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Boise State MIGHT Not Obviously Would Have Made An NCAA Playoff

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EDIT AGAIN: Dan Wetzel, the patron saint of the playoff, doesn’t have Boise State in HIS bracket, either. So please complain to him.

Those clamoring for a Division I playoff in college football (and I’m pro-playoff, let’s get this out of the way up top, but I’m not calling for Congressional intervention) might not have seen one of their darlings in the field this year, depending on how the participants might have been determined would have been delighted to have Boise State take the WAC’s automatic bid on the basis of being the highest-ranked of the three teams that all finished 7-1 in conference play. Thanks to alert reader TA who pointed out that there was actually a three-way tie, not a two-way tie atop the WAC. But, I’ll say this: Nevada is 12-1, and some people make such a big deal about one win sometimes (like when Utah was 13-0 in 2008 and Florida was 13-1 but Utah tried to tell us their 13-0 was more impressive than Florida’s 13-1), you’d wonder why they wouldn’t do the same with Nevada.

Some playoff scenarios insist you have to give all 11 conference champions an automatic bid (and you might have to, just to get the votes to get a playoff implemented). If that’s true, Boise State may be on the outside looking in, as they wouldn’t have been their conference’s automatic qualifier and may not have received one of the five available at-large bids.

Let’s look at the automatic bids under a system where the 11 conference champions (however each conference determines them) are in the field. And we’ll use the current tiebreaker of BCS ranking, which appears to be what determined the Big Ten and Big East entrants this year.

ACC Champion: Virginia Tech (11-2)
Big 12 Champion: Oklahoma (11-2)
Big East Champion: Connecticut (8-4)
Big Ten Champion: Wisconsin (11-1)
Conference USA Champion: Central Florida (10-3)
Mid-American Champion: Miami (OH) (9-4)
Mountain West Champion: TCU (12-0)
Pac-10 Champion: Oregon (12-0)
SEC Champion: Auburn (13-0)
Sun Belt Champion: Florida International (6-6)
WAC Champion: Nevada (12-1) Boise State (11-1)

EDIT: Obviously, the rest of this is based on a faulty premise, so no need to read any farther. Suffice it to say, I suck and I am chastened. Feel free to send a strongly-worded email to your own address.
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Written by admin

December 6th, 2010 at 8:54 am

Okay, So Let Me Get This Straight….

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After a long, arduous climb, one fraught with twists, turns and drama, that plucky little Boise State team has persevered and kept its hopes alive for a spot in the BCS Championship Game. Its win over Virginia Tech yesterday, coming so late in a tough season as it did, virtually assures…

Wait, what?

This was their first game?

What the f***, USA Today?

It’s week one. Uno. The first. There are months to go.

Now, I know Boise State has a fairly easy road the rest of the way (naturally), but, please, can we stop doing this every year? Every year a handful of teams start out 4-0 or 5-0 and people start kvetching about what will happen if there are more than two undefeated teams and this means we need a playoff and how are they ever going to resolve this and blah blah blah blah. By week twelve it usually sorts itself out.

Now, I’m used to Halloween displays going up in August and Christmas music being played on the radio before Thanksgiving, but I believe this is the first time I’ve seen someone anointed as a BCS championship contender based on their first frigging game. “Keeps (their) BCS hopes alive?” Whuck?

Now, kudos to Boise State, nice win and all that. I’m usually a fan of the underdog, and if they happen to run the table and knock off some people and get into the big game (which is here in the Valley, by the way) and win that, fine. They may or may not do that. But lets please not go putting them there when the season is five days old, people.

The other thing I have a serious problem is this cottage industry that has sprung up (PTI’s Michael Wilbon may be the founder of this movement) that if the Broncos were in the SEC or Big Ten or Big Twelve, they’d go undefeated. (Wilbon’s actual quote, “Boise State will beat anybody in the SEC.”)

Really? You think so?

Here’s the facts, boys and girls: in the last 20 years (since 1990), exactly seven teams (five schools) have gone undefeated in Big Ten conference play and only four have run the table on their entire regular season1. Only seven SEC teams (four schools) have gone undefeated in conference play2 and five of them have been unblemished through the regular season and conference title game. In the Big 12 (and Big 8 before that), it’s happened a bit more often: 11 teams (four schools) have gone undefeated in conference play3 (Colorado and Nebraska were 6-0-1 in 1991) and eight have been undefeated through the regular season and conference title game.

