However, I do believe that margin of victory (and home field advantage) make a difference. Sagarin (see my page) uses diminishing returns after key margins: 17-20 points, I believe, which is a much stronger victory than barely edging out a team due to a late fumble or stop or intercepted Hail Mary pass or questionable officiating call. With a 20-point victory a team could not have lost due to a single bad play/call.

Since then I believe they have played like the best team in the country. If they had not lost the Old Miss game they might not be as motivated.

I would put my rankings as something like a merge between the polls and the Sagarin Rankings (or maybe the Predictor, but certainly not ELO-Chess).

The BCS is system to decide which X (2 in this case) teams will play for the championship. Other than dictating how the better computer rankings can decide how to rank the teams I think this is a decent system.

The simplest way to improve the system (that might be approved) is the Classic Bowls + Championship. The current championship game is about a week after New Years' Day. If you play all of the classic bowl games on New Years' Day (and before) and then determine the top 2 teams at that point I think you keep the PAC-10 and Big 10 happy. You would also get a little bit of decent interconference play required.

This year Penn State would probably play USC. Florida might play Utah in the Sugar Bowl. Texas Tech might play the Big East/ACC in the Orange Bowl. At that point we would have a better feel for which teams are most deserving than we do before these games are played. No, it would not give the same results as having a tournament/playoff winner, but I believe it would be the easiest (most likely) to implement and would be an improvement.

26
by Harris :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 1:59pm

Slow down there, turbo. Let's not go overboard on the Texas Tech love. Sure, they played very well, but they still needed one of the most ridiculous touchdowns -- aided by some of the worst late-game defense I've ever seen -- to get that win and if a freshman DB had held on to an INT that hit him in the gut, Tech never even gets the chance to throw that touchdown.

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

27
by Dave R (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 2:19pm

Okay, here's my standard BlogPoll comment this week.

#1 - Penn State should be #1 this week. The three remaining BCS conference undefeated teams have similar strength of schedule rankings so far (this may change later, but hasn't yet), and Penn State has been by far the most dominant of the three.

#2 - Cinci should be ranked. There's no excuse for leaving a 6-2 BCS conference team that's only lost to Oklahoma and UConn on the road out of the top 25.

#3 - This one's just for you -- where's West Virginia?

29
by justanothersteve :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 2:59pm

Is it really that important to have an undisputed national college football champion? I admit, I'm not a big fan of the college game and only really follow it to see who might be big in the pros. It just doesn't seem that big a deal to me. I think the only time it makes sense is if there are two or more undefeated big-time programs. Then they should play each other. There's just too many variables otherwise to really figure out which team is better.

34
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 3:59pm

You, sir, get a cookie.

35
by Harris :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 4:19pm

Horsefeathers. Every other sport at every other level of college athletics has figured out how to name a champion except D1 football. There are more than 300 D1 basketball programs and yet somehow they've figured out how to name a champion.

"A little celery is always nice after a good pee."

37
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 5:21pm

Find another sport with the connectivity problems and limited number of games of college football, and I'll be impressed.

It's not the number of teams. It's not the method of deciding a champion. It's the connectivity, and the few number of games, both of which are related, and neither of which are really fixable without a massive overhaul.

39
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 6:03pm

Just to expound a bit: with 300 teams, you need (sqrt(300)-1)*2 games to get major-sport level connectivity: this works out to be about 32. College basketball plays more than that, although due to the schedule setup you usually don't get major-sport level connectivity. In football, you need (sqrt(100)-1)*2 = 18 games to get there, and they typically play 11, and sometimes only 10 depending on the number of Division IAA teams played.

There's a good website here that describes the problem a bit more with math: college football is the worst connected sport in Division IA, and certainly the worst connected major sport in the US.

42
by Becephalus :: Wed, 11/05/2008 - 9:09am

Which is why you break it into fewer leagues. I really dont see what the teams have to lose. They lose 1 or 2 bad blowout home games a year, add in probably 6 or 7 high quality games to replace assorted blowouts. You dont think that the home teams couldnt raise ticket prices to maintain current revenue, and benefit from a long term healthier sport because the competitive games bring in more casual fans.

Every other sport I know of courts casual fans like crazy, college football seems to only care about the die-hards, is it really so much about driving alumni donations? And if it is why would the alumni complain about a system which leads to better more exciting games?

The Wire should win the Nobel prize for literature.

44
by Pat (filler) (not verified) :: Wed, 11/05/2008 - 6:23pm

Every other sport I know of courts casual fans like crazy, college football seems to only care about the die-hards, is it really so much about driving alumni donations?

Yes. That, and national publicity - which is why a system which separates good teams from bad teams is a bad thing.

Remember - alumni donations frequently go to the school. Money from the fans only goes to the football program.

And if it is why would the alumni complain about a system which leads to better more exciting games?

If it leads to fewer home games, that's a giant negative. Most major BCS teams have 8-9 home games. Any fair system would have fewer than that.

Most alumni don't really care about exciting games. They care about seeing their team win.

40
by Justin Singer (not verified) :: Tue, 11/04/2008 - 6:18pm

I disagree with your contention that Mike Leach deserves consideration for the JLS Trophy by kicking the extra point up 5 with 1 second left. Although you are correct in your situation card that you should go for 2 in this situation (this situation meaning up 5 late in the 4th quarter), I feel as if BOTH kicking the extra point AND going for 2 are both incorrect decisions. Up 5 with 1 second left, the correct decision should be taking a knee. Why risk going for 2 and have a fumble or interception return for 2 points the other way. Even the extra point could be blocked and returned. That would bring the score to 38-35. If there is a short kickoff or a decent return, there is always the possibility of a late hit, or maybe even an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty for the fans rushing the field too early. A long field goal to tie is not out of the question. Nevertheless, it is possible that Leach may have recognized this, and decided the extra point was the less risky choice. In conclusion, I demand that you retract your inclusion of Leach from the JLS list.