Monday, November 12, 2007

The age of turbulence

Christ, I can't wait for this season to end. Not just because of my Michigan-related psychological issues, but because of the entire freakshow. I'm sick of Lou Holtz, Pat Forde, Charlie Weis's smug fucking face, Bill Callahan and his imminent standoff with the ATF, the many fucking retards who attended my university, and anything remotely affiliated with Les Miles. I'm sick of Kansas rising, Hawaii being discussed as if it's legitimate (Michigan deserves to be in the national title game as much as Hawaii deserves to be in a New Year's Day bowl, let alone a BCS bowl), the words "Darren McFadden," shitty Big 12 teams, shitty Big 10 teams, hollow SEC teams being discussed as if they're worth of respect, and Les Miles. I'm sick of Holly Rowe, ESPN's list of 100 greatest college football players, Paul McGuire, Brady Quinn hawking Gillette (boycott Gillette), Perry Farrell's glitterpants, that footage of Matt Ryan puking on the sidelines, and Les Miles.

People once thought Ken Lay was a genius. Recklessness catches up with everyone eventually.

ESPN needs to stop. Lou Holtz's pep talks are amusing only in the way that it would be amusing to put an Alzheimer's patient onstage at a comedy club and let 'er rip. That is, they're painful and sadistic. You forget that this sputtering punchline was once a leader of men, a great coach, now willingly dropped before a camera in order to make an ass of himself in service of our entertainment. Lawyers and court-appointed guardians must inject themselves. Someone who loves him must intervene. Old people should be allowed to live their golden years in dignity, not turned into the announcing equivalent of a snuff film. This is what Howard Beale would have been like if he had no rage.

Dear Pat Forde: Suck my fat one, you cheap dimestore hood.

Ninety-five percent of the people coaching, announcing and analyzing this sport fall into the category of hypocrite, half-wit or liar.

Also, this is my own fault, but I know more about Houston Nutt and the Arkansas booster-and-recruiting follies than should ever, ever be expected of a native Midwesterner who's spent his last eight years in the Northeast. I would like to wire my brain to a magic robot/computer and let it remove massive quantities of memory, including everything about Houston Nutt and Mitch Mustain. Why the fuck do I know what Houston fucking Nutt told a guy when he was in high school and what Razorbacks' parents think? Did I ever even care? Not by a long shot. But I know anyway. Fuck, I'm surprised that I didn't go through the FOIA requests and the documents that were produced and assimilate them all into massive spreadsheets just for shits and giggles. I should be put down.

While we're at it, let's also void every memory of Dennis Franchione and his stupid-assed secret newsletters. Why do I know? Why did I read those things? I cannot tell you. Something to do with a USC ballcap and the word "guff." I want all of that shit wiped clean.

Speaking of wiping shit clean, I'm not listening to anyone trying to make sense of what's happening in college football, because all we're doing is standing around with massive fistfuls of shit, trying to shape wet, dirty feces into nice little sculptures that resemble something explicable. That's not a sculpture of a lizard -- it's shit, dude, seeping out between your fingers. Otherwise metaphorized (That's not a word? Fuck off.) a Great Dane pukes on Mom's kitchen floor after it lapped a two-liter of Diet Coke, and the Thanksgiving guests stand around the mess, declaring that they see an image of the Virgin Mary somewhere in the puke. And then they start praying and call the local media, and the next thing you know the Great Dane's mess of Diet Coke puke is being consecrated as holy. And then you're thinking, "Fuck, all that's there is dog vomit. Devotion will not change that. Why pretend?"

71 comments:

dmbmeg said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
dmbmeg said...

If you want to get angry, read this

J. Businger said...

Amazing that you're sick of Holly Rowe but not the brainless system that creates a 45-day gap at the end of the regular season -- a gap, mind you, that will be filled with nothing but the punditry for which you profess such disdain -- followed by a "national title" game between two over-rested, mechanically sloppy and randomly selected one-loss teams who were fortunate enough to lose one week earlier than two other one-loss teams. All of the hot air of the next 6 weeks could be replaced with a democratic tournament of conference champions and a few elite runners-up, but you're against this too.

Also, I'm sorry you don't like Lou Holtz's pep talks. I suppose they remind you of the coaching genius that allowed him to dominate your school from 1986-1996.

But mostly I'm offended by your claim that "Michigan deserves to be in the national title game as much as Hawaii deserves to be in a New Year's Day bowl, let alone a BCS bowl." With apologies to Bill Maher, here's a new rule: You don't get to trash another team's legitimacy when your own team is too scared to play them. (Surely I don't need to remind you that Michigan backed out a game at historic June Jones Stadium this year.)

For the record, Lou Holtz has been vindicated this year with Steve Spurrier's ghastly underachieving at South Carolina. And Hawaii belongs in the BCS if they can knock off defending co-national champion Boise State. And Florida Atlantic and Hall of Same coach Howard "The Man" Schnellenberger are just five days away from knocking off co-defending champion Florida-Gainesville. There -- I just made sense of the college football season.

dmbmeg said...

Hey CrimeNotes and Flop-
Who let this ass-clown sit at the cool kids' table?

Anonymous said...

Dunno, but he's right about Hawaii.

22280 said...

last comment was mine

crimenotes said...

Mr. Businger is welcome here, even if he's a madman. Stop trying to be his Honeysuckle.

Any team's legitimacy can be trashed for any reason. I'm not Michigan's lead spokesman or chief defender. Hopefully those idiots lose to Boise State or Washington and the madness surrounding them ends. To borrow from Drew Stanton, I herein christen Hawaii the University of Puke.

