Writers of Pro Football Prospectus 2008

Most Recent FO Features


» Futures: Josh Rosen

UCLA's quarterback clearly has the talent to succeed as an NFL starter. The question is whether or not he can avoid enough mistakes to become a superstar.

05 Nov 2007

Confessions of a Football Junkie: BCS Breakdown

by Russell Levine

Sunday's Bowl Championship Standings release saw LSU move into the coveted second position behind No. 1 Ohio State, but this topsy-turvy college football season is far from decided.

For the moment, LSU's win at Alabama in the Nick Saban Bowl has propelled the Tigers into the second spot vacated by Boston College, which was beaten at home by Florida State Saturday night.

Oregon, which offered one of the weekend's most impressive victories by handling previously unbeaten Arizona State at home in a rare national-TV game, sits just behind LSU in third. Kansas, the only other undefeated team from a BCS conference, sits fourth, while Oklahoma rounds out the top five.

No. 1 Ohio State, winners of 28 consecutive regular-season games, will surely play for the BCS title on January 7 should they win their final two games against Illinois and at Michigan. But there is much to be determined during the season's final four Saturdays. Can Oregon catch LSU? What about Kansas? Can any of the other one-loss teams play their way back into position to reach the January 7 national-title game in New Orleans?

The temptation is to assume that LSU will qualify for the championship game should it win its remaining contests, but it's not quite that simple. Because the Tigers' remaining schedule -- Louisiana Tech, at Ole Miss, Arkansas, and the SEC Championship Game -- is relatively week, LSU won't get a strength-of-schedule boost from the computers that account for one-third of the BCS formula. Still, the Tigers will play at least twice more, and possibly three times, in nationally televised games on CBS, which never hurts with the human voters -- provided LSU looks impressive.

Like LSU, Oregon has already faced the heart of its schedule. The Ducks have games remaining at Arizona and UCLA and home against Oregon State, but they will be hurt by the fact that the Pac-10 does not play a conference title game.

Perhaps even more damaging to the Ducks' chances is the Pac-10's overall lack of media exposure. While the likes of Ohio State and LSU play on CBS, ABC, or ESPN virtually every week, the Ducks have been seen nationwide on one of those networks just twice -- although two or three of their final four games will be shown on either ABC, ESPN, or ESPN2.

The reason national exposure matters is because of the importance of the human polls. They make up two-thirds of the BCS formula, and the reality is that many of the voters see few games other than those shown nationally.

Comparing Oregon and LSU can be an exercise in futility. Each team has a single loss: Oregon at home to Cal and LSU on the road at Kentucky.

Oregon's loss came by seven points to a team that was ranked sixth at the time, and the Ducks fumbled the ball through the Cal end zone for a touchback in the game's final minute, squandering a chance to send the contest to overtime. It was in triple-overtime that LSU fell to then-no. 17 Kentucky when the Tigers failed to convert on a fourth down. Since those games, both Cal and Kentucky have fallen from the rankings.

Both Oregon and LSU play in top conferences. The top of the Pac-10 -- with Oregon, surprising Arizona State, and talented by inconsistent USC -- may be better than the top of the SEC -- which features LSU, then a pretty significant drop-off to the likes of Auburn, Georgia, Florida, and Tennessee. Whatever the SEC lacks at the top end, it makes up for in depth. No conference has more teams capable of knocking off its own leader than the SEC.

Oregon has beaten three two teams that were ranked at the time they played, and all three both were in the top 10: Cal, USC and now Arizona State. LSU has six five wins over ranked foes, including two from the top 10. The current state of affairs, however, is kinder to Oregon. Cal has dropped from the rankings, but Oregon's 39-7 road stomping of then-unranked Michigan looks more impressive now that the Wolverines have won eight straight games to move to No. 12 in the BCS.

For LSU, wins over then-ranked South Carolina and Alabama are less noteworthy now that those teams have combined for seven defeats. Florida, another victim of LSU's, has also lost three times overall.

"LSU is slightly ahead [in the computers] because the SEC is considered to be the toughest conference by all but one of the computers and LSU's best win (in non-conference games), over Virginia Tech, rates better than Oregon's best win, over Michigan," said Sam Chi of BCSGuru.com. "Therefore, LSU has an edge in the strength-of-schedule component.

Chi also added that LSU's margin over Oregon in the human polls "will be tough to overcome unless LSU puts up some really putrid performances."

Still, while the debate over Oregon and LSU rages, it could be another team that has the best opportunity to swoop in and reach the title game: fourth-ranked Kansas. The Jayhawks began the season on nobody's radar, but have raced to a 9-0 start that includes Saturday's 76-39 thumping of Nebraska. The Cornhuskers may be awful, but that's the kind of score that gets noticed. Plus, Kansas has the best remaining schedule, as it includes two potential games against top-10 teams: the regular-season finale against Missouri, presumably for the Big 12 North title, and then the Big 12 championship game, likely against Oklahoma. Win both those games in impressive fashion, and the Jayhawks could stun everyone by getting to No. 2 in the BCS.

"I believe that if [Kansas] actually gets to 13-0, it will move up to at least No. 2 in the polls," BCS expert Jerry Palm posted on his Web site Sunday. "The Jayhawks might even be a strong No. 2."

"So, I feel that if anyone controls its own destiny for the title game, it would be Kansas," wrote Palm, before adding that the human voters still need to lift the Jayhawks above those teams in front of them because of the importance of the polls.

Could longtime doormat Kansas actually play for a national title? In a season with more plot twists than a Six Flags ride, it might even be an appropriate outcome.

John L. Smith Trophy

Easiest. JLS Trophy. Ever.

Anyone who watched Navy end Notre Dame's 43-game winning streak in the series knew that Notre Dame Charlie Weis was in for a JLS this week. Weis passed on a 41-yard field goal attempt to take the lead with 45 seconds left. Instead, he put his 119th-ranked offense back on the field on 4th-and-8.

Quarterback Evan Sharpley was sacked, the game went to overtime, and Navy eventually won in the third extra session. Weis explained after the game that his kicker couldn't hit from that distance in pregame warm-ups going into the wind. The kicker is on scholarship, mind you. Notre Dame has the worst offense in the nation. Navy is the furthest thing from a big-play offense there is, mitigating fears that a missed field-goal might lead to a loss in regulation time -- indeed, after the sack, Notre Dame got another possession after Navy went three-and-out.

I had thought a loss to Navy might be the tipping point for the fan base to turn on Weis, and it appears I might have been correct. The world's most optimistic, supportive fans can be found on the Notre Dame blog Blue-Gray Sky, but even the posters and commenters there were full of vitriol after this latest debacle by the Irish.

On the other hand, every American who doesn't consider Notre Dame their favorite team (and probably even a few that do) had to be rooting for Navy in this game. Check out this reaction from some Navy fans after the fourth-down sack of Sharpley -- as athletic a play as you'll ever see from supposedly inferior Naval Academy athlete Ram Vela:

BlogPoll Ballot

This season, I'll again be voting in the BlogPoll, hosted by mgoblog. I'll post my ballot in Junkie each week. Feel free to comment, and I may adjust may rankings based on your suggestions.

Rank Team Delta
1 Ohio State —
2 Oregon —
3 LSU —
4 Oklahoma —
5 West Virginia —
6 Kansas 2
7 Missouri 2
8 Arizona State 2
9 Southern Cal 3
10 Georgia —
11 Boston College 4
12 Virginia Tech 1
13 Michigan —
14 Clemson 2
15 Auburn 9
16 Florida 2
17 Alabama 2
18 Tennessee 3
19 Connecticut —
20 Cincinnati 6
21 Texas 1
22 Hawaii 1
23 Boise State 3
24 Arkansas 2
25 Wake Forest 11

Dropped Out: Wisconsin (No. 17), South Florida (No. 20), South Carolina (No. 25).

Rankings that may require further explanation: This week, I'm feeling confident about my top eight. Arizona State doesn't get hammered for the loss at Oregon, which is a team I feel should play for the national title ahead of LSU. From ninth place on down, there's a lot of guesswork.

I have no idea what to make of the SEC teams beyond LSU, so I lumped all those two- and three-loss teams in from 15 to 18, and threw Arkansas a bone at 24. My stance on the SEC this week: Its top tier is not as good as the Pac-10's top tier. However, it's the deepest conference, which accounts somewhat for all those losses in the East. Still, the non-conference losses (Auburn to South Florida, Alabama to Florida State, Mississippi State getting hammered by West Virginia after doing some damage in-conference) far outweigh the LSU thumping of Virginia Tech.

The key comparison, of course, is now Oregon vs. LSU. I come down on the side of Oregon based on the fact that they have been more dominant over the season's second half. The teams' losses are a toss-up. Slight edge to LSU in that they lost on the road, but both were by razor-thin margins to decent competition. The losses themselves are certainly not enough to decide this debate.

Got a gripe? Post it in the comments, please.

Games I watched at least part of: Virgina Tech-Georgia Tech, Wisconsin-Ohio State, Nebraska-Kansas, Michigan-Michigan State, Navy-Notre Dame, LSU-Alabama, Arizona State-Oregon, Rutgers-Connecticut, Florida State-Boston College.

Portions of this article appeared in Monday's New York Sun.