So 25 times in 20 years in three conferences, a total of 13 schools have gone undefeated in conference play. And you want to tell me that Boise State could do it? You cannot tell me that Boise State is getting the sheer number of outstanding players that an Alabama, Florida or Texas gets. Their first 22 may be very, very good. But there’s no way they go undefeated through these conference schedules with their current team when so few have been able to do it with theirs.

Now, you could say that IF Boise State was in the SEC, they’d be able to get better players and better athletes and that’s fair. But eight other SEC schools get athletes, too, and they don’t go undefeated in conference play. Not in the last 20 years.

It’s just too hard to do.

For the record (and for those of you who aren’t regular readers), I’m in favor of a playoff. I have yet to see the perfect format, and I know you’re not going to get one that makes everybody happy. But more than I’m for a playoff, I’m against people who say stupid things. And, for some reason, college football seems to make more people say more stupid things than just about anything in our sports culture.

But someone like USA Today shouldn’t be leading the charge on that.

(For the record, since 1996, Boise State is 66-22 against WAC teams. Their win over Virginia Tech was their first over an ACC team – they’re now 1-1 against that conference. Overall since ’96, they’re 17-7 against BCS conference teams. That’s very good. That ain’t undefeated.)

1 – Michigan in ’91 and ’97, Penn State in ’94, Northwestern in ’95, Iowa in ’02 and Ohio State in ’02 and ’06 all went undefeated in Big Ten play.
2 – Florida in ’91, ’95 and ’96, Alabama in ’92 and ’09, Tennessee in ’98, Auburn in ’04.
3 – Colorado in ’90 and ’91, Nebraska in ’91, ’93, ’94, ’95 and ’97, Oklahoma in ’00 and ’04 and Texas in ’05 and ’09.

Written by admin

September 7th, 2010 at 12:58 pm

You Say You Got a Real Solution? We’d All Love to See The Plan

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Dan Wetzel‘s plan for a major college football playoff is pretty close to the one I’ve espoused – but I don’t believe I’ve ever written about – for a while now. You can read his, I’ll give you the short version of how I think it should go down: Read the rest of this entry »

Written by admin

December 3rd, 2009 at 4:26 pm

Rep. Joe Barton: Idiot

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Texas Congressman Joe Barton likened the Bowl Championship Series to communism in hearings today in Washington.

In a related story, Texas Congressman Joe Barton is an idiot.

I’m sorry Texas didn’t get to play in the Championship Game. Really, I am. But blame your Big 12 tiebreakers, okay?

Barton, the top Republican on the committee, said at the hearing that efforts to tinker with the BCS were bound to fail.

“It’s like communism,” he said. “You can’t fix it.”

He quipped that the BCS should drop the “C” from its name because it doesn’t represent a true championship.

“Call it the ‘BS’ system,” he said to laughter.

Congratulations, Congressman. Everybody else made that joke in 2000.

A request to the United States Congress: fix the f***ing country first, then we’ll worry about the goddamn BCS. Health care, the economy, national defense, all that stuff. Get that sorted, then you can waste our time and the taxpayers’ money holding hearings about the goddamn BCS.

You want a playoff? I want a playoff, too. Great. But keep Congress out of it.

Of course Utah is getting hosed. Utah is supposed to get hosed because Utah plays in the Mountain West Conference. Join the Pac-10, then we’ll talk.

The BCS favors power schools from power conferences. Duh. That’s not communism. That’s capitalism. You remember capitalism, right? Only you can’t scare people and get them up in arms by saying you’re against capitalism. You have to give them a red menace to take up pitchforks against.

I guess the people in Texas were okay with Richard Nixon declaring the Longhorns the national champions in 1969 by fiat. But now? Nah, gotta have a playoff. Gotta call in Congress to get it done.

Written by admin

May 1st, 2009 at 7:27 pm

Let Us In! Let Us In!

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The Mountain West Conference just will not shut up. Now they’ve proposed an eight-team playoff to replace the BCS, a system which – surprise! – gives the MWC champion an automatic bid to the playoff.

You can read the whole thing here, but it involves using the premier bowls as first round games and then has semifinals and a final on top of that, and, of course, the TV contracts and the existing BCS agreement are just annoyances so they presume you can work around those easily so that Utah can get into the conversation and oh screw it it’s making my ears bleed.

Written by admin

March 4th, 2009 at 12:30 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

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Here’s How I Know The Cardinals Have A Chance On Sunday…

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Because Gene Wojciechowski says they have (virtually) no chance.

And Gene Wojciechowski is an idiot.

