Exective director Bill Hancock defends the BCS

Bill Hancock officially began his tenure as BCS executive director this week and spoke with reporters on Thursday about the current state of college football.

Let’s go point by point…

“College football has never been better and I believe the BCS is part of that.”

This is actually a true statement, but it isn’t saying much. If something is better than asinine, does it make it good? No, it doesn’t. It makes it better than asinine. Yes, the BCS Championship Game is better than the pre-BCS system, but that doesn’t mean it can’t be drastically improved.

Hancock said the fact that other lower levels of college football use playoffs to decide their champions doesn’t mean it would work in the Football Bowl Subdivision. The second-tier of Division I football, the Championship Subdivision, has a 16-team playoff with all but the final played at home sites.

“It works at that level, I can’t deny it, but if you look attendance for those games, only Montana had decent attendance,” he said. “Many teams didn’t draw as well as they did in the regular season.”

All right, so because Hancock has some anecdotal data about lower level teams not drawing as well in the playoffs, we’re supposed to believe that home playoff games at the D1 level wouldn’t work either? Really? Like the Gators aren’t going to sell out the Swamp in the first round of an eight-team playoff? Give me a break.

This excerpt from ESPN (via the AP), Hancock throws out several debatable “facts” and says the case is closed.

Bill Hancock said a playoff at college football’s highest level would lead to more injuries, conflict with final exams, kill the bowl system and diminish the importance of the regular season.

More injuries? The current BCS system has five games. My proposed eight-team playoff would include seven games. Does Hancock really believe that the additional injury risk of two games is a valid argument against a playoff?

Kill the bowl system? The current system features a lot of lower-level bowls that feature teams that aren’t playing for a national championship. Players, coaches and fans attend these games as a celebration of a good season. How would holding a playoff affect this system in any way?

Diminish the importance of the regular season? If anything, it would increase the importance of the regular season. Under the current system, if a team loses a game it shouldn’t, it’s championship aspirations are effectively killed. With a playoff, that team would still have a fighting chance to make the postseason and compete for a title. And think about those fringe teams fighting for a playoff spot over the last couple of weeks. Every contest would become an elimination game. Under the current system, none of these teams would have an opportunity to play for a title.

Conflict with final exams? In an eight-team playoff, there are only four D1 teams in the entire country that would play more than one postseason game, and we’re worried about final exams?

Sigh.


Photo from fOTOGLIF

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What would a college football playoff look like this year? (Version 5.0)

Near the end of the Texas/Nebraska game, when it looked like the Cornhuskers might pull the upset, Brent Musbuger said repeatedly that a Texas loss would result in “BCS chaos.” But don’t we already have chaos? We have five undefeated teams — Alabama, Texas, Cincinnati, TCU and Boise State — and only two get to play for a national title. Of course, BCS apologists think that the system got it right. They dismiss TCU and Boise State because they aren’t from power conferences, and they’re hoping that Cincy loses to Florida in the Sugar Bowl so that they can dismiss the Big East champs as well.

Based on the various polls that are out there, 90% of the public want to see some sort of a playoff in college football. Over the last few weeks, I have been outlining my proposed eight-team playoff. Here are my assumptions:

1. The six BCS-conference champs get an automatic bid unless they are ranked outside the top 15. There would need to be some sort of ranking system used. For now, we will use the BCS. I’d rather do a straight #1-#8 seeding based on the rankings, but in order for a playoff to get implemented the big conferences would need some preferential treatment. That’s just the way it is and we all know it.

2. If a conference champ is ranked lower than #15 in the rankings, they give up their automatic bid and it becomes an at-large bid. (This rule is to ensure that the regular season keeps its meaning and only the elite teams make the playoffs.)

3. If a conference champ is ranked behind a non-BCS school, and have a head-to-head loss to that team, then they give up their playoff bid to that team. This is the “I Drink Your Milkshake!” rule.

4. Seeds and at-large bids are distributed based on the current BCS standings. Certainly, these rankings need to be tweaked to place more of an emphasis on head-to-head matchups, but they are fine for now. If an at-large team has a better BCS ranking than a conference champion, they will get a higher seed.

5. There will be three rounds of playoffs. The first round will be held at the home stadium of the higher-seeded team. The semifinals and the final will rotate amongst the four BCS cities (Miami, Pasadena, Tempe and New Orleans), so that those cities don’t lose the revenue from the bowl games.