And fuck, while we're at it, no citing to John Feinstein. I just saw that name and immediately closed the window.

Mr. Holtz badly needs rescuing.

dmbmeg said...

Zing.

Got me there.

22280 said...

The 'Bows will beat Washington. The Boise State game could go either way.

J. Businger said...

dmbmeg:

I'll happily take the "ass-clown" label from someone who considers John Feinstein, a notorious character assassin, some sort of factual or moral authority on...anything.

I actually skimmed the column you linked, and was not surprised to find Mr. Feinstein -- as is his wont -- straining to make some sort of edgy, political reference, this time likening the BCS to the Iraq war. Gee, do you think that's maybe just a bit much? After all, everyone knows the BCS is really much more like Israel's illegal occupation of the West Bank.

As for you, Mr./Ms. Notes -- you ignore the central premise of my Hawaii comment. I singled out your school's chickenhawk scheduling policy, but the same goes for every power team in the country. Hawaii is literally begging for games with every top team onthe mainland, but only Charleston Southern and UW are man enough to make the trip. Maybe it will take putting Hawaii in the BCS -- thus depriving the big-name conferences that refuse to play them a $14 million payday -- to convince the rest of the college football world to play them. If they're as undeserving as you know they are, this would seem to be the easiest way to keep them out of the BCS picture.

Or, we could have a 16 team playoff and they could qualify as the #15 seed as the WAC champ. Surely they'd lose at #2 Oregon in the first round. But I'll tell you what: I'd love to see that game -- and to have it actually mean something.

crimenotes said...

Any playoff that would consider seeding Hawaii is bankrupt by definition, and I wholeheartedly support imprisoning those who think otherwise.

dmbmeg said...

I think I'm starting to like you, j. businger. Mainly cause you insinuated crimenotes might actually be a girrrlllll.

J. Businger said...

Every conference champion gets a bid. If they're as god-awful as you say, they'll lose, it'll be forgotten the next day, and we'll end up with a more legitimate champion than we do now. Plus, both teams in the championship game won't play like bears emerging from hibernation.

There's nothing more magical in sports than a small conference bball team taking down one of the blue chip programs. It's what makes the college game superior to the pros: Every team, from Carolina to Stony Brook, can say -- no matter how implausibly -- that it has an opportunity to earn a national championship. There are 350 D-1 hoops schools and only one will end each year on a winning note. There's nothing more pure than that.

You're sick of Holly Rowe. I'm sick of people who are too timid of mind to imagine the same kind of Cinderella stories being written in college football.

But I thank you for speaking truth about John Feinstein.

22280 said...

That sounds suspiciously similar to the tournament format I proposed on here last year.

The problem is a lot of college football fans feel threatened by the idea of Boise State beating Oklahoma. That's why we're having the exact same discussion a year later about Hawaii.

J. Businger said...

Believe me, 22280, I'm sure neither of us is the first to propose a tournament, and hopefully we wib;t be the last.

For what it's worth, my plan calls for a 16-team tournament: Every conference champion gets an invite (could have play-ingames for the champs of the 2 or 4 lowest-ranked conferences) with the remaining spots filled by at-large entrants determined by a BCS-like formula. (Basically, if there are 7 spots left, they go to the 7 highest ranked BCS teams who aren't automatic qualifiers.) First round games are played on the higher-seeded teams campus, with the quarterfinals, seminfinals, and national title (7 games in total) rotated between the Rose, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton, Citrus and Gator Bowls. The whole tourney runs 4 weekends -- 3 in December and 1 in January. Smaller bowls can continue in perpetuity -- they'll be just as relevant/irrelevant with a tournament as they are now, the football equivalent of the NIT.

The web site that employs me has offered to organize and sponsor such a tournament for years, but I'm afraid we'llnever see it.

crimenotes said...

I despise these so-called "Cinderellas." They're affirmative action for the inept. In a given three-game series, the Reds could sweep the Red Sox. Putting bad teams on equal footing with good teams, then crediting the bad teams if they get lucky, is no way to pick a title.

crimenotes said...

Also, there's a difference between feeling "threatened" by a team and not respecting a program. The fluky upset that's cute when pulled off by Stanford, Appalachian State or Navy in the regular season isn't cute when it happens in a playoff context. It's a signal that the playoff structure is bankrupt.

crimenotes said...

Also, before placing your credibility on the line next to Mr. Businger's, I suggest exploring his site. You'll find historical accounts such as this:

Spurrier was hired. Mass riots erupted on the campus. Enrollment dropped 42% in the 1990-’91 academic year. And Spurrier, armed with an inexplicable 12-year contract, went just 5-7-1 against Florida State, an obscure former women’s college in Tallahassee coached by a one-time “Hee-Haw” cast member. Finally, he was fired after the 2001 season.

J. Businger said...

Just like Bill O'Reilly when the Daily Kos made him squirm, you are responding to intellectual defeat by resorting to one of the ugliest tricks on the internet: attempting to attach to me, the curator of sprawling, unwieldy repository of information and obervation, to every word ever to appear on the site for which I write.

As a fellow blogger, I somehow thought this tactic was beneath you. For the record, however, Spurrier was 5-7-1 against Bowden -- who was unquestionably part of the "Hee-Haw" ensemble.

And once again you are trying to skirt away from your flimsy college football argument. Your assertion now amounts to this: A win only really counts when everyone expects the winning team to win.