Posted by: Russell Levine on 05 Nov 2007

100 comments, Last at 08 Nov 2007, 1:13pm by Brooklyn Bengal


by jebmak (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 8:35pm

That You Tube video is HILLARIOUS!

by Gerry (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 8:49pm

I'll be a bit of a homer here for my adopted Razorbacks. I think that game will be LSU's biggest remaining hurdle.

Yes, it is at LSU (I think).

However, LSU just had a very tough time with Alabama at Alabama. Arkansas lost by 3 in heartbreaking fashion at Alabama earlier in the year. While a win is a win and a loss is a loss, both LSU and Arkansas played games at Alabama that either team could have won. Arkansas let slip away a game they probably should have won, while LSU snagged on that they probably should have lost.

LSU beat Auburn by 6, Arkansas lost by 3. Again, this was a game that Arkansas let slip away. LSU lost in OT at Kentucky; Arkansas lost in regulation to Kentucky by 13 by giving up 21 unanswered after leading by 8 in the fourth quarter. Both beat SC by 12 at home.

Take all four together, and it paints to my eyes a picture of two teams who are relatively close, but one (LSU) has been slightly better, or more clutch, whichever you want to call it. But two teams who are in the same general ballpark even though one has an edge.

Then two other factors can be added. First, the game is at LSU. Second, Arkansas is healthier than they were in the games they lost to Auburn, Kentucky, and Alabama; Marcus Monk is finally playing again, and McFadden is healthier than he was earlier in the year. Just a swag, but I would say these two cancel each other out.

So I would definitely favor LSU in that game, but think it is one that could go either way. But isn't that true for most SEC games no involving Ole Miss?

by Kal (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 8:52pm

The good thing about the Ducks and media exposure is that the last two games - and the one that most people likely watched vs. Michigan - had the Ducks just dominating their opponents. The Ducks haven't required some late-game heroics to win, some amazingly bad but lucky fluke plays, etc. They've just gone out there and dismantled good team after good team.

I don't know if media exposure matters so much for the scrub games as long as the Ducks do what they've done all season and rip up mediocre teams left and right. I've resigned myself to accepting another close national championship bid that won't go to the Ducks, but at the same time we'll get to go to the Rose if that happens, and we've only got ourselves to blame after that Cal loss.

I do think that the Ducks are at least the 2nd best team in the nation. They played their worst game against Cal, having 4 turnovers, and still barely lost. This is a team with remarkable depth, skilled players at all positions, and good coaching and coaching decisions. They also seem to have that killer instinct that they've lacked in prior years. Their D is doing better as the year goes on, the offense is rolling. It's a good time to be a Duck fan.

by oljb (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 9:03pm

No love for Connecticut? With only one loss, I'd think they'd be in at least the top 15, especially over all those 3-loss SEC teams.

by Will Allen (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 9:30pm

Hmmmmm....if an undefeated Pac-10 champion doesn't get to the BCS Championship Game, that could cause great distress, so that's what I'm pulling for.

by Jon (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 9:47pm

I give UConn all the credit in the world for what they've done. They've beaten a couple of more-talented teams (Louisville, USF, RU) simply by playing mistake free football and waiting for them to implode. However, it's unlikely they can do that against Cincy or WV.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 9:58pm

#6: I give UConn credit for having severely incompetent officials help them out twice (nobody talks about the ghastly replay call against Temple) but not much more than that. They're my second luckiest team next to LSU.

#3: If I was a voter I'd have jumped Oregon over LSU this week based on their last games alone. In fact if it wasn't for the fact that nobody else seems to want to stay in the top 3 for very long, I'd have dropped them even further. The only thing great about them is their luck. They seem far more likely to lose before the season's over than Oregon does for sure.

by sundown (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:01pm

I didn't watch the entire game, but I heard on the radio today the ND students booed Weis during the 1812 Overture which is played every game to honor the coach.

It's impossible to believe their level or ineptitude is caused by the players alone. But I'm sure someone will chime in to explain how it's all Tyrone Willingham's fault.

by DMP (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:02pm

So if the PAC 10 is having exposure problems in trying to get voters attentions, what happens to the Big Ten exposure in a feew years as the conference moves more games to the Big Ten Network that no one gets? (Assuming the Big Ten ever goes more than one or two deep.)

by Fourth (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:04pm

5: I think the only undefeateds left are Ohio State, Kansas, and lolHawaiilol.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:22pm

My Meaningless Top 25:

1. LSU
2. Oregon
3. Ohio State
4. Kansas
5. Oklahoma
6. West Virginia
7. Missouri
8. Arizona State
9. Boston College
10. Michigan
11. Auburn
12. Virginia Tech
13. Georgia
14. Southern Cal
15. UConn
16. Florida
17. Clemson
18. Penn State
19. Florida State
20. Texas
21. Virginia
22. Alabama
23. Cincinnati
24. Illinois
25. California

Despite having one loss each, Oregon and LSU both have more quality wins than tOSU. However, if tOSU and Oregon both win out, tOSU will pass Oregon with wins over Michigan and Illinois.

There’s a huge gap between #3 and #4.

In the real world, unless both LSU and Ohio State win out, prepare yourselves for another mind-numbing BCS controversy, as there will be several one-loss teams that will have an argument for the #2 slot. Even if they don’t win out, there isn’t much separating LSU from Oregon right now, and if Oklahoma wins out they’ll have a strong case.

I seriously doubt Kansas will win out, but then again I didn’t think they’d be 9 – 0 with Iowa State on deck after hanging 76 on Nebraska. Would KU have a strong enough schedule for consideration to play for the National Title if they beat Missouri and Oklahoma? Probably not.

by Spencer (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:24pm

Man, that youtube video is great. It really captures the reason that watching sports is so great, I may have to use that to explain to people some time.

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:29pm

9: Have you had any problems seeing Big Ten teams this year? The BTN isn't getting more games in the future, it will be similar to this year -- they just recently signed another long deal with ABC/ESPN. The new deal is pretty good for the Big 10 -- the 3:30 ET Big Ten game now is seen by everyone instead of just regional coverage, as areas that don't have it on ABC have it on ESPN. Plus the usual noon game or two on the ESPN networks, and some prime time games.

Besides, in a few years I expect one side or the other will have caved, and Big Ten fans will be able to see all their team's games for much less than before when you had to subscribe to GamePlan to see them all, unless you lived close to the school and a local station picked up the syndicated ESPN Plus broadcast. Not that I care who caves -- I have DirecTV and have had BTN all year.

My prediction has been that Charter will cave first, as they are the primary cable company serving Indiana and Wisconsin fans, and many basketball games will be on the BTN. Hoosier fans may burn down Charter's HQ if they can't see their team. Once they do, it at least sets a contractual precedent from which to deal with the other big ones like Comcast.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:31pm

“I believe that if [Kansas] actually gets to 13-0, it will move up to at least No. 2 in the polls,� BCS expert Jerry Palm posted on his Web site Sunday. “The Jayhawks might even be a strong No. 2.�

“So, I feel that if anyone controls its own destiny for the title game, it would be Kansas,� wrote Palm, before adding that the human voters still need to lift the Jayhawks above those teams in front of them because of the importance of the polls.

I posted #12 before reading this, and I'm very surprised. KU's non-conference schedule is quite possibly the second weakest amongst BCS-conference teams (Texas Tech has the worst), plus they missed Texas and Oklahoma in the regular season.

Putting KU ahead of LSU or Oregon (assuming those two teams win out) would be SHAMEFUL. The BCS would be telling the teams that playing in tough conferences and scheduling tough non-conference games is meaningless.

by Jesse (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 10:58pm

Who says the Big 12 isn't the best conference? Three out of your top seven teams are Big 12. Texas and Kansas State are also decent to good depending on your perspective.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 11:23pm


1. IMO the SEC and Pac-10 are better than the Big 12 this year.

2. Kansas plays in the Big 12 North, which is the weaker side of the conference. They also play three of the bottom four teams in the south, while missing the top two.

3. Their non-conf schedule is embrarrassing: Central Michigan, SE Louisiana, Toledo, and Florida International. Yikes.

Having said that, they would get a boost if they beat Missouri, then OU in the conference championship. It would help if both Oklahoma and Missouri won the rest of their games.

Having said that, I still don't think it's enough. Both Oregon and LSU look more impressive losing one game with their schedules than KU looks going undefeated.

by Paul (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 11:35pm

"Oregon has beaten three teams that were ranked at the time they played, and all three were in the top 10"

Wait, huh? Oregon didn't beat Cal, so this sentence makes no sense.

by The Boilermaster (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 11:35pm


That's actually a good point. The BigXII hasn't really had any useful non-conference games this year (no Texas -Ohio State or Oregon - Oklahoma to inspire controversy). Yet, as someone that's watched my poor CU Buffs get wtfpwnd by Mizzou and Kansas after beating OU, the BigXII is suprisingly strong this year.

Granted, the bottom of the conference is at an all-time low, Baylor, Texas A&M, Iowa State and (lol) Nebraska are all Terrible, and Texas Tech, Colorado and Kansas State are average *at best*...

by The Boilermaster (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 11:38pm


I'm torn between my hatred of the state of Kansas, my love of the BigXII, and my hatred of pussy-ass nonconference games.

Go...Oregon? I guess?

by The Boilermaster (not verified) :: Mon, 11/05/2007 - 11:41pm


Ducks beat Michigan, USC, and Arizona State. 3wins vs. top10 (at the time).

