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Posts Tagged ‘NCAA’

FIX IT

Once again, voters’ opinions have thrown the national championship race into turmoil. How it’s possible that Oklahoma is ranked ahead of Texas, who beat them, is beyond me. And again, as I wrote last week, no way does USC deserve to be ranked ahead of Texas Tech.

The NCAA has always been a duplicitous beast. It hammers the teams that it supposes have transgressed some of its hallowed rules, but then it lays off the teams and conferences, letting them formulate their own methods for determining their champions. The SEC proved that a championship game is the right way to go, and the Big 12 followed suit. Now it’s time for the Big 10 and the PAC 10 to get on board. The recent trend of voters’ rewarding conferences who do have a championship game is promising, as seen last year when 2-loss LSU played for the BCS title in lieu of 2-loss USC. At least they got that one right.

But this year the polls are on their backs, and the official is counting. Something must be done to fix the system. I’ve already given one idea that could work without instituting a playoff, which the powers-that-be are so adamantly opposed to. But a few things must happen without question: The Big 10 and PAC 10 must crown their champions in a championship game. The Big 10 will have to either add a team or cut a team for that to happen, but if Notre Dame would get off their high horse and join, both the Big 10 and ND would be better off for it. All the PAC 10 really has to do is schedule the game and play it, since they’ve already got an even number of teams, although it would be nice if they’d add a couple more teams to the pot.

The Big 10 and PAC 10 may already have plans to that effect. Surely they see that their lack of a conference championship is costing them consideration at season’s end. Everyone said the SEC would put themselves out of contention when they started up their championship game, but in fact, just the opposite has happened. The SEC is getting more consideration because of the championship game. Several other conferences have followed suit. At this point, to refrain is nothing more than a display of stubbornness.

There are ways to fix the system, NCAA. We all know you hate the idea of a playoff, despite the wishes of the fans of the sport, but there are other ways than the BCS. Use your imagination and come up with one, or just ask me, I’ve got a guaranteed formula for success. I call it the Super Conference.

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 “Chris” has left a particularly inflammatory comment on my post “How to Fix College Football” wherein he rants about the wrongs of the bowl system and raves about my psychotic, dumb, “bass ackwardness.” For those of you who are wondering, including you, Chris, this is as close as you can come to getting banned without actually getting banned. I’m all about disagreements, but hold back the reins on the ranting insults, and realize that your opinion makes as much sense to me as mine does to you. But I’m not going to call Chris by the name I think he deserves for this tidbit of drivel he’s shellacked onto my blog, I’m going to respond, and I’m going to give it a full post, because I know there are many, many people out there who have all jumped onto the playoff bandwagon and believe it would do something it’s not capable of doing. First, Chris’s prattle:

Are you psycho? Why does everybody think the bowls are good? Most are about as boring as a knitting competition. If the bowl system was so great and “voting” on a paper “National Champion” was the way to go why aren’t the other NCAA sports doing it as well. Why isn’t the NFL, NBA, MLB, etc. clammoring to go that way? Why? Because it is the dumbest most bass ackwards way of determining a champion! Let’s all pull our heads out and get over the super 6 conferences wanting all the money and give the fans what they want!!! A PLAYOFF!!!

Okay, Chris, here’s my answer: you’re wrong. As far as I can tell the only question you raised in your irrational squawk was “why aren’t the other sports clammoring to go that way?” (note that the incorrect spelling of clamoring is Chris’s, not mine). There are dozens of reasons, but historically it’s because, other than the MLB, boxing and horse racing there were no other major sports than college football around when it started up, and guess what? Until 1907 MLB didn’t have a playoff either, and they only did it then because there were two separate professional leagues of teams: the National and the American. Before that those teams had never played one another. And up until 1969 there was no divisional playoff, either. The two teams with the best records played for the championship: that’s it. And neither horse racing nor boxing have playoffs, either. Sure, horse racing has it’s triple crown, boxing has multiple titles, things that make them unique in the world of sports, just like the bowls do for college football. And as for “the super 6 conferences wanting all the money,” well, that again is nothing but drivel. Why do you think MLB instituted the playoffs? Money grubbers, that’s why. And as far as that goes, college football would make more money with a playoff, so that argument is asinine right out of the gate.

And as for the NFL, they, too didn’t begin with a playoff. From Wikipedia:

NFL post-season history can be traced to the first NFL Championship Game in 1933, though in the early years, qualification for the game was based solely on regular season records. The first true NFL playoff began in 1967, when four teams qualified for the tournament. When the league merged with the American Football League in 1970, the playoffs expanded to eight teams. The playoffs were expanded to ten teams in 1978 and twelve teams in 1990.

The NFL chartered its rules in 1876–without a playoff.

So why shouldn’t college football adopt their own playoff system like the other sports have? Because none of the other sports had a system already in place like college football does. They didn’t “playoff” at all, they just named a champ or had one extra game to see who it was. They had to do something to determine the champ, and college football already had the bowls. Where do you think they got the name for the Super Bowl? It was their shot at duplicating what college football had already done with great success.

But even more than this, more than the history and tradition of the game, the greatest reason of all (other than the fact that we don’t need a playoff), is because the regular season still matters in college football. You’ll never see a team in college football with a guaranteed playoff bid running its second stringers out onto the field because the win is meaningless. Every loss has significance. Not so in any other sport.

And besides that, to institute a playoff you’d have to add games to the season. Even if it’s only one or two, you’d still add games, and these are still students who are trying to make the grade. There are enough games.