I suppose we should hand those 1980 Olympic hockey medals over to the Russkies. Obviously, the cold, bloodless data --not to mention every bit of hockey history up to that point -- indicated they were the superior team. So it should count for nothing that the Americans willed their way to the semi-finals and then knocked them off. Clearly, the rightful winners were the Soviets, so the American win doesn't really mean anything.

You are missing the whole point of sports. Earlier, I noted that I wasn't sure if i should address you as Mr. or Ms. Now, though, it's clear that you are a man -- one who sports a giant purple birthmark on his forehead and pledges allegiance to a hammer and sickle.

crimenotes said...

I think we should take it further: We'll draw lots. One straw is cut into 119 different pieces. The two longest straws will play one another for the national title. The winner is champion. This will eliminate all prejudices concerning quality, record, schedule, merit, geography, wins, prior opponents, etc. and so forth, therein allowing us to finally have a legitimate title game, untainted by issues of superiority.

J. Businger said...

Yeah, my system is real complicated: Every team has a chance to earn a national title by playing football. Radical idea there.

crimenotes said...

Same thing as my system. Every team has an equal shot at the title under my system, too. We just eliminate the middle man and divorce the process from all prejudice. Why should Troy be discriminated against?

J. Businger said...

What in God's name are you talking about? Your system allows Auburn to go 13-0, to win the SEC and the Sugar Bowl, and then to be told it is #2 in the country -- with no opportunity to play the 13-0 team that is told told it's #1 in the country.

You embody the soft bigotry of lowered expectations. History shows that when the little guy is just given a fair chance, he proves he's not so little after all. But I guess Gonzaga, George Mason, the late Paul Wellstone, and inner-city African-American and Hispanic schoolchildren all mean nothing to you.

Shame.

crimenotes said...

Gonzaga means nothing to me. George Mason was born on a fucking plantation in Virginia, and Paul Wellstone taught at Carleton College. Messrs. Mason and Wellstone had their good qualities, but neither was a conventional little guy. Moreover, neither was rewarded for being mediocre. I note, however, that the proposed tournament has an interesting parallel to the U.S. Senate: a state with 5,000 people (Wyoming) has the same weight as California's 36.5 million people. A vote in Wyoming is therefore 35 times more valuable than a vote in California. Similarly, Hawaii's games against the various community colleges of rural Oregon are treated as equal to Auburn's win over Florida. Net-net: Losers are rewarded.

America's inner-city schoolchildren simply don't like college football.

CrimeNotes said...

Excuse my math: I should have written that a vote in Wyoming is worth 7,300 times as much as a vote in California.

Crunk Raconteur said...

I'm not sure what part of this argument I'm enjoying more, the repeated insinuations that Crimenotes is a girl, or that he apologized for the math in a hyperbolic statement (assuming, of course, that he doesn't actually think that Wyoming has only 5000 people)!

J. Businger said...

Your logic has reached an offensive new low. The system as it is now constituted rewards the very imbalance you purport to despise! An undefeated team from a blue chip conference with a patsy schedule (read: Kansas) will always get priority over a one- or two-loss team that has played a brutal schedule. (Kansas, as I'm sure you know, is projected to leapfrog both LSU and Oregon in the BCS standings should the 'Hawks win two more games.)

The logic of the current system is laughable -- that we can somehow sort between multiple teams with wildly uneven resumes and select two that are fit to play for the title. The tournament format wouldn't rewardmediocrity. It would reward winning a conference: The small conference teams would still have to win 4 games in the tournmaent (including on on a top-ranked team's campus) to claim the title.

Let's say Hawaii qualified this year for a 16-team tournament. I would seed them #15 and send them to Baton Rouge to play #2 seed LSU (I am projecting that they get jumped by Kansas in the final poll.) If Hawaii were to somehow win -- and they would be 4 touchdown underdogs -- their reward would be a game against the #7/#10 team --- West Virginia, we'll say. Win that, and Hawaii would probably get the #3 seed, which I'd guess would be Oregon. Only after winning that would they have a shot at playing for the national title, presumably against the #1 seed (Kansas, we'll say).

That is my reward for Hawaii's 13-0 season: Games against LSU (in Baton Rouge), West Virginia, Oregon, and Kansas. Only if they could win all 4 (in 4 successive weeks) would they be crowned national champions. And if they -- or anyone -- could accomplish such a feat, it would be a much more meaningful championship than what this infernal system now produces.

Your Senate analogy, besides being offensive to Malcolm Wallop and Alan Simpson, is deeply flawed. In the Senate, Wyoming is under no obligation to prove it deserves equal representation. Under my tournament system, though, the MWC champion Wyoming Fightin' Cowboys would face an immensely challenging road to the national title, starting with a game on the road against one of the top-2 teams in the country. If they're not tournament materials, they'll be exposed in the first round and expelled. When was the last time a Senate delegation received such treatment?

Crunk Raconteur said...

Exposed and expelled? The Senate?

Nah, too easy.

flop said...

Tournaments, while highly entertaining, are crapshoots. The perception of satisfaction derives from our collective acceptance of them as championship-defining vehicles. It also helps to eliminate the Pat Fordes of the world from the coronation process.

Tournaments also reduce the value of the games that precede them. For all the ink and rhetorical spooge spilled over the concept of a hoary, childrens-story cliche, one forgets that college basketball regular seasons are four-month slogs filled with ennui and Tuesday night games against Radford and Limestone College.

In some ways, our quest to determine one singular champion, driven by TV deals and the national media, has brought college football closer to those other sports, the ones where you play some games for a while, and then everyone agrees to forget about them when you play a much smaller group of those games, which have been selected to be more important in a near-arbitrary way.