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:03am

20 -- As a Michigan fan, I can tell you that Michigan most certainly wasn't top 10 when they played. I believe they were completely dropped from the Top 25 after "The Horror", or close to it if it wasn't all the way out.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:03am

Michigan was not ranked at the time of the Oregon game, they dropped out of the rankings after losing to some State university.

Alabama loss killed me, I did not expect to win, but my lord. Cotton Bowl or Peach Bowl is ok by me for the first year of the rebuilding project.

by kevinNYC (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:15am

I'm a big Charlie Weis supporter and I haven't trusted any ND kicker since Craig Hentrich graduated, but the decision to go for it on 4th down was complete stupidity. You have to give the team an opportunity to win. After the Sharpley to Carlson 4th down completion, I wasn't interested in tempting fate again. You have to attempt the FG.

BTW, Evan Sharpley made some of the dumbest decisions I've ever seen on any level of football. Allowing yourself to get sacked 2 yards from the sideline when any pass that goes forward won't be called intentional grounding is just purely stupid. But with the inept o-line, why let Clausen get killed?

Losing to Navy is embarrassing and inexcusable. If it wasn't for the young talented kids I've seen on the team (half of whom should be redshirting, but are better than upperclassmen at their positions), I would be a lot harder on Weis.

by Dave in St. Louis (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:16am

Is there no love for Mizzou? They have the offense to stay with KU and they have the defense to hold KU down enough to win.

Where do you guys think Mizzou would end up if they run the table?

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:20am

Appalachian State won this past weekend and are now ranked number 7 in the 1-AA polls. So far we're narrowly escaping the embarrassment of Michigan being ranked higher in BCS or division 1 or whatever you call it this season that App. St. is in Div 1-AA. I mean, it's not as if those two teams actually played each other and "decided it on the field" or anything.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:22am

Is there no love for Mizzou?

If the season ended today I'd give Chase Daniel the Heisman.

They'd need to run the table and have both Oregon and LSU lose. If that happened I'd take Missouri over West Virginia. Not sure if the BCS would agree with me.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:28am

If Missouri ran the table as in won the Big 12 Championship? It depends on how everything shakes out...but if Oklahoma and Kansas keep on winning before Missouri beats them they might actually have a chance to jump to #2. I never thought about that. LSU and Oregon are not going to face anyone as good again (unless Georgia wins out and Tennessee loses again).

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:29am

You don't think knocking off the #3 and #4 teams in BCS is not going to help Missouri? Though I would not give Chase Daniel a Heisman (that is all Darren McFadden).

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:39am

25: It would help if a 1-A team would actually beat Michigan in the last two months. I mean, lord knows there have been opportunities, Henne and Hart have been in and out of the lineup for a good chunk of those games, and saying Mallett has butterfingers would be rather charitable.

Not to mention I don't think App State would be within 20 if they played again. Michigan's defense is playing a lot better, and they wouldn't be so stupid as to sit Hart half the game again with an 'injury' so severe that he came back into the game and completely dominated anyway. Teams aren't necessarily the same at the end of the season as they are at the beginning. I mean, look at a team like Cal for an example in the other direction.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:50am

In other news, its been reported that Texas A & M has fired / bought out Dennis Franchione.

As much as I objected to Fran's "insider newsletter" (violating players HIPAA info is a no-no) if I were running an Arizona or an Ole Miss he's be on my radar.

by Dave in St. Louis (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:52am

"They’d [Mizzou] need to run the table and have both Oregon and LSU lose. If that happened I’d take Missouri over West Virginia. Not sure if the BCS would agree with me."

Umm... Mizzou is already ahead of WVU in the BCS standings.

by Dave in St. Louis (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:57am

"If Missouri ran the table as in won the Big 12 Championship?"

Yes. Mizzou beats TAMU, K State, Kansas and, presumably, Oklahoma to win the Big 12 (and KU and Oklahoma win out until they face Mizzou) is exactly what I meant.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:58am

Coach Fran is done in BCS conference football for a while I think. And all word is that Ole Miss is keeping Coach O and Arizona might keep Stoops one more year (they are finishing strong).

Though I think Callahan and Gailey will be next BCS coaches fired.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 12:59am

As a Missouri fan I would really be hoping for Illinois to knock off Ohio State as well.

by Matt (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:10am

I nominate Brian Kelly for the JLS Trophy. Cincy/USF 29 seconds to go, 4th and 12 from the South Florida 25. The Bulls have no timeouts. A field goal is pretty useless as the game is still one score, so perhaps a pooch punt to make the Bulls go the length of the field. Kelly fakes a field goal, losing 12 yards on the tackle. USF takes over on their own 39. Two pass plays later they are on Cincy's 18 and get to throw 2 passes into the endzone as time expires.

by Greg (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:12am

The problem with Weis' call wasn't that he shouldn't have gone for it in that situation. Brandon Walker can't kick for shit.

Weis' true gaffe came on the 3rd and 9 play before that. He ran the ball to set up the FG, gaining one yard. Obviously, he should have been playing for the first down knowing that he's basically playing without a field goal kicker.

Running on 3rd and 9 is not playing for the first down. It shouldn't even be considered thinking at all.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:12am

33-It should be noted that Kentucky's Rich Brooks and MSU's Sly Croom made major steps forward in their fourth year. Orgeron may well get his fourth year.

When Mike Stoops was hired four years ago I thought Arizona made a great move. So far I've been wrong- Arizona Football has not improved under Stoops. The record speaks for itself.

I still think a Franchione would be a tremendous hire for a lot of teams.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:16am

Both Oregon and LSU look more impressive losing one game with their schedules than KU looks going undefeated.

And this is the fundamental problem with the BCS. In what other sport is looking good more important than winning all your games?

To paraphrase Billy Crystal, "it is better to look good and play in the SEC than to win and play in the Big 12, and LSU, you play in the SEC."

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:29am

And this is the fundamental problem with the BCS. In what other sport is looking good more important than winning all your games?

In every sport.

How many angles, which one should I select? I'll try this one- name another sport where one can win all of it's games and win it's championship?

All of them.

If the Providence Bruins win all of their games, they don't win the Stanley Cup. If the New Hampshire Fisher Cats win all of their games, they don't win the World Series.

It's not a question of "looking good". It's a question of determining which team has accomplished more than the next.

If a high school team finished 13-0 should they be ranked ahead of LSU? They won all of their games, didn't they?

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:34am

34: I don't think it matters which game Ohio State loses -- if they lose one of the last two, they will fall behind the Big 12 teams (until they lose) and very possibly West Virginia as well. Either loss will look bad -- Illinois in the 'Shoe wouldn't be a good loss, and with Michigan you'll get the ZOMG They Lost To the Team That Lost To Appalachian State factor -- combined with the down year for the conference and no good OOC games (since Washington completely went down the tubes).

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:42am

As a person who goes for a team that Coach Fran coached for, I am not sure if the correct answer is a lot of schools want him.

last 5 years with R.C. Slocum: 40-22
5 years with Coach Fran: 31-27 (with embarrassing bowl losses and a 77-0 loss to Oklahoma)

Sometimes I assume its a personal reason, but I am never sure why guys like Slocum, Cooper, or Donnan never got another chance somewhere else, while someone like Coach Fran might be recycled by a BCS school.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:45am


I say that because Missouri beat Illinois head to head and it only help them jump the one loss LSU or Oregon and keep 1 loss West Virginia from jumping them as well.

again-its all moot if Missouri does not win out.

by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:46am

Sagarin Conference Ratings


1 SOUTHEASTERN (A) = 80.69 80.36 ( 1) 12
2 BIG EAST (A) = 78.48 77.64 ( 4) 8
3 BIG 12 (A) = 77.90 77.67 ( 3) 12
4 PAC-10 (A) = 77.44 78.11 ( 2) 10
5 ATLANTIC COAST (A) = 76.86 76.68 ( 5) 12
6 BIG TEN (A) = 76.13 76.12 ( 6) 11

by navin (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:48am

Pac 10 and SEC rankings for comparison...