Look at it this way: The first kickoff of the first game in a college football season is the start of the playoffs. And every team approaches every season with the same attitude: Must Win. NCAA basketball started their own playoff system, and now look at it. It doesn’t become a popular sport until March. Everything leading up to that is filler.

Really, Chris, if you want to make an argument, make one, but throwing insults at the blog host isn’t going to get you anywhere. Give me a good reason for a playoff and I’ll listen, but I’ll tell you right now, because the fans want it isn’t a good reason. Herd mentality does nothing for an argument.

In closing, I’d like to add that I don’t believe the current system is working. I’ve come up with an alternative plan that I believe would fix the situation nicely. We could keep the bowl structure intact, keep the conferences as they are, and even keep the BCS in place. My plan would fix college football. Tell me what you think, or how you would fix it, if you’d do anything at all.

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These are the top 25 teams of the NCAA (unaffiliated) Super Conference according to wins. Note: The teams in this poll do not adhere to the tenets of the Super Conference scheduling system which ranks teams based on schedule equality and wins alone so therefore these standings are purely speculative based on the inherent inadequacies of their current schedules. For instance, all teams in this poll would have played a few of the other teams on this poll using the SC system but in reality many of them have not.

  1. Ohio State (8-0)
  2. LSU (7-1)
  3. Oklahoma (7-1)
  4. Oregon (6-1)
  5. West Virginia (6-1)
  6. USC (6-1)
  7. Virginia Tech (6-1)
  8. South Carolina (6-2)
  9.  Michigan (6-2)
  10. Alabama (6-2)
  11. Penn St (6-2)
  12. Texas (6-2)
  13. Florida (5-2)
  14. Cal (5-2)
  15. Georgia (5-2)
  16. Clemson (5-2)
  17. UCLA (5-2)
  18. Miami (5-3)
  19. Georgia Tech (5-3)
  20. Auburn (5-3)
  21. Tennessee (4-3)
  22. Arkansas (4-3)
  23. Florida St (4-3)
  24. Nebraska (4-4)
  25. Notre Dame (1-7)

Teams poised to jump into the SC next year (the top 5 of these teams will replace the bottom 5 of the SC poll next year):

  1. Arizona State
  2. Boston College
  3. Kansas
  4. South Florida
  5. Missouri
  6. Kentucky
  7. Virginia
  8. Connecticut
  9. Rutgers
  10. Wake Forest

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As an Alabama fan I use them a lot to make some arguments because they are a traditional power who have gone through very few uniform modifications over the years. Here’s the list:

  1. Alabama’s New Look (for one game)
    Bama played a game in ’06 with an slightly modified jersey which sported a Houndstooth collar to commemorate Bear Bryant’s 315th win. There was some uproar about the sanctity of the crimson jersey, but I for one thought it was a great move, and one that should be made permanent. This is proof positive that it doesn’t take a big change to give an old look a new feel.
  2. Penn State Prison-Issue Uni and USC Playdough Yellow
    Blue doesn’t even look colorful in Penn State’s uniforms; and don’t get me started on the white-on-white-on-white look. They look like a prison team, and not in an intimidating fashion. And as for USC’s yellow, I know it’s supposed to harken to the true Spartans, but wow is that one ugly color. Single ugliest uniform color in NCAA football. There are many other traditional powers that could fit into this spot–Nebraska, Notre Dame, Oklahoma, etc.–but though these two may or may not be the worst of them all, they both strike me as especially awful.
  3. Logos are updated
    alabama-new.gifAlabama, among many others have updated their logos (see: Penn State, Florida, Boise State, and Oregon State, to mention a few) with great success in my opinion. Desperately needing to update: Florida State and Wake Forest, among many, many others. So if they can update their logos, why not their uniforms?
  4. Nobody can wear throwbacks.
    Because there’s usually nothing to throwback to, because the uni hasn’t changed in FIVE HUNDRED YEARS. If you really want to honor tradition–and you do, I know you do, because college football is all about tradition–you can better honor it by wearing a throwback. Alabama had to update their uniform to commemorate a historical achievement.
  5. Other Teams have done it, and look good.
    The new uniforms sported by progressive teams aren’t as bad as all the uproar. Hawaii and Oregon have great uniforms, and the writers who take jabs at them are stuck in the past. The progressive styles of these uniforms make a good argument for why uniforms SHOULD be upgraded.
  6. The NFL
    In the most popular sport in the most popular league in America, NFL uniforms change almost annually, updating, keeping it fresh. College football should emulate this. Miami seems to be the only traditional power to be updating in a similar fashion. And I like it.
  7. College Football is stuck in the past.
    I love my Tide and I love the rich tradition, but there are ways to honor the past without being stuck in it.  
  8. Michigan
    Michigan has great potential; they’ve got the best helmet design in college football and their colors aren’t bad. With a little design improvement those unis could be sensational.
  9. Stop Knocking Orange!
    People keep knocking Miami, Clemson, Tennessee, Texas, Oregon State and Florida (among others) because of the predominant orange they use. In my opinion orange is an awesome color for uniforms–it’s bright and bold and looks fresh. Not that I want my team to change to orange, I like Crimson just fine, but I do believe the orange looks good.
  10. Design Details
    The metal stamp design on Oregon’s shoulders, the thin line on Boise State’s jersey, the band on Hawaii’s leg–individually you might find these accents hideous, but I don’t. Adding details to a uniform spices it up and makes it fresh and new. A tiny accent–like the Houndstooth collar on Alabama’s one-time jersey in ’06–can make a huge difference in a uniform’s appearance.
     

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