Other thoughts on Monday morning:

  • Glad to see Jack’s back. I spent much of last night’s two-hour premiere saying “Where do I know that guy from? Oh, he was in…..” There was the guy who was Billy the asshat director in Entourage and Dr. Neelix Phlox from Star Trek: Voyager Enterprise and my personal “Ah-hah!” moment, the guy who played the Christian ballplayer in Bull Durham. Among people I hadn’t seen before, I like this character and actress quite a bit.
  • Why people are losing their minds about Donovan McNabb‘s phone-a-friend routine yesterday is beyond me. Players aren’t robots. This wasn’t akin to planning something where you stick a Sharpie in your sock and pull it out after you score (as brilliant as that was). It was a spontaneous thing, a guy having fun. I’m sure Jason Whitlock will find a way to make it about race.
  • I won’t be riding Phoenix’s light rail system again if I can help it. Whoever heard of a rail system that’s dependent on traffic and traffic lights? It’s simply not a better (or even equal) alternative to driving or taking the bus, and something has to actually be at least one of those two things to be a real, viable alternative. Else people won’t do it.
  • Whoever was producing/directing Saturday night’s Titans/Ravens game was obsessed with showing injured Titans’ running back Chris Brown. Which was a story, yes. Once. But they cut to him (and other people who – hello – weren’t in the game, which was a pretty good game) at least 20 times in the second half. Idiocy.
  • On the flip side, whoever did Chargers/Steelers yesterday kept the shots of an injured LaDainian Tomlinson to a minimum. Kudos.
  • We could have a Super Bowl with two six-seeds in it. Would that make people STFU about the BCS? I’m thinking not.
  • The Broncos have a new head coach, and it’s a 32-year-old assistant from the Patriots. But, no, Paul Stewart, there aren’t any other coaches out there, so you’re just smarter than us when you say the Bucs can’t dump Jon Gruden.
  • Hey, Mets – nice commemorative patch for the opening of Citi Field. At least people won’t confuse it with the Yankees’ new stadium patch. Because, you know, you can actually tell what the hell the Yankees’ patch is about.
  • Photo shoot this morning, and then I have to put Plan B in motion for a project at work. Because our state’s Governor-in-Waiting is apparently into keeping people waiting.

Oh, and one more thing (courtesy of The Sporting News): Thom Brennaman’s home video of Tim Tebow‘s announcement yesterday that he’s returning to Florida for his senior year:

Third Time’s Pretty Charming, Too

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If only we were any good in baseball. :)

Look, Oklahoma had a great team. Utah has an outstanding team. Texas and Southern Cal are great teams. But the system has given us this: #1 vs. #2, and last night #2 used surprising (to me, anyway) defense and the grit of Tim Tebow to beat #1, 24-14.

This morning the voters concurred, with AP giving Florida the nod over Utah by 87 points in the final media poll, while it was nearly unanimous in the poll of coaches, with the Gators getting 60 of 61 first-place votes (even Texas’ Mack Brown, who said he’d vote for his own team, apparently didn’t).

Utah got 16 first-place votes in the AP poll, which isn’t unprecedented (hell, the media went against the BCS title game result for USC in 2003), but, as I said earlier this week (and I’ll update and augment here):

  • Utah plays in the Mountain West Conference, which is 10 years old. Florida plays in the Southeastern Conference, which has five BCS national championships in the last 11 years.
  • Utah won eight MWC games by a total of 173 points. Florida won eight SEC games (including the title game) by 271 points.
  • Utah averaged 36.9 points and 400.5 yards per game. Both impressive. Florida averaged 43.6 points and 445.1 yards per game.
  • Yes, Florida lost to Ole Miss (by one). The same Rebels who beat Texas Tech. Who beat Texas. Who beat Oklahoma. You see where this is going, right?
  • Utah beat four teams ranked in the final AP poll: #6 Alabama, #7 TCU, #18 Oregon State and #25 BYU. For some reason, people put a lot of weight on Utah beating Alabama in New Orleans, but not a lot of weight on Florida beating Alabama in Atlanta. Florida also beat four ranked teams: #5 Oklahoma, #6 Alabama, #13 Georgia and #21 Florida State (while losing to #14 Ole Miss).
  • Florida’s body of work is more impressive, even despite the one loss.

If you wanted to vote for Utah as a contrarian vote, to stick it to the BCS or whatever, then, fine (as long as you didn’t vote for them for the reasons John Feinstein told you to, because, quite frankly, he was completely full of it.)

I remain in favor of a playoff – always have been. And had Florida not been picked for the BCS title game, I’d have said, “Fair enough – don’t lose at home to Ole Miss.” Had it been Oklahoma/Texas, Oklahoma/USC, Texas/USC, Florida/USC, Florida/Texas, whatever. Fine. Those are all outstanding teams.