3 Oregon A = 93.32 8 1 75.42( 13) 1 0 | 3 1 | 90.78 4 | 95.84 1
6 Arizona State A = 88.96 8 1 72.66( 30) 0 1 | 1 1 | 89.17 6 | 88.11 8
13 Southern California A = 83.61 7 2 70.04( 52) 0 1 | 0 1 | 80.37 26 | 86.99 10
25 California A = 80.65 6 3 74.84( 15) 1 1 | 2 1 | 80.20 28 | 80.46 26
36 Oregon State A = 77.87 5 4 73.07( 24) 0 1 | 1 3 | 75.74 40 | 79.55 31
47 UCLA A = 75.37 5 4 72.83( 27) 0 0 | 1 0 | 72.97 53 | 77.35 41
53 Washington A = 73.76 3 6 79.19( 1) 0 3 | 1 4 | 70.84 64 | 76.38 44
69 Arizona A = 70.45 4 6 72.66( 29) 0 0 | 0 2 | 67.89 77 | 72.54 55
76 Washington State A = 68.90 3 6 76.12( 8) 0 2 | 0 4 | 68.31 75 | 68.84 72
78 Stanford A = 68.18 3 6 76.00( 10) 0 2 | 1 2 | 67.41 80 | 68.31 74

1 SOUTHEASTERN (A) = 80.69 80.36 ( 1) TEAMS= 12
4 LSU A = 92.87 8 1 75.49( 12) 1 0 | 4 1 | 93.45 3 | 91.71 4
9 Florida A = 87.28 6 3 76.98( 5) 0 1 | 2 3 | 83.66 16 | 91.50 7
12 Auburn A = 84.13 7 3 71.20( 41) 1 1 | 2 2 | 81.88 22 | 86.04 11
18 Georgia A = 83.02 7 2 73.43( 21) 1 0 | 2 1 | 85.68 11 | 80.24 28
19 Alabama A = 82.62 6 3 73.69( 17) 0 1 | 2 3 | 81.96 21 | 82.64 20
23 Kentucky A = 81.31 6 3 72.38( 33) 1 1 | 2 1 | 80.09 29 | 81.94 22
26 Tennessee A = 80.34 6 3 72.42( 31) 0 1 | 1 3 | 82.22 20 | 78.07 38
27 Arkansas A = 80.23 6 3 66.18( 80) 0 0 | 0 3 | 75.52 41 | 86.01 12
31 South Carolina A = 79.26 6 4 73.43( 20) 0 1 | 2 3 | 80.29 27 | 77.68 39
48 Vanderbilt A = 75.04 5 4 73.22( 22) 0 1 | 0 4 | 76.26 39 | 73.28 52
58 Mississippi State A = 72.54 5 4 72.41( 32) 0 2 | 2 3 | 78.90 33 | 67.04 76
84 Mississippi A = 65.62 3 7 73.17( 23) 0 2 | 0 6 | 64.11 95 | 66.51 78

by young curmudgeon (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 2:26am

re 29: "Teams aren’t necessarily the same at the end of the season as they are at the beginning." OK, but isn't the mantra of college football that "every game counts"? That's why we don't need a playoff, for instance. You think Michigan would now beat App St by 20. I think Michigan State would beat Michigan. So what? Those two opinions are only evidence that you have an opinion and that I'm delusional (!) The game was played. The game counts. Maybe the 1-A teams that haven't been able to beat Michigan aren't quite so good as we tell ourselves they are. Let's see how those Wolverines do against North Dakota State, Northern Iowa, Montana, McNeese State, Southern Illinois, and Delaware!

BTW, I root for Michigan more often than not, certainly against ND and Ohio State. I'm just amazed that a game that, a few weeks ago, was the "most amazing upset in the history of college football" is now just explained away and disregarded.

by asg (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 2:51am

Both Oregon and LSU look more impressive losing one game with their schedules than KU looks going undefeated.

This is, ultimately, why I can't take college football seriously. (Even in the context of sports.) It doesn't have a clean slate on opening day. The fact that KU has been a punching bag for years means that they have to pay their dues. Worst to first just isn't possible.

by Sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 3:00am

41: RC was totally jobbed by A&M. He won them 2 or 3 Big XII titles, including that one where K-State was #1 in the nation at the time. Then they dump him when OU and Texas start playing well again. The Aggies got what they deserved with ol' lyin' Dennis, who told his guys at Alabama he wasn't going anywhere while he was signing his acceptance letter to leave for A&M.

23: I respect you for backing your team, but why is the kicker on scholarship if he sucks? There's no walk-on who could try a 41 yard FG? At what point does it become a coaching problem as opposed to the player's fault?

I keep hearing what a great recruiter Weis is, but the results on the field sure doesn't show it. All kinds of other teams have underclassmen step up, but with ND all you hear is how they'll be good "next year." Also, somebody on this site in the last ND Extra Points thread looked up Willingham's last recruiting class--the one that supposedly is the excuse for ND sucking. It was rated somewhere in the 30s, as I recall. Even if the ratings were way off and that class was the only guys on the field (which of course they aren't) that STILL shouldn't add up to historically bad. They're either totally unmotivated or being instructed poorly.

by DMP (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 3:01am

By the way, I dropped some mescaline, closed my eyes, and tuned out with 7 minutes to go in the 4th quarter. So that means then that Michigan State won that game, right? Right??? Please??

by Russell Levine :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 4:03am

Re: 17

Corrected. Somewhere in between counting number of games against ranked teams and number of wins I managed to butcher that statement and the one about LSU.

by zlionsfan (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 9:33am

Ole Miss must keep dacoacho.

I-A football doesn't have an "every game counts" scenario. Every game counts, unless you're not respected by the voters, or you're not in a BCS conference, or the game was early enough in the season, or people have decided you don't deserve another shot.

A true playoff will come. All it needs is enough money to make the bowls play along and someone to be the driving force ... someone who understands marketing and already has been involved in playoff excitement ... someone with plenty of money to spare ...

by RickD (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 9:43am

re: 39
In how many other sports can you win all of your games and not win the championship? Let's ask the people at Boise State.

If your argument is that Boise State shouldn't be in Div I, then that's a different argument. But you are conflating actual league boundaries with imagined ones.

by Harris (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 10:50am

Charlie Weis, I wish you ill. I want all bad things in life to happen to you and only to you.

It's not so much that ND lost to Navy that bothers me, I'm innured to ND losing at this point, it's that they had so damn many opportunities to win but Weis said, "Get the hell out of here, Victory. I don't need your help."

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 11:50am

Re 39: Now you're just being stupid with your comparisons.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 11:58am

Re 50: I-A football doesn’t have an “every game counts� scenario. Every game counts, unless you’re not respected by the voters, or you’re not in a BCS conference, or the game was early enough in the season, or people have decided you don’t deserve another shot.

Exactly. The people who say there doesn't need to be a playoff because "every game counts" are pretty selective about what games actually count. There are 119 teams in I-A. At least half of them start the season with zero chance to win the championship, even if they go undefeated.

The only reason OSU is ranked first and Kansas fourth instead of the other way around is their names. If Indiana was undefeated playing OSUs schedule you can bet your ass they wouldn't be #1.

by Mike (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:11pm

can I just comment how incredibly underrated uconn is? I realize their out of conference schedual was easy, but to point out at least 1 paper tiger ahead of them in most polls:
Uconn 3-1 against teams over .500
USC: 0-1 against teams over .500
so which team has played the tougher schedual and played better in it?

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:18pm

#54: Optimally, the national champion should be the best team, as demonstrated by their results on the field. We can agree to that, right?

The 1-A (FBS) designation is, more than anything, a designation made for financial purposes. Teams like North Texas didn't move up to 1-A because they want to compete with Ohio State for the national championship; if they did, they would pour more money into their athletic program and start scheduling 5-6 decently tough games per year. They moved to 1-A because it affords them the opportunity to play games against the bottom half of the subdivision, maybe get on TV occasionally, and make more money.

When teams that do the same thing, like Boise State, end up going undefeated, we are all too quick to argue that that accomplishment is equivalent to a major conference team going undefeated, or even having one loss, against a schedule containing 5-6 teams (or more) that have a realistic chance to deal them a loss. I've rooted for Boise State for years, and their accomplishment last year was awesome, but their only reasonably tough game was against Oklahoma. That's just not the same as Florida or Michigan getting through their substantially tougher schedule with one loss - the voters did the right thing.

This year, Kansas has (so far) played the equivalent of Boise's schedule last year. It's still impressive that they haven't lost yet, but they haven't played anybody that a top team would be expected to lose to. If they win out, sure, they deserve a shot in the BCS title game. But not yet.

You can make the same argument about Ohio State right now, to a much lesser degree. And don't get me wrong, I also think the preseason rankings skew things to an unreasonable degree. But just looking at W/L records to rank teams under the guise of "every game counts" is ridiculous.

by Russell Levine :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:21pm

College basketball has an all-inclusive playoff. And yet, how many teams have won a championship outside of the power conferences the last 25 years?

I realize that everyone does have a chance and that is a difference from football. But college football has a long-held tradition of muddled championships. For much of the sport's history, championships bestowed by the polls didn't mean much, certainly not as much as beating your rival, winning your conference, and winning a bowl game.

I'm not saying the pursuit of an undisputed champion is entirely bad, but I just think that it jeopardizes what makes college football special in some ways.

Think about the greatest college games in a given season. The greatest memories the sport has offered up in recent years. Now, how many of those came in bowl games? How many in the BCS championship game? A few, sure. But the beauty of college football is its regular season. The regular season is a means to an end. It's not just a prelude to a playoff like it is in every other sport.

Sure a four or eight-team playoff could be incredibly exciting, but if it makes a 14-week regular season any less exciting than I will always say no thanks.

I think people get caught up in this need to have an undisputed champ because every other sport does and therefore, college football as an outlier, must be wacky. Yes, it's wacky. But maybe the sport doesn't need an undisputed champ or an all inclusive playoff.

Those clamoring for one, can you honestly say the Boises of the world would be better off in that system than the current one? What about the Indianas? The powerhouses will be fine in any system, so it's really the rest of the teams that matter.

by Brooklyn Buckeye (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:23pm

RE: #54

Joe, you're definitely right that MOST other teams playing tOSU's schedule would not be ranked #1. But it isn't JUST the name of the school.

In 7 years under Jim Tressel, tOSU has won one National Championship (2002), lost in the National Championship once (2006), and finished two more years ranked fourth in the country (2003 & 2005). So the voters are saying that this program has proven itself...that despite the lax schedule this year, they have confidience that tOSU's success is no fluke.