At least with the totally fucked up system we have now, missing the mark still results in a pretty good team getting a chance.

Two years ago, a thoroughly mediocre St. Louis Cardinals squad played well at the right time and won the World Series. And without taking away anything from that accomplishment, there's probably no one who would say that they were the best team in baseball. But they are the champions. And no one disputes it (nor should they).

If the goal, as so often stated, is to find the best, shouldn't the process attempt to winnow out all the clearly unworthy teams as early as possible?

I'm immediately suspicious of people selling tournaments as cure-alls because all they really do is push the shitty decision making and blatantly self-interested choices off to the margins. Every year in the NCAA basketball tournament, some major-conference team with a record hovering around .500 is waved into the tournament ahead of some mid-major who has been tearing up whatever their obscure circuit named for an important river's valley is. The lobbying and preening to secure one of these at-large spots would be infuriating, stupid and not particularly just. And any magical cure-all tournament which excludes these in favor of giving bids to Hawaii et al is suffering from magical, delusional thinking. There's no way the stakeholders in such an enterprise would allow the spectacle to be diluted by Northern Illinois, Louisiana Tech or the much-fetishized, mildly homophobic non-rainbow warriors.

This is not an endorsement of the current shitty process, just a plea to stop the lazy thinking that a tournament solves everything. It does no such thing, it just pushes the arbitrariness and injustice out of the spotlight. It's the American way.

J. Businger said...

Wrong.

The assertion that the regular season matters more now is invalid. A perfect example is the coming Virginia-Virginia Tech game. Right now, it's for pride -- which is nice -- but not much else. Sure, the winner goes to the ACC title game and might even be victorious there. But then what? A BCS bowl against West Virginia to determine who's #6 in the country? Wake me when it's over.

Under a playoff, though, UVA-Va Tech takes on a whole new level of urgency and significance. Neither team would qulify for the tournament as an at-large entrant, so both must win the ACC's autmatic slot. The game, then -- in addition to being for pride -- would be a do-or-die battle between two teams dreaming of a shot at the tournament. Winner lives for another day, loser goes to a consolation bowl game no more (or less) significant than the ones that are now played. This is a concrete example of how a tournament makes the college football season more exciting and relevant -- not less.

What people who promote this argument forget is that a 16-team tournament would be too small too open the floodgates to all sorts of mediocre teams. Most two-loss teams would be left out. Some one-less teams would be too. The comparison to college bball -- where the tournament field is 4 times larger and includes practically every big conference team with a .500 conference record -- doesn't work.

What a tournament does do is ensure that the 10 or so top teams in the country get a shot to earn the title on the field. You see how precipitious the drop in the polls is for a top-10 team that loses. No team could afford to take a single regular season game off. The margin of error would be much too small. (Let's say #3 Oregon loses to Oregon State in The Civil War next weekend; that would probably drop the Ducks to around #10, placing them squarely on the bubble in a tournament. That's a far cry from college bball, where a team in Oregon's situation can afford to lose multiple games.)

To further smash the football/basketball analogy, consider the NBA and the NFL. The NBA regular season, like the college regular season, is filled with useless games. That's the nature of basketball, with its much longer schedule. But the NFL has the most vital and thriving regular season of any professional league -- even though teams with 7 losses routinely qualify for its post-season. That is the nature of fotbball, where a short schedule ensures that every game counts. (And, as I've tried again and again to point out -- the standard for making the college football playoff would actualy be HIGHER than in the NFL).

In a few days, look for my simulation of how my system would work in college football this year. I think you will quickly see that the only effect it would have on the regular season would be to create more UVA-Va tech games -- contests that are now ceremonial but that with a playoff would be dramatic and riveting.

crimenotes said...

I'm never going to agree with you because I reject your entire premise, which is that the only thing that matters in college football is the crowning of a national title, divorced of all history, tradition and week-to-week tension. You basically propose usurping the entire sport in service of an artificial framework for reaching an artificial goal. These rivalries and games are not based purely on national title contention, and never should be.

flop said...

Wrong.

The assertion that the regular season matters more now is invalid. A perfect example is the coming Virginia-Virginia Tech game. Right now, it's for pride -- which is nice -- but not much else. Sure, the winner goes to the ACC title game and might even be victorious there. But then what? A BCS bowl against West Virginia to determine who's #6 in the country? Wake me when it's over.

Under a playoff, though, UVA-Va Tech takes on a whole new level of urgency and significance. Neither team would qulify for the tournament as an at-large entrant, so both must win the ACC's autmatic slot. The game, then -- in addition to being for pride -- would be a do-or-die battle between two teams dreaming of a shot at the tournament. Winner lives for another day, loser goes to a consolation bowl game no more (or less) significant than the ones that are now played. This is a concrete example of how a tournament makes the college football season more exciting and relevant -- not less.


This is an illustration of why college football fans don't care for the refugees from all those 16-10 NFL taffy pulls to come over to our sport demanding it be revolutionized for their amusement. College football does not exist for the edification of the disinsterested the way pro sports do. While the Commonwealth Cup may not mean shit to you or any other neutrals, I think it's safe to say it means a whole hell of a lot to the principals and their fanbases. To provide one of those concrete examples: Michigan and Ohio State both lost this past weekend. I don't think the intensity of their game on Saturday will be much diminished even though Ohio State is no longer playing for a chance at the national title. Nor, in your scenario, would they be any more pumped than they already will be because of a chance to make the 16-team tournament, I feel confident to say. Mere pride may be reason to burble and hit the snooze button for you, but it's everything in college football. Ask anyone who loves a college football team.

