Skip to comments.TCU Football and the BCS: Is it fair to exclude a "weak conference"?
Posted on 11/08/2009 11:14:39 AM PST by dangus
The likelihood of outrage seems inevitable this year in college football: The BCS controversy, which even President Obama has issued proclamations about, seems ready to explode, since six undefeated teams - two from minor conferences - survive with only three games left in the season. Two conferences, Mountain West and Western Athletic (WAC) are excluded from automatic participation in the BCS, and must compete for one of two wildcard teams, and both still have undefeated teams. But should a team which has gone undefeated and unchallenged take a slot from Alabama or Florida, which are likely to also go undefeated... until they face each other in a conference championship game?
If Texas Christian University (TCU) is excluded, we will be told it is a terrible unjustice. (Based on their current ranking and recent success in BCS games, Boise St. seems the more likely of the two to be included.) If Texas Christian and Boise St. both want to be taken seriously, they need to not only lack losses; they need big wins.
[Don't get started about TCU's victory over BYU proving anything. BYU plays in the same weak conference, where only one other team has a winning out-of-conference record. Everyone was so surprised at BYU's defeat of Oklahoma at the start of the season; Now that Oklahoma's unlikely to have a winning record, can we stop regarding BYU as giant killers?]
To prove TCU and Boise St belong in the BCS, they need to face tough opponents. At the very least, they need to face each other. And they need a format to make sure that the right such match-up keeps happening, year after year. There are three options:
The first is to leave a game open in each team's schedules, so that each team in each conference plays a team of equal strength in the opposite conference. If the BCS committee or the NCAA doesn't approve, then they should rejoin and boot the teams which are weakest athletically, or academically. (From an athletics standpoint, what is Colorado St, New Mexico, Utah, New Mexico St., and Louisiana Tech doing in these conferences? For that matter, what is Louisiana Tech doing in Western conferences at all?) Pare the conference by five weaklings, and have a conference tournament, like Alabama and Florida will to determine which is the best.
Lastly - and this is the one which should create the best football - would be to recombine and redivide the two leagues, which were previously divided more based on history than anything else. Beyond Boise St. and TCU, fans will argue which schools belong in the upper echelon, but UNLV, Fresno St., Hawaii, Air Force, San Diego St. and Utah seem like a start, give or take a school or two.
Should the academically strong but athletically weak San Diego St. go in over Nevada, or should Nevada's comparably strong athletics program outweigh their nearly open enrollment? Should the BYU-Wyoming rivalry be preserved, or relegated to history, like the racially charged events which helped spawn it? Given Hawaii's border-line academics and athletics, should they be allowed in, just because they'll help their rivals attract athletes? Or are schools like TCU better off being able to complain about injustice rather than risk proving their exclusion to be just? What's your take?
They should exclude the weaker conferences, starting with the Big East and the ACC. I mean, if the BCS wants to exclude the WAC and the MWAC, out west, they should exclude the weaker conferences out east.
Any one see this today?
“Bleymaier is making a nearly unheard of offer in college football scheduling Boise will bring its popular, high-profile, top-10 team to any stadium in any town to play any big name team in America in 2011. And they dont have to return the date in Idaho.
So far, no one has bit.”
But who qualifies for the playoffs? There are 12 conferences, and 8 spots. Do you let wildcards in, or do you hand off byes to the 4 conferences that have conference playoff games? (Actually, that last idea might not be so bad.)
It wasn’t long ago that people would argue that a national tournament game would settle all the controversies; all it did was spawn rage about who belongs in the “BCS,” which was created to settle the matter. What if a 5-3/7-5 team knocks off a previously undefeated team in a conference tournament while a 10-2 team goes all the way?
There’s always going to be bickering.
>> Do you let wildcards in, or do you hand off byes to the 4 conferences that have conference playoff games? (Actually, that last idea might not be so bad.) <<
Oops: 11 conferences, with 3 byes to the 3 conferences with tournaments. (ACC, SEC, Big 12).
No, I didn’t. But, I did know Fresno St. tries to do that. My 3 suggestions were based on ways that TCU and Boise St. could control their own destinies. Kudos to Boise St. And a pox (not literally) on all those SEC teams that play Division II opponents.
It’s all about TV ratings. The day a WAC or MWAC team plays in a bowl game that gets better ratings than a BCS bowl the system will change, until then forget about it.
Any new conference will have a private school. So even if one is weak, you better include that in any figuring.
