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Old 12-17-2009, 06:23 AM    (permalink
stlouisfan37
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Default The BCS' Biggest Fear

Every Saturday in the fall college football fans don their gear and prepare to watch their teams win. Some go to the game, some to their local watering hole, while others simply watch the game in the comfort of their own living room. Win or lose, they take pride in being loyal fans to their team. They grab their pizza, their beer, and their favorite chair, and savor the moment when the games begin. It is a great pleasure until we get into November each year, when the noise of the annual BCS botching of choosing a national champion inevitably taints the whole season. Famed programs from big schools with huge fanbases and even bigger stadiums enjoy some type of mystical red-carpet fantasy, while, yet again, everyone else is reminded of who they are not, that their efforts are in vain, and that, quite frankly, there is nothing they can do about it. And while the smug fans of these well-known powerhouse teams are free to gloat once again, the rest of the world looks on in bewilderment as to just why we give so much attention to what truly has become the sports world's biggest crock of you-know-what.

College football has been in existence for some 140 years. The game it started as barely resembles what it has become today. In that amount of time we have been able to add so much to it; the forward pass, protective gear, strength, speed, athleticism, coaching, recruiting, the list is really endless when you think about it. But the one thing that has been necessary to the game all along has continuously been ignored: a playoff system that insures that the best team actually gets the trophy at the end of the year.

I have heard many reasons for this. There are too many teams. Too many games would have to be played. Scheduling conflicts. I think that the obvious reason has been completely overlooked: Fear. The BCS is scared to death that a small school team might actually win the big one against one of their spoiled darlings and they would then have to admit that they have been screwing us all for the last century and a half.

This thought came to me the other day when I started browsing through this year's bowl schedule. I was really excited to see who the BCS had pitted this year's BCS-busting teams - Boise St. and Texas Christian - against in their respective games. And I was really angry when I saw that they pitted the two against each other in the Tostito's Fiesta Bowl. What could possibly be more of an insult to these two programs, programs that have been built without the clout and money that comes from being a known powerhouse and without the advantage of every 5-star prospect begging to go there, to work their way up the lopsided ladder only to end up playing another small school? It's a "humiliating kick in the crotch", as Sting would call it. It made me want to march down to their cozy conference room and scream at the top of my lungs...

"WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU PEOPLE AFRAID OF?!?"

I'll tell you what they are afraid of. They are afraid of the reality that is here and they will have to admit to sooner or later. They are desperately trying to delay it as long as possible, but no matter how deep they bury their heads in the sand, it will come out eventually. There is good football outside of the BCS conferences, and there are a whole lot of people that like to watch it.

I remember being a teenager and watching big teams beat little teams 63-7 in their non-conference games on sunny days in September. The big teams had 100 guys on the sidelines and had the little guys outmatched in every facet of the game. Back in those days an upset was rare, and the system actually worked. There was no reason to pay attention to the little guys; anyone who watched a lick of football in their life could tell you they didn't belong on the field together. Even as an 8th grader growing up in Seattle I was absolutely 100% confident that if my Washington Huskies had been given a chance they would have kicked BYU's butt up and down the field. Everyone knew it. Calling them the best team in the country was an absolute joke.

Those days are over. The end of those days actually began in the early '90's when the NCAA instituted the maximum scholarship rule limiting teams to 78 scholarship players. They decided that the guys riding the pine at Nebraska and Georgia were better than the guys who were starting at Tulsa and Toledo. I remember at the time thinking that some day the leveling of the playing field would actually be noticed and some of these smaller programs would get to the point where they might win games against the big boys.

That day has come. There is no doubt in my mind that this year's TCU team could play with anyone in the nation, including Alabama or Texas. Small schools have been winning games against big schools for years now; not with regularity, but it is getting more and more common. Boise St. beat Oregon on opening day and it wasn't even a close match. Every year more and more players are being drafted from the small schools; last year 27% of the players drafted in the NFL were from small schools, and the number keeps rising. The best running back in the NFL went to East Carolina. The best tight end in the NFL went to Kent State and played BASKETBALL. 25 players on last year's pro bowl roster went to small schools. So you can't tell me that the only talented football players go to a group of schools in half a dozen conferences and that no one else is worth watching on New Year's Day.