Compare that with Kansas, who in the same time frame has had one winning season. So a #4 ranking isn't insulting...the voters are understandably skeptical at Kansas' weak schedule, including two close wins against medocre Kansas State and Colorado. Beat a very good Missouri team en route to winning out and they will have proven that they deserve to compete for the title.

So you can complain that it isn't FAIR, but they syste isn't UNFAIR, either. All a team has to do to be "respected" by the voters is win...and keep winning year after year against good teams.

by Nick (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 1:39pm

#54 - The computers don't care what OSU's name is or what they did last year or what they were ranked at the beginning of the year. OSU is ranked #1 in 4 of the 6 computer polls and ahead of Kansas in each one. Saying that they are only #1 because of their name isn't correct.

by seven year lion (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 2:06pm

That was me. There were actually two consecutive "bad" classes that were ranked 27 and 30 by scout.com. Those classes would be the (non redshirt) juniors and seniors respectively. The current freshman class was ranked 11 and the sophomores ranked 5.

by Yinka Double Dare (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 2:08pm

55: I would like to think at least some of the poll voters are penalizing them due to the Temple game, which but for an awful call they would have lost.

At least with the Louisville game you can at least plausibly argue that they could have won anyways. I don't think you can really do that with the Temple game.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 3:10pm

I'm waiting for the day when the media and fans of other teams whip ND fans into such a frenzy that they fire coaches after one loss. Then I will watch the media and other fans rip into ND fans as having expectations that are too high and unrealistic.

It's like Willingham's last year and this year have exposed the rock and a hard place that has become ND football in the starkest light possible. Go to two BCS bowls in two years, but have an incredibly bad year and it's to the gallows with you. Meanwhile, Les Miles almost blows every game for the past two seasons and LSU fans would be crazy to get rid of him.

If every coach was fired after one bad year (no matter how bad) then what's the point? Pete Carrol lost to Stanford, fire the bum! Honestly, I think people that aren't fans of ND just want to stir everyone up - which doesn't make sense because it just keeps getting ND headlines and keeps them at the forefront of college football. If you really didn't like the way ND was treated you'd ignore the team and wait for them to fade into obscurity.

Whatever, Weis will get one more year and if he sucks next year then they'll fire him. Willingham got a year to turn it around and so will Weis.

by RickD (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 3:11pm

Hi Russell,

What you say makes college football "special" is part of what makes it uninteresting to me. In every other major TV sport, I feel fairly sure that the best team will be the champion. (Or at least, the team playing the best during the championship tournament.) The influence polling has on college football is similar to the influence judges have on figure skating.

It's not simply a question of which conference a team is from. It's also a question of which team from which conference. In 1985, it was fairly clear to all observers that Villanova was, at best, the #3 team in the Big East. And yet they, not Georgetown or St. John's, won the NCAA tournament. There are a lot of similar examples in recent years.

The polling "system" turns an athletic competition into a beauty contest. And it tends to exaggerate differences between closely matched teams, not to mention favoring teams from weaker conferences. (And that doesn't even address the problem of "anchoring" teams, which thankfully you are trying to avoid.)

by MRH (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 3:28pm

#57 - the problem is, the power schools generally avoid scheduling regular season non-conference games that might be classic (Michigan v Appalachian St notwithstanding) in favor of easy victory paydays at home that boost their bowl chances, payouts, and coaching records. If the BCS schools only scheduled each other, then they'd have a case for arguing that the make the regular season so compelling and important that a playoff would cheapen the experience.

If BCS schools don't want to be compared to Boise State, then don't schedule them or comparable teams. Once the "big boys" put them on the schedule, they are letting them into the "league" and conferring equal status on their victories.

If BCS schools don't want Kansas (or any other school - note that Purdue, Clemson, Iowa State, Penn St, Maryland, Miami(FL), and Arkansas also scheuled at least one game against Kansas' non-conference foes) to play cream puffs, limit the number of non-BCS games a school may play. Otherwise, live with the consequences.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 3:28pm

Those clamoring for one, can you honestly say the Boises of the world would be better off in that system than the current one? What about the Indianas? The powerhouses will be fine in any system, so it’s really the rest of the teams that matter.

Well let's see. In the current system, 60+ teams enter the season knowing that no matter what happens, they have zero chance to win the championship. In a playoff system, every team would enter the season with an opportunity to win the championship. How can you argue the small schools would not be better off?

As for the "great games", look at the NFL. How many great playoff games have there been? Lots. There's no reason to think there wouldn't be lots of great playoff games in I-A as well.

It comes down to whether you think every team should start the season on an equal footing with the same opportunity to win the championship. Some people think that's more important than preserving the "beauty" of the regular season and other people don't.

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 3:59pm

See, for me the polling system is an afterthought. I don't care. It's nice to see and it occasionally helps my team make more money than they would otherwise (and thus helps the school), but I just don't care.

I care about beating Oregon State.
I care about beating Washington.

I really, really care about being the Pac-10 champion and going to the Rose, and beating the Big-10 champion.

It's not as important to me to know who is the best team in the land or the college champion every year, and given the choice between going to the Rose or going to the national championship, I'd rather see the Ducks in the Rose.

Well let’s see. In the current system, 60+ teams enter the season knowing that no matter what happens, they have zero chance to win the championship. In a playoff system, every team would enter the season with an opportunity to win the championship. How can you argue the small schools would not be better off?

#65, because those schools aren't going to likely win the championship anyway. They wouldn't even go far in a playoff system. And whatever small chance a playoff game them would be wiped out in importance by losing the things that make a college season special. Rivalry games, playing for random trophies, the things that make OSU-Michigan or Oregon-Oregon State special - those disappear when you have a playoff. Those aren't the defining moments of your season. Those are just footnotes to your 1 and done in the playoffs.

I do think that teams need to schedule more difficult opponents on a regular basis. I otherwise entirely agree with Russell; having Oregon go to a bowl game for the first time in 33 years was a special moment for Oregon fans. Yeah, it was the Independence bowl. Yeah, that doesn't sound special, but it was to us. It was special winning that 7th game to get there. That sort of thing is what is lost when you focus on the national championship and a playoff. Sure, the top teams get better things, but the mid teams get...really, nothing.

by The Boilermaster (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 5:28pm

The entire problem with college football Bowl games is this: everyone defending Bowl games has only one argument, tradition.

At what point do we wake up and realize "Tradition is not, by itself, a justification to do ANYTYHING".

Honestly, a better argument for keeping the status qou is "everyone loves controversy". I still despise the 2002 tOSU Luckeyes, and still think they didn't deserve the national championship. And I still laugh at Auburn getting left out of the national championship game a few years ago. ah, Memories. But really, how much time do we devote to manufacturing controversy?

Basically, BCS controversy is like water-cooler gossip in an office. Sure, you could just do your job quietly...but man is a social beast, and manufactured gossip/controversy simply makes life more interesting.

by DMP (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 5:51pm

Yes, there is a long standing tradition of beating your rivals and winning the conference championship and muddled national championships. But a national champion or national champions have been named for decades, and fans have cared to have their team win one for decades also. So this too is a long standing tradition. The BCS came into place because there was a good amount of outcry building and finally boiled over the traditional muddled voting process that screwed over your school, Russell. However the new system is still muddled, clearly insufficient. And as for making regular season games less exciting... just how excited would you be right now if instead of scrapping for a championship in a crappy conference, the Wolverines were right now fighting for a seed in a two or three round championship tournament after fighting back from the debacle of the first two games?

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 5:55pm

"I still despise the 2002 tOSU Luckeyes, and still think they didn’t deserve the national championship."

I would like to apologize to readers of this thread. But this... I mean, it just has to be done, doesn't it? I'm just so curious, I'm sorry, I can't help myself. It has to be good, doesn't it? Anyway, here we go....

Oh, dear fellow. Won't you please make your case as to why the Buckeyes didn't deserve the championship in 2002? And please, make it good. I can't wait to hear this!

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:02pm

The entire problem with college football Bowl games is this: everyone defending Bowl games has only one argument, tradition.

At what point do we wake up and realize “Tradition is not, by itself, a justification to do ANYTYHING�.

No. It's not just tradition. It's joy.

There isn't as much joy in a team making the playoffs and losing in the first round to the #1 seed as there is making a bowl game. There's not as much joy in making the regular season as unimportant. There's not as much joy in making your conference games unimportant in the grand scheme of things. These things make college football special, different, and yes, more fun. Tradition is part of that, but a big part of it is also how important each regular season game truly is. That gets reduced substantially when you have a playoff system. And if you think that a playoff system would somehow reduce people playing cupcake games...

The BCS came into place because there was a good amount of outcry building and finally boiled over the traditional muddled voting process that screwed over your school, Russell.

The thing is, there really aren't that many schools that care about the national championship. It's more widespread now, but it's still not that big a deal to most teams and most schools. The BCS came about because ESPN wanted something more marketable for their bowl games and their ranking system. It really just wasn't that much of a controversy back in the day.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:05pm

One completely unrelated thing. Sure, it's easy to kick Weis while he's down, such as giving him the JLS trophy, or calling him a fat sack of crap who's taken a proud, tradition-rich program to its lowest point in a century. But I think we should give credit where it's due.