It’s hard to knock TCU and what they have done this year but for Boise St., as the article suggests, is asked to score “style” points along with their wins in order to be taken serious. I haven’t seen the BCS poll yet but obviously Iowa should drop behind Boise St. A coworker last week, prior to the poll, thought colusion would put Oregon ahead of Boise. That article I posted sums it up pretty good: “all Boise St. can do is win” and let the chips fall where they may.
This is the biggest fraud in modern sports. Each conference has up and down seasons, I don’t think the ACC or Big Ten have a legitimate top 10 team this year. Boise State a year ago, and Utah in the Fiesta 3-4 years back were playing as well as anyone in the country. These small conference schools continuing to pay into a system that doesn’t represent them reminds me quite a bit of US taxpayers.
The “plus one” is probably the closest we’ll get to a playoff.
Seeding 4 teams in 2 bowls that rotate among the big 5 (if the Cotton becomes a big bowl again in Jerryworld)
This year might Have Bama/UF winner, Texas, Cincy, TCU....or the UF/Bama loser depending on how Cincy/TCU finish.
Tough for Bama or UF to be forced to play the other team again.
Given the fact that most schedules are made 4-5 years out, I can understand why no one has an opening for Boise St. in 2011.
IIRC, Boise St. had great ratings last year in the BCS.
Well, Oregon will have a reserved spot, but it would be almost impossible to get Oregon into a better bowl. I was looking at something happening like (for instance) SEC champ v. Texas, Cincinnati v. Boise St., Penn St. v. Oregon, Georgia Tech. vs. SEC runner-up and bye-bye TCU., which would have outraged sportswriters (the very same who will have voted for the SEC runner-up, by the way) turning 18 colors of purple that the SEC runner-up is in, and TCU is out.
And you know what? The only way a playoff would include TCU would be to give automatic spots to the lesser conferences. But that would leave the SEC runner-up with an argument to be #1, unless the SEC winner, or the team that beat the SEC winner was the overall champion.
My proposal is the each year make each team that finished in the BCS Top 32, to play two games against other teams that finished in the Top 32, to be picked by random in a drawing before the season starts.
The simple matter is this: no playoff system can fairly pick the winner of 120+ teams after only 11 games. Things were better when it was simply the Rose bowl, the Orange Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, etc., and people fought it out about whether the Pac-10 was better than the ACC.
Yeah but that was in a BCS game, the BCS guys will say that’s because it was a BCS game, they’ve got a lot of ego. Get Boise St in one of those “local sponsor nobody ever heard of” bowls and have IT beat BCS rating and they’ll start paying attention.
In my scenario, the quarterfinals--played one week after the conference championship games--have #1 vs. #8, #2 vs. #7, #3 vs. #6, and #4 vs. #5, with the higher-ranked team hosting the game. This would actually put more balance back to northern-based programs like Michigan, Ohio State and Penn State if they're highly-ranked at start of the tournament, since in early December the weather in the northern climates would be quite cold and that could work against an SEC, ACC, Big 12 or Pac 10 in the tournament normally playing in warmer climates by late November-early December.
Yes, but what’s the alternative? To ignore the BCS and be left out altogether?
>> Boise State a year ago, and Utah in the Fiesta 3-4 years back were playing as well as anyone in the country. <<
Not to disagree, but the point is that we’ll never know. And anyone who thinks that any of these bowl games determines that team A is better than team B is fooling themselves. But it’s the contest that matters. That’s why I’m cool with going back to the days of the Rose Bowl, etc. At least then we didn’t delude ourselves into thinking we had actually determined the best team in the country. We all just watched a good game. Arguing whether an undefeated Notre Dame was better than undefeated Rose Bowl winner was a matter of opinion and sport, not of ‘fairness’ and ‘inclusion.’
I wonder ...if teams from certain conferences can never make it to the championship game (no matter if they are undefeated)...should they put these conferences into a brand new Division where the can compete for a championships?
Not sure what the private school status has to do with anything. Notre Dame, Duke, Auburn, Boston College, Stanford, USC, TCU, BYU and Baylor are all private schools. Does that say anything about the Big 12, the ACC, the Pac-10, the SEC?
The BCS is nothing but BS.
Well, that doesn’t prove anything, then. But I would bet that an undefeated TCU against an undefeated Boise St. would get good ratings.
If the question is if TCU could compete with the big boys, the answer, IMO, is an unqualified yes. Same for Cincinnati this year. But year in and year out TCU proves it belongs in the game.