What people who promote this argument forget is that a 16-team tournament would be too small too open the floodgates to all sorts of mediocre teams. Most two-loss teams would be left out. Some one-less teams would be too. The comparison to college bball -- where the tournament field is 4 times larger and includes practically every big conference team with a .500 conference record -- doesn't work.

Right now in the Top 25 there are two undefeated teams, eight one-loss teams and nine two-loss teams. Of those 19, a handful will gain losses. Even throwing out the three worst, still leaves some mediocrities playing for the title. Also, my comparison to the basketball tournament was solely to illustrate that tournaments do not solve crappy decision making, they just sweep it under the rug.

What a tournament does do is ensure that the 10 or so top teams in the country get a shot to earn the title on the field. You see how precipitious the drop in the polls is for a top-10 team that loses. No team could afford to take a single regular season game off. The margin of error would be much too small. (Let's say #3 Oregon loses to Oregon State in The Civil War next weekend; that would probably drop the Ducks to around #10, placing them squarely on the bubble in a tournament. That's a far cry from college bball, where a team in Oregon's situation can afford to lose multiple games.)

Didn't you just get done saying how exclusive a tournament would be? And now you're saying the gates would be open to the top 10. And presumably six more, too. This is utterly contradictory.

It's also a prescription for the healthy. No college team now can afford to lose any game, because only the top 2 teams are even considered. Opening the tournament to 16 teams would greatly increase the margin of error in what is now a riveting high-wire act. Right now, most one-loss and all two-loss teams are essentially out. With a 16-team tournament, one- and two-loss teams would regularly contend and possibly win the national title. Also, this assumes that the only thing worth having in college football is a national championship.

To further smash the football/basketball analogy, consider the NBA and the NFL. The NBA regular season, like the college regular season, is filled with useless games. That's the nature of basketball, with its much longer schedule. But the NFL has the most vital and thriving regular season of any professional league -- even though teams with 7 losses routinely qualify for its post-season. That is the nature of fotbball, where a short schedule ensures that every game counts. (And, as I've tried again and again to point out -- the standard for making the college football playoff would actualy be HIGHER than in the NFL).

See above. The NFL's regular season only is vital and thriving compared to the arena-filler that is the NBA's and NHL's regular season. Also, those teams need to give as many teams as possible a shot at relevancy to keep attendance up. This is not the purpose of college football, where sellouts are pretty much a given, and large portions of the fanbase are admitted at reduced rates or free of charge. Additionally, they are not conceived as for-profit vehicles, even if many have become so in a de facto way.

In a few days, look for my simulation of how my system would work in college football this year. I think you will quickly see that the only effect it would have on the regular season would be to create more UVA-Va tech games -- contests that are now ceremonial but that with a playoff would be dramatic and riveting.

You've just argued that you'll make the selection of a national champion a more exclusive event by bringing in more teams. Additionally, you've argued to change a season-defining rivalry game into a pre- pre-playoff tilt. So forgive my skepticism, but I'm guessing I'm not going to be buying whatever it is you're selling.

J. Businger said...

I specifically made reference to The Civil War -- the name given to the annual Oregon-Oregon State rivalry -- to express my reverence for the unique. role that traditional rivalry games play in college football. But both of you ignore this and reduce my support for the playoff to an embrace of "the edification of the uninterested." You are corresponding with someone who watched every Egg Bowl ever televised on ESPN and who, as we speak, is counting down the hours until this Saturday's Land Grant Trophy game.

Mr. Flop, your math needs some work. My assertion that roughly the top 10 teams wouldmake my tournament makes sense; the other 6 spots would be filled by automatic qualifiers from the mid-major conferences, presumably occupying seeds 11-16.

Worse, you actually wrote this:

No college team now can afford to lose any game, because only the top 2 teams are even considered. Opening the tournament to 16 teams would greatly increase the margin of error in what is now a riveting high-wire act. Right now, most one-loss and all two-loss teams are essentially out. With a 16-team tournament, one- and two-loss teams would regularly contend and possibly win the national title.

Please, think about what you are saying for a minute:
(a) No team can afford a loss in my system either. I already went through this in a prior post, but surely you are aware of how preciptously a team's ranking drops upon losing one game. So a #2-ranked Oregon who loses to Oregon State would dropto about 10th in the polls, immediately placing Oregon on the bubble. And even if a team can survive a loss and still qualify, its seeding will be dramatically affected. A #2 seed Oregon would play at home against a mid-major team,Troy perhaps. But a #10 seed Oregon would go onthe road to play the #7 team, Ohio State let's say. Losing would be catastrophic for Oregon in this case.

(b) Moreover, one-loss teams routinely contend for the national title right now. To wit: Tennessee, Florida State, Nebraska, LSU, USC, Oklahoma, Ohio State and Florida -- all one loss teams who have played in the BCS title game since its inception. Rare would be the two-loss team to receive an automatic bid to my tournament. Again, the primary standard would be a conference title. Perhaps 4 major conference teams who don't win their conference title would make the field.

Please, both of you, spare me the lectures about what college football is really all about. I've forgotten more about the rivalry games and border wars than either of you know. My passion for the playoff issue is not rooted in some belief that the whole sport needs to be transformed and simlpified. Rather, it's a statement of the glaringly obvious: A wonderful game and culture can and very easily could be made so much more fair, interesting, and exciting.

crimenotes said...