This past Saturday, we saw Notre Dame play a very competitive game at home against a service academy. Honestly, who among us would have thought this was possible six weeks ago? That there is some major improvement!

And think of the difficulties he had to overcome! I mean, when he's recruiting players, they need slightly above average academic credentials. Meanwhile, all Navy has to do is put out a minor disclaimer: "If you come here, you will go to war." So given the tremendous disadvantage Notre Dame finds itself facing, it is incredibly commendable that Weis was able to coach his team of high school all stars to the point that they were almost capable of beating an undersized, undermanned group of players for whom football is a mere diversion. You gotta tip your hat to the guy, really.

by DMP (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:13pm

I don't think you can apply a broad sweep about "excitement" over a bowl game. Many of the bowl games have poor attendence. Many jokes have been made about the sheer number of games -- for several BCS schools with recruiting and schedule advantages it is not too hard to make a bowl game (I'm sure this sounds like a ludicrous statement coming from a Spartan fan). Many schools in fact get miffed over which game they end up in. Go ask Nebraska fans if they were happy to make back-to-back Alamo Bowl appearances a couple of years ago. That making any bowl game brings excitement to the fan base is a myth. There are only a handful of bowl games that carry true prestige (or regional excitement for the non-BCS schools).

by Zac (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:14pm

Re: 65. Do you really think that a non-BCS school stands any chance of winning a playoff for the national championship? I mean, yes, Boise State, yes Appalachian State, but playing 3 games in a 8-team playoff (which might have 1 non-BCS team in it) seems pretty insurmontable.

by DMP (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:15pm

Trogdor: fantastic.

by Joe (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:34pm

Re 73: Probably not, but that doesn't mean they don't deserve the chance to try.

Re 66: And whatever small chance a playoff game them would be wiped out in importance by losing the things that make a college season special. Rivalry games, playing for random trophies, the things that make OSU-Michigan or Oregon-Oregon State special - those disappear when you have a playoff. Those aren’t the defining moments of your season. Those are just footnotes to your 1 and done in the playoffs.

What makes the season "special" are exciting games between good teams. And if you have a playoff, you have more good teams playing each other, since they'll have no choice in the playoffs.

Very few people outside of fans of the schools involved care about "rivalry games" unless both teams are highly ranked. In most seasons, does anyone outside of the state of Oregon care about the Oregon-Oregon State game? Indiana-Purdue is as big a rivalry there is, but nobody outside the state gives a crap.

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:38pm

#72: depends on the program. 20 years ago Oregon would've been ecstatic to go to any bowl. 2 years ago they felt they got robbed because they didn't go to a BCS bowl. Still, ask almost any Oregon fan and they'll tell you the same: the goal is to get to the Rose. The national championship is a second place.

And non-exciting bowls misses the other point: the regular season. To a Spartan, which is more important: going to a bowl or beating Michigan? That sort of thing goes out the window in a playoff environment.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 6:55pm

Re 71:
So how many violations did Tressel rack up at Youngstown? I can't remember...

I do remember 2000, it was a good year. Purdue made it to the Rose Bowl, which bowl did OSU go to?

by thestar5 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 7:00pm


Umm, thats your opinion dude. Why are you stating it like its a fact?

"There isn’t as much joy in a team making the playoffs and losing in the first round to the #1 seed as there is making a bowl game."

Says who???? I would get much more joy out of an 8 team playoff than some meaningless bowl games. You realize half the teams make a bowl game right. That is no achievement! And I'm sorry, but I just don't care if my team wins the Sun Bowl, or Independence Bowl. Who cares? I want to see the top teams play each other to find out who's the best. Thats what brings joy to me. And you could still have bowl games for the rest of the teams if you wanted.

"There’s not as much joy in making the regular season as unimportant."

This is laughable. How is it less important? How many teams do you have woh are gauranteed to stay in the top 8? Maybe Ohio State? But you're still taking basically only 0-1 loss teams. If anything it would make the regular season much more exciting because then teams ranked in the teens would still have hope to play for the national title. Now you have maybe twenty teams with a chance around this time instead of 5. Plus you're adding more big games that are fun to watch. Plus the conference champs could still be guaranteed spots.

"There’s not as much joy in making your conference games unimportant in the grand scheme of things."

What? How are they less important?? This makes no sense at all.

" These things make college football special, different, and yes, more fun."

More fun to YOU. Not to me.

"That gets reduced substantially when you have a playoff system."

No they don't. They only get more exciting and fun to watch IMO.

"The thing is, there really aren’t that many schools that care about the national championship"

Maybe because the current system doesn't give them a chance. If you think they wouldn't care if they actually had a chance then you're out of your mind.

A playoff system will come eventually thank god, and college football will be much more entertaining for it. Hopefully TPTB will be influenced after this season, assuming there is another BCS controversy, and another team(s) gets screwed in the name of tradition.

by Nick (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 7:34pm


Why are you stating your opinion (college football will be much more entertaining for it) as if it were a fact? The question is, would a playoff increase or decrease the entertainment value of college football for all fans and potential fans? For the majority of college football fans (the fans who only follow the school they attend or attended) it won't make a damn bit of difference (and if it does to the lesser bowl games what the NCAA tournament did to the NIT and other postseason tournaments it will probably decrease it for the majority of fans) because they still won't be playing for a national title.

by mmm... sacrilicious (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 7:34pm


Every team should NOT start the season on an equal footing with the same opportunity to win the championship. Belonging to division 1-A is a financial designation.

I went to a D-III school of about 2000 students. Football games were a lot of fun - we even went undefeated my sophomore year. Not once did I feel excluded that we had no shot at beating Ohio State in the national championship game.

Sure, I'm being facetious, but half the teams in 1-A barely have a better claim to the championship than my school had. Play in a weak conference, and you're experiencing a wholly different set of circumstances during the season than a team from one of the big six conferences (unless you take the Pat Hill "suicide" approach to scheduling).

Why should a team that, by winning all their games, accomplishes something totally different than Ohio State deserve a shot at winning the national championship? Because they beat San Jose State?

by Kal (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 7:40pm

Umm, thats your opinion dude. Why are you stating it like its a fact?

Of course it's my opinion. Why would it be anything else?

What? How are they less important?? This makes no sense at all.
Your conference games don't matter as much. They are as important as your non-conference games. Winning your conference wouldn't matter. In fact, if you've got a tough conference it's better to get weaker teams scheduled OOC so you can have a better rating and get into a higher seed in the playoffs.

I'll put it this way: as long as schedules are unbalanced it does not make sense to go to a playoff system. As long as teams can schedule their own OOC games, it doesn't make sense to go to a playoff system. Before you have a playoff system, you need to have a reasonable parity of a regular season.

This is laughable. How is it less important?,

It's less important because
a) rivalry games aren't that big a deal any more; they're just one more game
b) how well you do in the regular season only determines where you go in the playoffs, but as long as you can do well in the playoffs anything goes
c) losses won't matter as much

You're talking an 8-team playoff. You're also saying that you could guarantee the BCS conference champions a berth. Okay, that's 6 right there. Plus 2 at large. Do you honestly think that's going to be somehow more fair for that 9th pick? Let's use the current BCS poll for rankings. Right this second, we'd have:
West Virginia
Boston College
+ two at-larges. If we went via the ranking, that'd be Oklahoma and Missouri.

Do you really think that Kansas, Oklahoma and Missouri all deserve to go to a playoff and play for the title? Do you think they deserve it over Arizona State or Georgia? Heck, how does Hawaii get in there at all? 8 teams is just too small. You'd need at least 16 teams to make it reasonable to include BCS and non-BCS conferences and at least eliminate some of the bias. And then you've got a 4-round playoff, which would reduce anything else you had. And the more teams you introduce, the more likely you make it that teams must schedule crap games to get in, and no one cares about anything other than making the tournament.

I guess it is my opinion that as good of games as these might be, taking away the pleasure of going to a bowl game isn't worth it.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 7:44pm

I think if you ask most coaches they would prefer a bowl system and here is why:
Teams are usually allowed to practice only 20 hours a week. But for bowl practice, the 20-hour rule goes out the window.

The NCAA allows teams to practice as long as they want during times when school is not in session, like the holidays. So you're talking about getting your younger players as much work as you want them to get. It's almost like having a second spring practice for the young guys

by sundown (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 8:05pm

60: Good work researching that, seven year lion. I should have credited it to you, but at the time I was too lazy to go back and look it up. I'd been just taking ND fans at their word about Willingham's recruiting being so bad. I see things are seen in a different light, now.

by Trogdor (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 9:14pm


Let's go to the record first. I think you mean the 1999 season, where OSU finished 6-6 and didn't go to a bowl (although with that record nowadays, they almost certainly would have). In 2000, they went to the Outback Bowl, certainly below current expectations, but at the time I think it was for the #3 Big Ten team (maybe #4?). You'll also note that following that season, Cooper was fired.

So basically, in my entire lifetime (since 1976), OSU has not gone to a bowl game exactly thrice - after the 87, 88, and 99 seasons. If your point is that even the best programs have occasional down seasons, you aren't saying anything everyone didn't already know. In fact, looking at Notre Dame's recent history illustrates this quite well, between the Davie and Willingham years. The only team to never miss a bowl game in my lifetime is - awww, $^%@*!!! Really? It would have to be, wouldn't it? $*#&!