But Florida’s the champion (as unofficial as these things are – hey, you bought Richmond Spiders championship merchandise, right? They won a playoff, they must be good.). You can rant and rail and complain all you want.

Just, please, Mr. President-Elect: sort out the economy before you tackle this issue, okay? People have real problems. A tempest in a teapot about Utah not getting their just desserts can wait.

Written by admin

January 9th, 2009 at 10:18 am

Posted in Miscellaneous,Rant

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OK, Then

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I honestly didn’t expect that

Boy, the “fourth-best quarterback in the Big 12” sure stuck it up your ass on that last drive, there, didn’t he, Dominique Franks?

In a related story, Tim Tebow may have had his first sexual experience tonight, with Thom Brennaman. I went to Florida and Brennaman’s man-love for Tebow was embarrassing to me. As a broadcaster, even moreso.

Written by admin

January 8th, 2009 at 10:18 pm

Posted in Miscellaneous

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Ah, The Unbridled Enthusiasm Of Utes

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I realize that Utah is the favorite of the BCS-bashers now (with SI’s Rick Reilly – who used to be really, really good at this – chiming in now that we should just crown their asses), but here’s my point, after looking at things a little more deeply:

Oklahoma has a much, much, stronger case to be the national champion than Utah does. And IF Florida beats Oklahoma tomorrow night, that, to me, is akin to knocking out the champ. That’s how you get the belt.

Consider this: Yes, Utah has beaten four teams that finished ranked in the AP Top 25*: Oregon State (#24), TCU (#11), BYU (#17) and Alabama (#4). Florida has only beaten two: Georgia (#16) and Alabama (#4). The Gators also lost to #20 Mississippi, by a point. IF Florida beats Oklahoma, they’ll have three victories over ranked teams, including the #2 team (the Sooners were #2 in AP, but #1 in the BCS), and will be basically a blocked extra point away from being 14-0 with a much, much better body of work than the Utes.

But Oklahoma has beaten five ranked teams and would make it a sixth by beating Florida. (The Sooners beat #12 Cincinnati, #11 TCU, #8 Texas Tech, #13 Oklahoma State and #25 Missouri, while losing to #3 Texas.) What’s more, they crushed almost everybody. OU rang up more points than any team in modern college football history. They’ve scored more than a point a minute for the last five games and in the game before that they scored 58.

Reilly’s just pandering and practicing columnism. He’s being contrary just to be contrary.

No, Rick, you can’t crown Utah’s ass already. They’re not who you think they are. A very good team, yes.

“Find me anybody else that went undefeated,” you say. I should surely hope they’d go undefeated with that schedule. Not all undefeated teams are created equally. Oklahoma is a far, far better candidate despite their 10-point loss (to Texas, which is also one of the darling “We Should Be There” teams people are latching onto) on the basis of their body of work, which is far more impressive than Utah’s, despite the Utes’ unblemished record. (Weber State? Seriously? And you beat New Mexico by three? Wow, I didn’t know Bud Wilkinson was coaching the Utes now.)

If Oklahoma beats Florida, they’ll have earned the title, no question. That would be one hellaciously impressive season. If Florida beats Oklahoma, what a run that is to end the season for the Gators.

Sorry, Rick. The national championship game is tomorrow night, even though it’s trendy to extoll the virtues of the Utes.

*Showing my age here: Remember when the rankings only went to 20? Seriously, who are we kidding here? Are 21-25 worth more now than 30 years ago?

Written by admin

January 7th, 2009 at 3:24 pm

Whine And Song

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It’s funny that so many say they want college football’s national championship decided on the field, yet they threaten to go through the courts to accomplish it.

Florida and Oklahoma play tomorrow night in Miami for what either will or won’t be the brass ring, depending on the state in which you live, and yet another elected official is whining and puffing out his chest while warning of legal action.

This year it’s Utah’s Attorney General Mark Shurtleff with the saber-rattling. Oddly enough, fans of a school in his state feel their team was wronged by the BCS!

Sound familiar? Hawaii Congressman Neil Abercrombie put the “wah!” in wahine last year (and his home-state Rainbows, who were 12-0 yet were – wah! – left out of the championship game, got smacked 41-10 by Georgia in the Sugar Bowl, so I’m not sure Abercrombie’s proposed legislation ever got anywhere). Tulane’s president, Scott Cowan, was bent out of shape after the Green Wave (who didn’t play anybody in going 12-0 in 1998) didn’t get more BCS love.

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Written by admin

January 7th, 2009 at 9:06 am

Posted in Miscellaneous,Rant

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