The day is coming, that marvelous day when the Alabamas and Texases of the world all have a couple of losses and a Texas Christian or Boise St. cannot be denied their chance in the big game for the big trophy. Of course, they will probably end up playing each other.
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Old 12-17-2009, 11:47 AM    (permalink
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But then those coaches of the successful small schools have megamillions thrown at them by the big highly profiled schools & they jump to the bigtime.

Then their former schools they raised to national prominence hate them forever -- see Kelly, new ND coach, how is he thought of at Cincinnati U. nowadays?

College ball is a HC's league, dominated by iconic HCs who recruit the top-ranked national classes & build empires at those Texases, Penn States, Alabamas, USCs, etc. Players come & go poretty fast in college, the coaches remain. Not so much in the NFL.
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Old 12-17-2009, 01:24 PM    (permalink
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gah way too long, summerize ?
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Old 12-17-2009, 02:21 PM    (permalink
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I think the biggest reason, and the only think that gives me trepidation is that it will devalue the regular season a bit. Generally a loss is crippling for a team, especially two. Every game really could be it. With a playoff, it may devalue that slightly. If Alabama and Florida would both have gotten in, no matter who won, did it matter all that much? Winning the SEC is great and all, but honestly, if Florida had lost that game and then won the playoff, no one would have cared.

I'm still for a playoff, just saying.
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Old 12-17-2009, 06:05 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane P. Hallam View Post
I think the biggest reason, and the only think that gives me trepidation is that it will devalue the regular season a bit. Generally a loss is crippling for a team, especially two. Every game really could be it. With a playoff, it may devalue that slightly. If Alabama and Florida would both have gotten in, no matter who won, did it matter all that much? Winning the SEC is great and all, but honestly, if Florida had lost that game and then won the playoff, no one would have cared.

I'm still for a playoff, just saying.
The regular season would still be very important for playoff seedings. Florida losing that game would likely have made them a "wild card" or "at large" or whatever, while Alabama would likely have the top seed in the playoff standings and a much easier road to the Superbowl.

It's very similar to when the Giants won the Superbowl a few years back. The Cowboys beat them in both regular season meetings then lost in the playoffs. But that didn't take anything away from the importance of those games or the ratings they had (which is ultimately the most important thing). People will still go to and watch college football regular season football games with as much interest as before.
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Old 12-17-2009, 09:43 PM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane P. Hallam View Post
I think the biggest reason, and the only think that gives me trepidation is that it will devalue the regular season a bit. Generally a loss is crippling for a team, especially two. Every game really could be it. With a playoff, it may devalue that slightly. If Alabama and Florida would both have gotten in, no matter who won, did it matter all that much? Winning the SEC is great and all, but honestly, if Florida had lost that game and then won the playoff, no one would have cared.

I'm still for a playoff, just saying.
I use to agree with this, but with top teams avoiding tough regular season games the season has already been devalued. It's all about being a big name program and where you start.
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Old 12-18-2009, 10:34 AM    (permalink
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Shane P. Hallam View Post
I think the biggest reason, and the only think that gives me trepidation is that it will devalue the regular season a bit. Generally a loss is crippling for a team, especially two. Every game really could be it. With a playoff, it may devalue that slightly. If Alabama and Florida would both have gotten in, no matter who won, did it matter all that much? Winning the SEC is great and all, but honestly, if Florida had lost that game and then won the playoff, no one would have cared.

I'm still for a playoff, just saying.
In a few cases like Alabama/Florida, it might but if you only allow conference champions from the Big 6 plus say 2 from mid major conferences totalling 8, then the Alabama/Florida game would have immense importance and would hardly devalue the game. With a format like this, teams could schedule great OOC games to prepare for the playoffs since they don't have to worry that a loss will impact their ability to get in. We could end up with not only a solid playoff system but a solid OOC schedule as well with lots of great games of national intertest.
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