So I'm not laughing at Notre Dame because they're having a bad season. It happens, I get it. I'm laughing because of the incredible vortex of suckitude that has developed in South Bend. I'm laughing because they have an offense that is historically pitiful, and a defense that is terrible (but I bet they look great against that offense in practice!). I'm laughing because they somehow manage to blame all their current problems on Willingham, which is not quite as laughable as if OSU struggles next year and we blame it on Cooper, but it's pretty close. I laugh because they've become a total laughingstock. And the fact that you have to go back to a previous decade to find a year in which OSU was even mediocre - not a completely pathetic joke of a team like the current pile of dung Notre Dame rolls out every Saturday, but a mediocre team that would be favored over Notre Dame by 22.5 on a neutral field - only helps illustrate the difference in quality of the two programs.

Now, onto the violations...

I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong, and I'll be doing this mostly from memory, so there could be some error here. The total number of violations* I can remember in Tressel's coaching career is.... three. Ray Isaac, Troy Smith, and Maurice Clarett. A quick summary of each:

(* - I am treating each incident as one violation. Each one probably violates several (dozen) sections of the NCAA code. However, much like when we talk about a stabbing death as "murder" rather than listing every individual part as a seperate crime (murder, attempted murder, assault with a deadly weapon, etc...), it's much simpler to refer to each incident as its own. So basically, if someone comes back with "they committed 19 offenses involving Ray Isaac", they can cram it with walnuts.)

Troy Smith: given money by a booster. It was reported by another booster, and he was suspended by the team and ordered to make recompense. Wow, what a horrible bastard Tressel must be.

Clarett: a real tricky situation here, and there are questions about whether he should've ever been recruited (note that he was probably going to ND before Davie got fired), getting to the matter of how much risk should colleges take to extend opportunities to those who otherwise wouldn't get them (you know, the whole debate about issuing athletic scholarships to poor kids from bad schools). But that's a matter for a whole different thread. Let's concentrate on the rules violations surrounding him.

He apparently took money from a booster, as well as use of a really nice car. And when this was discovered, OSU covered it up... nope, didn't happen. He was suspended (again, by the team/school, not the NCAA), and the school completely opened up for NCAA investigation. Everyone even remotely associated with the program was made available to interview. The NCAA found Tressel to have done nothing wrong, and in months of thorough investigation they found *absolutely nothing*.

That last part should be utterly shocking. Here you have a program with over a hundred players - young men from diverse backgrounds, many of whom have jock attitude complexes - and thousands upon thousands of boosters and fans, the centerpiece of an athletic department with a budget around $100m, being examined against a rulebook so incredibly insane that a coach was once in violation because he bought a kid a bagel before telling him a close relative (his father?) had died, and not a single violation could be found aside from the ones that had been self-reported in the Clarett case. This is absolutely mind-boggling.

So in other words, no, I don't think Tressel should be crucified because one of a thousand boosters got ahold of one of a few hundred players, and together they broke some rules. So far we have two examples of the same thing - a player and a booster acting outside the rules, the team/school getting wind of it, and the team/school self-policing. If you're looking for something shameful here, well, you've come to the wrong place, buddy. Let's turn our attention to Youngstown, and see what happens.

Ray Isaac: Finally, we go back to the Tressel years at Youngstown State. There was a big stink raised about this one during the Clarett deal, but as usual, no real context was provided in much of the reporting. For those who aren't familiar, this is the gist of it:

In the early 90's, a very prominent busninessman from Youngstown became a booster for YSU. He owned a nation-wide chain of stores, including many around Youngstown. A lot of YSU players worked for him legally. Ray Isaac didn't. The businessman apparently paid him a bunch of money (I'm thinking it was around $30-40k). This came to light years later (possibly right before OSU hired Tressel), when Isaac was in legal trouble. One article about this during the Clarett deal raised the question of why such a shady businessman was hanging around the program, and basically intimating that surely Tressel must have known what was going on.

Some issues here:
1) The school and the NCAA both investigated. Both found that Tressel had done nothing wrong.
2) OSU knew about this during their coaching search. One of the most important things to them was hiring someone to 'clean up' the program, because of how out of control it had gotten under Cooper. With that being a top priority, with full knowledge of what had happened at YSU, and not wanting to do anything that would risk NCAA sanctions or scandal, they hired Tressel anyway. I'm'a gonna go out on a limb and say that what happened at YSU wasn't the least bit significant on Tressel's end.
3) Let's talk about the businessman involved, shall we? The tacit assumption is that Tressel should've known that he was scum and would do stuff like this. Really?
The man in question is Micky Monus. the founder/owner of the Phar-Mor chain of grocery/pharmacy stores. Was there any reason to think he was such a scumbag? At the time, nope, not really. In fact, there was plenty of reason to think otherwise.
What the articles don't mention so much is that Monus was around this time undergoing a very thorough background investigation. Major League Baseball was about to expand for the first time in 20-some years, Monus was to be one of the original owners of the Colorado Rockies (the principal partner, I believe), and MLB was very, very interested in knowing who this guy was before partnering with him on an investment worth $300m or so. After spending years investigating Monus, MLB was perfectly comfortable trusting him with a multiple hundred of million dollar investment.
So to summarize - a major sports league, with a very vested interest in knowing everything about a potential franchise owner, did a thorough background check and found nothing. Yet somehow Tressel is supposed to intuitively know that he's going to break NCAA rules to pay one (strangely enough, *only* one - wtf?) player. Mmm, sorry, just not buying that one.

So here we have three violations. All three involve boosters paying players. Two of them were self-reported, self-policed, and resulted in a completely open investigation in which no wrongdoing on Tressel's (or the program's) part could be found. The third involved a booster who had undergone intense scrutiny surrounding a nine-figure investment and come up clean. Yeah, I'm gonna have to say I have no reservations here.

But then again, what does any of that have to do with how incredibly much Notre Dame sucks this year? And what does Purdue have to do with... well, anything?

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 10:38pm

This is, ultimately, why I can’t take college football seriously. (Even in the context of sports.) It doesn’t have a clean slate on opening day. The fact that KU has been a punching bag for years means that they have to pay their dues. Worst to first just isn’t possible.

None of this is true, as evidenced by South Floirda having a #2 ranking a few weeks ago. If USF had run the table they would be in the national title game.

It's not about KU's history, it's about their 2007 schedule.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 10:59pm

There are 119 teams in I-A. At least half of them start the season with zero chance to win the championship, even if they go undefeated.

This is not true. If any of the 66 BCS conference teams (including Notre Dame) won out with a decent non-conf schedule, they'd be in.

The 22 teams in the MWC and CUSA would get in if the team was undefeated and had a strong non-conf schedule. Army, Navy, and Western KY are independents and would get in with a strong enough scheule. That's 90 teams.

The 30 teams in the MAC, WAC, and Sun Belt would have a tough time, but I wouldn't go as far as saying "zero chance". Any of these teams would need a really strong non-conference schedule, a strong year from the conference itself, and less than two BCS teams going undefeated.

Having said that, the real reason these teams "don't have a chance" is that they're just at the same level as the Ohio States and Texases of the world. Really. Just look at the games where the good teams from the big conferences play teams from the small ones. You'll see an upset here and a close call there, but most of the games are a one-sided beating.

by Kevin 11 (not verified) :: Tue, 11/06/2007 - 11:12pm

What you say makes college football “special� is part of what makes it uninteresting to me. In every other major TV sport, I feel fairly sure that the best team will be the champion. (Or at least, the team playing the best during the championship tournament.)

The team playing the best during college football's one game tournament is crowned the champion.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 2:16am

and for the most part. None of the schools in the non-BCS conference really care about championships....how many of them have recently moved up from 1-AA and its playoff format to be in 1-A and its 1 in a trillion shot to play in the BCS championship game. How many non-competitive schools right now would rather drop down to 1-AA and have a shot at playing in the playoffs and for a championship instead of getting beat up by schools with the upper hand in everything.

by lionsbob (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 2:51am

The only way I would want a playoff-is if it allowed 8 teams is to make 2 more conferences of the non-BCS schools (split into West and East) of 12 teams a piece. The major BCS conferences without 12 teams already add teams to make it 12 and have a conference championship. And have a 8 team playoff from there (with the BCS bowls as the sponsors) Still have bowl games for team that are eligible.

Move everyone else down to 1-AA. Face it teams like Utah State or Arkansas State are not going to be competitive enough nor financially stable enough to make it year in and year out. Every 5 years if you want to you can have a referendum on who stays and goes based on competitiveness, financial stability, attendance, etc. and see if there is any team who can move up from 1-AA in the 2 independent conferences.

So lets say SEC, ACC, and Big 12 stays the same. Big East adds Central Florida, Central Michigan, Miami (Ohio), and East Carolina. Big Ten adds Notre Dame (i know it makes sense for them to go to the Big East somewhat, but most of their rivals are in the Big Ten). Pac-10 adds Boise State and BYU.

East independent conference:
Troy, Southern Miss, Navy, Houston, Bowling Green, Toledo, Northern Illinois, Louisiana Tech, Florida Atlantic, Memphis, Army, and Kent State
I know Army and Navy, but right now I have a hard time moving Army down to 1-AA.
West independent conference
Air Force, Utah, Hawaii, Tulsa, Nevada, Fresno State, TCU, New Mexico, UTEP, Houston, Colorado State, and San Diego State

by Russell Levine :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 4:13am

Good to see there's been some pretty spirited debate, and as usual, it has been argued intelligently.