U-F Gainesville vs. Florida-Atlantic does not count as a rivalry game.

J. Businger said...

True. But Urban Meyer is doing a nice job at Gainesville. If he sticks around, the Gators may eventually make the FAU game competitive enough to be called a rivalry.

flop said...

You and I have different assumptions about college football.

I find it interesting and exciting the way it is, and am skeptical of anyone selling a panacea (this applies outside of college football, too). This does not mean I am dogmatically opposed to a playoff, just that I disagree that it's the cure-all for the myriad imagined ills that plague the college game, as most advocates believe.

And my math is fine. Right now, the BCS (which I in no way endorse) is a two-team playoff. Two is less than 16 (and 10).

There are arguments to be made that this is improperly exclusive, but so far I haven't seen them. When you do make them, we can also address the economic feasibility of a playoff that includes six teams from the WAC, MAC, Mountain West and Conference USA. My initial read is that there is no way in hell the BCS conferences would allow that many gate-crashers, which suggests your plan would need some revision.

Anyway, good luck in the Land Grant game, but if you're a Michigan State fan, I would suggest reconsidering a policy of counting down to a big rivalry game.

J. Businger said...

I give up. You wrote:

"There are arguments to be made that this is improperly exclusive, but so far I haven't seen them."

I want to put a bullet through my head. You didn't see the 2004 season?! When a 13-0 SEC champion was denied a shot at the national title game?!? That wasn't 'improperly exclusive'?!?!

Good lord.

And that's just the most glaring example. I won't even get into Tulane '98, Miami '00, Colorado/Oregon '01, USC '03, and Utah '04, because at least some of them lost during the year (and I know the futility of arguing in this forum that the little guy, like Utah and Tulane, deserves at least a shot to go out and earn a title when he goes 13-0).

Anyway, I think you're being overdramatic about what the playoff is being sold as. It's not a panacea, just a mind-numbingly fair and obvious step that won't render a single regular season game any less exciting or important than it now is. But we're going in circles here.

As for the Land Grant, rest assured that Michigan State is not my team. But as a Penn State fan, I think it will be refreshing to play a game in the state of Michigan in which the referees are not on the home team's payroll.

CrimeNotes said...

(and I know the futility of arguing in this forum that the little guy, like Utah and Tulane, deserves at least a shot to go out and earn a title when he goes 13-0).

You don't deserve a shot at Kasparov just because you bested Teri Schiavo in 13 games of checkers.

Who's being overdramatic now, bitch?

J. Businger said...

I think Terri Schiavo's brain was working better than yours.

Boise State played and defeated Oklahoma last year in their one shot at a top-10 team. Utah blasted Pitt (by 29 points) in the '04 Fiesta Bowl. The big teams will not schedule the Boise States and Utahs and Hawaiis in the regular season.

Why are you so resistant to giving a Boise State a shot to play with the big boys? What are you so afraid of? What possible skin off your back is it if in Round 1 of a 4-round playoff LSU (which has no problem scheduling Northwest-Central Arkansas State Tech in the regular season) must deign to play a home game against Hawaii or Boise State?

Even if Hawaii is as bad as you claim, then all it would mean is that LSU gets a tune-up game (a reward for being the top seed in the tournament!) while lesser conference champs (like, say, West Virginia) have to play tough first round games. If Hawaii somehow pulls off a win, then they'd still have to do it 3 more times to claim a national title -- and if they could somehow do that, then (a) it would mark one of the most memorable and thrilling achievements in sports history, and (b) you might just have to re-examine some of your pedigree-based assumptions about how 'bad' they were in the first place.

And no one here has told me yet how Auburn's exclusion in '04 was somehow justifiable. Remember, their only crime was being ranked lower than USC and Oklahoma in pre-season polls (conducted before a single ball had been snapped), which condemned them to a position outside of the top-2 even as they won every single game (plus a conference title tilt -- a 9-0 record in the SEC!).

J. Businger said...

Oh, and I'm sorry because I promised that I was through with Mr. Flop, but I just caught this incendiary comment from earlier in this thread:

"..our quest to determine one singular champion, driven by TV deals and the national media"

You are killing me! The ONLY reason we have a BCS right now is because of "TV deals and the national media." Calls for a playoff have been summarily quashed three times in the last decade by conference commissioners and school presidents who were enticed by obscene television rights offers for the BCS: ABC in 1997 and 2001 and Fox in 2006. Each new deal -- drawn up by corporate suits and greased by Big Media shills (most notoriously John Saunders of ABC/ESPN earlier this deacde) -- has locked the BCS system in place for 4 or 5 more years.

Mr. Flop tries to sound like some sort of voice of purity, railing against the "corporatization" inherent in a playoff. But the joke is on him: The system he defends is product of the very TV deals from which he claims to be defending college football.

CrimeNotes said...

Re: Auburn -- The school is packed with inbred hillbillies and coached by an angry stork. The team barely beat UF-Gainesville this year, for heaven's sake. It edged past lowly Arkansas (a team coached by a man named Nutt, a pistachio magnate who made a name for himself by preying on lonely high school boys and their gullible parents) and lost to humble Mississippi State. Your effort to declare them your undisputed national champion of 2007 shocks me. If rewarding such tomfoolery is your idea of a system, count me out. It's bad enough that people like you want to turn this once-noble sport into the athletic equivalent of CBS's reality "hit" Big Brother, but now you've unmasked yourself as a stealth Auburn propagandist and a scurrilous huckster. Retract your broadsides.

J. Businger said...

It takes a big man to admit when he's wrong. I accept your apology.

dmbmeg said...