Yes, it *is* BS. But so is the notion that there is any non-BS way of naming a national champion with only a small number of rounds of bowl games. So instead of getting all hot and bothered about whether such-and-such a team was unfairly excluded, we should relax and enjoy the games, and just keep a mental asterisk in our head that Boise St. was also undefeated.
I’m with you.
2006 Boise State*
I understood that. Again, however, the issue is who picks which teams are in? Do you boot the SEC championship loser to make room for TCU?
How’s this for an idea?
EVERYbody leave two unscheduled games. Have the opposition chosen by merit, but the opposition can’t be in your own conference, or someone you played in a bowl game the last year anyway. Schedule Boise St. to play Texas and Florida, and then going undefeated would mean something! Then the current system would make a little sense. No-one would have to pretend that these matchups were the end all and be all of football, but Boise St. could still prove something if it “only” beat Texas and Alabama, or even Kansas and Alabama.
Little side note:
With fully HALF of the Big East now in the BCS Standings Top 25 (and Rutgers not far behind), can people knock off knocking the Big East (not that anyone has done that here)?
West Virginia’s Sugar Bowl victory a few years back may just wind up being the most fateful game in college football history, since it helped defend against the argument that the reorganized Big East didn’t belong in the BCS.
I think you mean Vandy and not Auburn.
I’m sure it would. And hopefully outside a BCS bowl. The problem really is that the BCS guys not only believe they’re right about everything, but really don’t care about anything but the revenue. They’re perfectly comfortable with a system that nobody else on the planet likes, so any concept of things like fairness are falling on deaf ears. When wondering about the guys that run the BCS always remember that it’s named the Bowl Championship Series, and yet the games don’t form any form of a series, they use 5 games in a non-playoff format thus making 4 of those games not contribute at all to the crowning of a champion. It takes a special kind of person to come up with the BCS.
My understanding is with a private school in the conference, the public schools athletic departments can keep more information private.
That is why as you are pointing out, they all have at least one private school.
Can anybody imagine a professional sports league in which the teams in the “weakest” division were told before the season started that no matter how well that division’s winner did during the regular season, they wouldn’t be allowed to participate in the playoffs? That’s pretty much how the BCS system is set up. Teams such as Boise St and Cincinnati could go undefeated, but they probably won’t be given the chance to play for the national championship because of the conferences that they play in. Since this seems to be the case, then why are teams from the “weaker” conferences even listed in the BCS rankings?
That explains why the SEC puts up with Vandy.
A playoff is the only way to make sense of this. The current system has incredible flaws, and even a plus one isn’t adequate. Head to head is the only way. A sixteen team playoff where conference champions are automatic bids and the rest are at large would work. And while a MAC team (or ACC/Big Ten team) this year would likely not win a championship, they are still part of NCAA Division I and have no shot currently. Explain to me why every other sport, on every level understands this except for Division I football. Its money, pure and simple. Regarding the argument that the ratings would be down with smaller schools, I doubt that. No one tuned out when George Mason was playing Cinderella against UConn a few years ago; in fact, it added to the intrigue. I love college football (and all sports) and can’t wait to be able to enjoy it again without the mixed feelings Bowl season invokes.
They should just go ahead and declare the winner of the SEC title game National Champion.
Let’s not go overboard. I would agree to the winner between the Big 12 and the SEC.
BYU is the main reason for the very existence of the BCS. When BYU won the national championship in 1985, the big conferences were desperate to find a way to prevent teams like BYU from even being considered for a national championship. They couldn’t afford to lose that kind of money again so, they eventually came up with the BCS. Now, only the big football schools will be considered for the national championship even when there are non-BCS teams with perfect records and BCS teams that have two, three or even four losses.
BCS teams/schools haven’t the guts to go to a playoff system because they know full well that anyone can beat anyone else on any given day so, they need the BCS to protect their fragile egos and pocket books. Its their ball and if they can’t play the way they want to play then they’re going to just take it and go home.
Exactly. I went to a I-AA, now “Football Championship Subdivision” school (James Madison, 2004 FCS national champs). The top 16 FCS teams have a playoff, and nobody seems to whine about the “strain on the student-athletes” the way the talking heads and the athletic departments at the big boys do. What, the guys at Ohio State are gonna miss a couple more basket-weaving classes so they’ll have to hire more actual students to take their tests for them? Ditto Divisions II and III, and it can be said that players at the lower levels need those degrees a LOT more than the BCS players might.
The big schools need to shut up, quit whining, and settle it ON THE FIELD.
once that is done, Boise State will get the offers for larger universities to come and play games there ......and at that time, Bosie State can be national champs if they want.....
but the smurf field must go...