Trogdor - defensive, are we? I kid! I kid! Mo-Clo! Mo-Clo! (I'm a little short on recent material. Check with me in two more weeks).

In any case - one point. I would never, ever argue that collectively a playoff woulud be less exciting than the current bowl system. My argumnets against a playoff are strictly for what it might do to the regular season.

As for saying the Boise's of the world are better off in this system, I stand by that. Boise had no chance to win the national championship last year. That much is obvious. They went undefeated, beat Oklahoma in a bowl, and had no chance to do anything other than finish with a high ranking.

I STILL say they're better off in this system, a system which allows them that moment in the spotlight (the Fiesta Bowl) for an outstanding year against a schedule that's not even in the same universe as what a BCS team plays. How many games would Boise have lost in the SEC last year? Or even the Big 10?

The point is, Boise won all their games and was rewarded with a big money bowl appearance and the nation's attention, both of which will benefit that program for years to come. And every non-BCS conference team that does the same will have the same opportunity.

Now, would Boise be better off having had last year's exact same results, only followed by a second-round playoff loss? I don't think so. They got to go out a winner, having really only had to compare themselves against top competition one time.

Obviously, the playoff debate is one of personal preference. I just find it interesting that people think that because this one sport places less value on declaring an undisputed champion, that there must be something wrong with it. Maybe it's OK to just be different.

by DolFan 316 (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 6:10am

There's being different, and then there's being pretty much the only division of a sport on the planet with no playoff system.

For all you regular season afficianados, how much meaning does the regular season have to a team once it's lost two games?

BTW I'm catching the replay of the Battle Of The Directional Michigans: Central VS Western. Already there's been a player ejection for an inadvertent kick while trying to pry his leg free from a tackler after the play, and I can;t wait to see the 4th quarter. Why? Combined points scored the first three quarters: 17. Combined points in the 4th: 48. Yup, both teams scored 24 each. They should just skip straight to that.

by peachy (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 8:24am

Playoffs aren't as common as all that - many of the upper-level Euro soccer leagues, for example, simply play a double round-robin regular season; cup competitions are generally in single-elimination knockout formats, it's true, but they're distinct from the leagues.

The problem I've always had with the DI-A system is that there's too many teams and not enough games between them. Except in the rare case when there are two, and only two, teams that are clearly superior to the field (ie, the USC v UT matchup), it's impossible to parse out the two best teams at the end of the regular season with such a miserably limited sample.

A playoff with a limited field would reduce that problem to some degree without cutting into the importance of the regular season too far. Even a four-team field would be an improvement, but I think an eight-team tournament would be ideal - big enough to include all reasonable contenders (except perhaps in a bizarro year like this), but small enough that power teams couldn't slum it in the regular season. (The simplest arrangement would be the six 'big' conference champions, the highest-rated team from the other conferences, and the highest-rated remaining team. Use those selection criteria, the eight teams in last year's field would have had a cumulative pre-playoff record of 90-9.)

by Russell Levine :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 10:41am

Re: 91

I don't know. I didn't lose interest in Michigan after the first two weeks this year, because they still had a (admittedly far-fetched, at the time) chance to win the conference and go to the Rose Bowl.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 11:46am

Re 84:
I just find all the schadenfreude a bit sickening. I know people don't like the ND hype and it's always been unwarranted, but a guy who gets to two BCS bowls had to have done something right. There's no way that a team that good could have been such a paper tiger for two years - even Hawaii has losses when they schedule the creampuffs - that this year they're completely exposed and that this year is the true value of Weis's coaching.

As to the violations, I think it says something more that when the books were completely open nothing was found. Absolutely nothing. You yourself said that the rules are arcane and schools get slapped for the silliest stuff and yet somehow OSU - a giant program as you detailed - doesn't have a single small thing that would warrant one less phone call. Tressel must run the tightest ship on earth.

You might want to check out the investigative article by Tom Farray on ESPN that shows the "investigation" by Youngstown was a joke before you cite that as a reason Tressel is pure as snow:
Youngstown State's internal investigation was a sham. So little diligence went into pursuit of truth that Malmisur never confronted Monus with the allegations, nor apparently did Tressel contact Isaac, as Cochran said he had instructed them to do. Tressel, in a December 2003 interview, declined comment to ESPN.com on most aspects of the case but said he can't remember if he discussed the Monus allegations with his former player. Isaac is more definitive: "I didn't talk to nobody."

The point I was making though was really that I'm a Purdue Alumn and I have to be inordinately proud of any achievement of the football team.

Neener, neener, neener.

by Brooklyn Bengal (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 1:54pm

RE: 94 Wow, mactbone. You impressively brought up a single counter-argument to Trogdor's ESSAY defending Tressel's character. But...what about the other points Trogdor made? What about the NCAA inquest? Please tell me what Mr. Farray has to say about that? Was that also a sham? How about the MLB inquest? Was that also a sham?

You're very eager to trust the assertions of ONE journalist (who you are assuming is impartial) and the word of one of the guilty parties (who you are assuming has neither reason nor inclination to lie). It's the individual player's responsibility to conduct himself in an appropriate manner. The coach is responsible -- in part -- for establishing what is and is not appropriate. In Jim Tressel, you have a man in his first year coaching the OSU Buckeyes who is willing to sit his starting QB for the Michigan game due to an off-field incident. You have a man who is respected by his peers and the community. And rather than look at the entire body of evidience collected and evaluated by numerous third parties who decided overwhelmingly in Tressel's character, you're going to blame him over a few talented but boneheaded college kids who took money from boosters and would-be employers?

Furthermore, you're going to look at tOSU's spotless record and conclude that because it's spotless that they MUST be covering things up? So are you saying that if Tressel had been investigated for more violations, he'd be a cleaner coach in your eyes?

Not sure what they teach you there at Purdue, buddy, but it seems that critical thinking is not part of the curriculum.

by mactbone (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 3:00pm

Re 95:
Yeah and I'm sure the education at OSU is spot on. I mean, you've talked to everyone involved, gotten written statements, etc?

He can write as much as he wants as you guys have a lot more invested in it than I do. I know Tressel looks the other way and I know every major program cheats.

by Kal (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 6:18pm

For all you regular season afficianados, how much meaning does the regular season have to a team once it’s lost two games?

#91: Since that's the regular state of affairs for the Ducks, it has a ton of meaning. The only teams that it doesn't have a ton of meaning to are teams that regularly expect to compete for the national championship.

Ask the Florida, Auburn, Tennessee, South Carolina,Georgia, Alabama or Kentucky fans whether their season is meaningless now. Ask Michigan fans. Ask Texas fans. I think that for most college football fans the national championship race is really a footnote. It can make a year really special, but it doesn't take away if you don't get it. And most teams don't even get close enough to think about it.

If the Ducks lost any of their last three games it would be disappointing, but only because they would have been _this_ close to getting to the Rose for the second time in 40 years and being the Pac-10 champs for the third time in 40 years.

by sundown (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 9:47pm

I think Kal above is right. The season has meaning for most teams regardless what their record is. They still want to beat their rivals, still want to avoid getting the kind of pub Notre Dame has this year!

That's why I find some of the arguments against a playoff system to be so odd. People talk about how the bowls would lose meaning, etc. They'd have as much meaning as now--which is very little in the Big Picture. Teams would still want to play in them, would still use them to show off for recruits, and people would still watch because they love a good football game. And for a few of the bigger bowls, their relevance would spike because they'd have teams vying for the national title. You could shuffle it around so all the major bowls got a chance to be the championship game every few years. It'd be basically like the current system, only a few teams would play more than one game during bowl season. If the world didn't end with the introduction of the BCS title game, it wouldn't end because of this.

Some people just like to over-think things. I mean, look at the needlessly complex thing lionsbob outlined above. New conferences, people being demoted to 1-AA? You wouldn't need any of that. Just take the top few teams and let them go at it.

by Pat (not verified) :: Wed, 11/07/2007 - 11:42pm

I think that for most college football fans the national championship race is really a footnote.

Here, let me repeat that for emphasis.

I think that for most college football fans the national championship race is really a footnote.

Let me also add the following addendum:

I think that for most college football teams the national championship race is really a footnote.

Whenever people end up talking about college football as a 'sport', they completely forget that the 119 teams in D-IA aren't equal. At all. Nor can they be - Louisiana Tech simply is a totally different kind of university than Ohio State, USC, Penn State, etc. More importantly, what that quote suggests is nor do they want to be.

The BCS conference teams are roughly equal, more or less. That's why I don't understand people crowing for a championship based on the fact that "half the teams don't have a real shot anyway." Those teams, as a whole, don't care.

by Brooklyn Bengal (not verified) :: Thu, 11/08/2007 - 1:13pm

RE: #96

I actually don't really disagree with you that much. Tressel is a smart guy, and I'd bet he pushes the rules sometimes, as all the major programs almost certainly do.

I do, however, think you're just a lot more cynical than I am. And heck, I spent a year at University of Cincinnati, a school reknown for its filthy recruiting practices and complete lack of academic work for any member of its basketball team.

Anyway, whatever. GO BIG TEN!