Blink blink....what?

Burnsy said...

This is the funniest thing I've ever seen.

Anonymous said...

Wow, a lot to sort through.

First - a proposed playoff system:

-Every conference champion qualifies

-Every team that doesn't win its conference can take a long walk off a short pier. Go directly to the Outback Bowl. Do not pass go, etc.

-Seed the tournament based on the computer ranking of your choice.

For example:

Play-In Round
#6 Virginia Tech vs. #11 Central Mich
#7 Hawaii vs. #10 Central Florida
#8 BYU vs. #9 Troy

Other seeded teams
#1 Kansas
#2 LSU
#3 Oregon
#4 Ohio State
#5 West Virginia

You'd most likely end up with an 8-team tournament involving the champions of the six BCS conferences and a couple mid-majors.

Anonymous said...

Now, to respond to a few comments:

1. "The fluky upset that's cute when pulled off by Stanford, Appalachian State or Navy in the regular season isn't cute when it happens in a playoff context. It's a signal that the playoff structure is bankrupt."


I despise the word "fluke" -- it's used far too often as a crutch when a fan or analyst sees his vision of the way a game is "supposed" to turn out fall apart before his eyes. Boise State deserved to be Fiesta Bowl champs last year. The Broncos prepared better, coached better and played better than Oklahoma. If we're not going to reward that, then what exactly should we be trying to reward? Historical success? Traditional powerhouseness?

The BCS conference apologists have been out in force ever since Boise State won that game. First they told us Boise State had no chance to win, and would in fact be so overmatched the game wasn't even worth playing. After Boise State won, we were told that "If they had to play Oklahoma 10 times, they'd only win once" or "If they had to play a full SEC schedule week in and week out, they'd go 7-5."

Here's how you know mid-majors are making progress: Those who disrespect them must resort to more and more hypotheticals.

I don't understand the harm in allowing these supposedly unworthy mid-majors a chance to actually take the field against the traditional powerhouses. If they are as unworthy as you say, they will lose. If not, then maybe they'll win their share and we'll all learn something. It sounds like some of the traditionalists are afraid of what they might learn.

Anonymous said...

2. "I think we should take it further: We'll draw lots. One straw is cut into 119 different pieces. The two longest straws will play one another for the national title. The winner is champion."



Extraordinary straw man, no pun intended. I think your underlying point is that we'll never have a perfectly fair system, so why change? Just because a playoff system isn't perfect doesn't mean it can't be better than what we have now.

Anonymous said...

3. "Tournaments, while highly entertaining, are crapshoots."



This is a popular line vis-a-vis baseball, but it's not applicable to college football. In baseball the best teams win 60 percent of the time. In college football the best teams win 95 to 100 percent of the time. Football teams have a week to prepare for one game, and there's no one player who can exert inordinate influence over a football game like a starting pitcher in baseball -- not even the quarterback.

There would never be a college football equivilent to the 2006 St. Louis Cardinals. Say Central Michigan beats Virginia Tech, Oregon, LSU and Ohio State in successive weeks to win the national playoff. What was flawed, the playoff system or public's perception of Central Michigan?

Anonymous said...

4. "If the goal, as so often stated, is to find the best, shouldn't the process attempt to winnow out all the clearly unworthy teams as early as possible?"



There are two ways to winnow out "clearly unworthy" teams. One is by executive order - have the powers that be decide who is unworthy and then declare those teams eliminated. That's the system we have now. Sorry undefeated Hawaii, the powers that be say you are clearly unworthy, and the powers that be would never be wrong about something like that.

Another way to eliminate clearly unworthy teams is to enter them in a tournament as low seeds and find out for sure how unworthy they really are. If they really are unworthy, they'll lose and be winnowed out that way.

I say play the games.

Anonymous said...

5. "You basically propose usurping the entire sport in service of an artificial framework for reaching an artificial goal. These rivalries and games are not based purely on national title contention, and never should be."



Nobody is talking about usurping an entire sport. I fail to see how instituting a playoff that wouldn't start until December has any adverse effect on the previous three months - especially a playoff in which no team that didn't win its conference would be eligible.

When the BCS was first instituted, we were told that the sport would go to ruin if the Big Ten and Pac-10 didn't send its champions to the Rose Bowl. As far as I can tell, the game's tradition and pagentry have survived intact. Last year's Michigan-Ohio State game was not played for a trip to the Rose Bowl. There was still plenty of excitement.

Rivalries like that will continue to flourish no matter what postseason system is in place.
The excitement of the regular season would not be compromised by a playoff - just because a postseason is more inclusive does not mean it will automatically reward mediocrity.

Anonymous said...

6. "No college team now can afford to lose any game, because only the top 2 teams are even considered. Opening the tournament to 16 teams would greatly increase the margin of error in what is now a riveting high-wire act. Right now, most one-loss and all two-loss teams are essentially out. With a 16-team tournament, one- and two-loss teams would regularly contend and possibly win the national title. Also, this assumes that the only thing worth having in college football is a national championship."

The irony here is that this thread started because Crimenotes said he'd rather see a 3-loss Michigan team play for the national title than see a ZERO-loss Hawaii team play on New Year's Day. So the "single-elimination" nature of the college football season is a bit of a myth. Some teams really can't afford to lose. Some can afford to lose once, etc.

I'm comfortable replacing the "you can't lose more than once" drama of the current regular season with the "you can't finish lower than first in your league" drama that would exist under my proposal. It's a more objective way of determining national championship contenders and would eliminate the "which of these nine 1-loss teams should receive preferential treatment" beauty contest that exists every year.

Furthermore, if you place a premium on conference play during the regular season, the top teams will become much less gutless about their nonconference scheduling. That Big Ten-SEC series you all were talking about could actually become a reality.

Again, I don't think these proposals constitute a complete overhaul of the sport - just a way of improving what happens from Dec. 1 on.

J. Businger said...

Anonymous, you are my hero. State your name so that you may be enshrined in my anonymously-edited blog's Ring of Honor, between General Bob Knight and former Wyoming Cowboy basketball standout Fennis Dembo.

My only minor -- and I stress, minor -- difference with you is over the exact format of a tournament. I favor a 16-team structure, in which everyone must win four games to be crowned champion.

There are 11 conferences. I propose giving them all bids, thus leaving space for 5 at-large teams. I know this may seem like much, but it allows for teams who clearly belong but who don't claim automatic berths. Example: The Big-10 has no championship game, and it has happened before that two teams who did not play one another in the regular season will finish tied for first place. My system has enough flexibility to allow both to qualify.

I think there are enough conferences/teams out there that if we allowed for five at-large entrants, it would not dilute the quality of the tournament or the significance of the regular season.

crimenotes said...

I love that my post about a Great Dane puking up Diet Coke has spawned all of this.

A different anonymous said...

Shut up, Crimenotes. Nobody cares what you have to say. We're all here for the other Anonymous and Businger at this point.

crimenotes said...

Businger, teach your mom some manners.

dmbmeg said...

someone just told you to shutup on your own blog?

This is highly entertaining, despite I didn't read any of these comments.

Dude, Project Runway is on! Weeeee!

J. Businger said...

It looks like you have some more apologizing to do, Madam/Sir.

For the sake of your conscience, I hope A Different Anonymous is as generous of spirit as I am.

crimenotes said...

The real problem is that I'm not told to shut up more often.

Fine, smart points by anonymous; weird, somewhat smart points by Fennis Dembo evangelist Mr. Businger. More on them tomorrow night, probably.

Crunk Raconteur said...

Hey, we're not all here for Businger and anonymous.

For myself, I fall in line behind Mr. Flop and Ms. Notes.

Well, not really. I suppose overall I like the idea of a playoff, but for reasons that I think Flop/Notes would tend to agree with more than Businger. To wit, I don't really care about the supposed legitimacy of a national champion...I just think that a tournament of the type Businger suggests would provide me what I want, which is college football games on more weekends in December.

Random fun note: my word verification for this comment is "luvzz"

A Different Anonymous said...

Crimenotes, I've got a question for you.

Why even bother playing ANY Bowl games if you're so satisfied with the job these computers are doing?

Fuck it, just do the math after the Conference championship games and let the team that's number 1 claim the title outright. By your logic, number 2 isn't good enough to play against number 1 and we don't want to end up with a fluky upset where Number Two has the chance to beat Number One. After all, Number 1 proved itself infinitely superior over the course of an 11 or 12 game season.

So let's just make the bowl games exhibition games and agree we won't consider them anything except a good time and a chance to binge drink for one last weekend...

...and as a way to line the colleges' pockets so they can afford to pay their incoming recruits the following year.

CrimeNotes said...

Goddammit, I wish Blogger comments had a "save as draft" function.

Short answer: So let's just make the bowl games exhibition games and agree we won't consider them anything except a good time and a chance to binge drink for one last weekend... Yes, exactly. More later.

J. Businger said...

"and as a way to line the colleges' pockets so they can afford to pay their incoming recruits the following year."

A fine point. And an obvious shot at Michigan, perhaps the most notorious pay-to-play practitioner since Boss Tweed.

A recent report from the Hastings Institute for the Study of Sport and Society found that UM would have lost 21 additional games between 1996 and 2006 had it not been for "flagrantly unethical officiating and recruiting practices that utterly eviscerate the spirit of amateur competition."

CrimeNotes said...

At least Boss Tweed got some bang for his buck.

J. Businger said...

Tell that to 66-year-old Joe Paterno, who would be well ahead of Bobby Bowden on the all-time wins list if it weren't for stolen victories in Ann Arbor...

A Note To My Fellow Discussion Participants:

In light of the extraordinary interest in this topic, I will be unveiling the bracket for and projected results of my 2007 College Football 16-Team Championship Tournament later this evening.

flop said...

Anonymous 10:53 -- support your assertions. Those numbers appear to be summoned from your descending colon.

CrimeNotes said...

Don't be a dick, Flop.

CrimeNotes said...

Hopefully, Florida-Atlantic finds justice in the new tournament. Can't wait -- this is very exciting.

dmbmeg said...

Flop will now assume the role of Honeysuckle while I will retain my roll of Boots.

J. Businger said...

Your Attention Please:

The rollout of the John A. Businger 16-Team College Football Tournament has begun. There will be continuous updates throughout the night, culminating in the crowning of this year's national champion.

http://t2pse.blogspot.com/

the original anonymous said...

Support the numbers? The best teams in baseball this year went 96-66 for a .593 winning percentage. The best teams in college football will go 13-0 or 12-1. Am I misunderstanding the question?

Upsets are much more common in baseball than football.

CrimeNotes said...

Yeah, and even if you'd been incorrect, he was picking at a small point instead of addressing your statements as a whole, something that I hope to do after Ann Arbor this weekend. Sorry that I haven't been able to jump in more thoroughly, especially in light of the considerable time put into some of the comments; real life intervened; more later.