Now that the regular season and conference championship games are over, how would a playoff shake out this year?

Read the rest of this entry »

What would a college football playoff look like this year? (Version 4.0)

For the last two weeks, I’ve constructed an eight-team bracket for a “what if” college football playoff.

Here are my assumptions:

1. The six BCS-conference champs get an automatic bid unless they are ranked outside the top 15. There would need to be some sort of ranking system used. For now, we will use the BCS.

2. If a conference champ is ranked lower than #15 in the rankings, they give up their automatic bid and it becomes an at-large bid. (This rule is to ensure that the regular season keeps its meaning and only the elite teams make the playoffs.)

3. Seeds and at-large bids are distributed based on the current BCS standings. Certainly, these rankings need to be tweaked to place more of an emphasis on head-to-head matchups, but they are fine for now. If an at-large team has a better BCS ranking than a conference champion, they will get a higher seed.

4. There will be three rounds of playoffs. The first round will be held at the home stadium of the higher-seeded team. The semifinals and the final will rotate amongst the four BCS cities (Miami, Pasadena, Tempe and New Orleans), so that those cities don’t lose the revenue from the bowl games.

5. If a conference champion is ranked behind a non-BCS school, and have a head-to-head loss to that team, then they give up their playoff bid to that team. This is the “I Drink Your Milkshake!” rule.

Georgia Tech lost to Georgia this week. How does that affect our bracket?

Read the rest of this entry »

What would a college football playoff look like this year? (Version 3.0)

Every Monday through the end of the college football season, I update my “what if” eight-team college football playoff. (Want to see how this bad boy has developed? Here are links for Version 1.0 and Version 2.0.)

Here are my assumptions:

1. The six BCS-conference champs get an automatic bid unless they are ranked outside the top 15. If they are ranked behind a non-BCS school, and have a head-to-head loss to that team, then they give up their playoff bid to that team. (I debuted this rule last week to account for Boise State’s head-to-head win over Oregon. I call it the “I Drink Your Milkshake” Rule.)

2. If a conference champ is ranked lower than #15 in the rankings, they give up their automatic bid and it becomes an at-large bid. (This rule is to ensure that the regular season keeps its meaning and only the elite teams make the playoffs.)

3. Seeds and at-large bids are distributed based on the current BCS standings. Certainly, these rankings need to be tweaked to place more of an emphasis on head-to-head matchups, but they are fine for now. If an at-large team has a better BCS ranking than a conference champion, they will get a higher seed.

4. There will be three rounds of playoffs. The first round will be held at the home stadium of the higher-seeded team. The semifinals and the final will rotate amongst the four BCS cities (Miami, Pasadena, Tempe and New Orleans), so that those cities don’t lose the revenue from the bowl games.

Read the rest of this entry »

What would a college football playoff look like this year? (Version 2.0)

Last week, I debuted this season’s “what if” college football playoff bracket, and there was one serious flaw — Boise State was left out of the playoff despite being ranked ahead of Oregon and having a head-to-head win against the Ducks. This week, I’ll remedy that.

Here are my assumptions:

1. The six BCS-conference champs get an automatic bid unless they are ranked outside the top 15. There would need to be some sort of ranking system used. For now, we will use the BCS.

2. If a conference champ is ranked lower than #15 in the rankings, they give up their automatic bid and it becomes an at-large bid. (This rule is to ensure that the regular season keeps its meaning and only the elite teams make the playoffs.)

3. Seeds and at-large bids are distributed based on the current BCS standings. Certainly, these rankings need to be tweaked to place more of an emphasis on head-to-head matchups, but they are fine for now. If an at-large team has a better BCS ranking than a conference champion, they will get a higher seed.

4. There will be three rounds of playoffs. The first round will be held at the home stadium of the higher-seeded team. The semifinals and the final will rotate amongst the four BCS cities (Miami, Pasadena, Tempe and New Orleans), so that those cities don’t lose the revenue from the bowl games.

I’m adding a fifth assumption, the “I Drink Your Milkshake” Rule. Last week, Boise State was left out of this playoff despite having a head-to-head win against Oregon and being ranked ahead of the Ducks. So, there is one more caveat for the conference champions: If they are ranked behind a non-BCS school, and have a head-to-head loss to that team, then they give up their playoff bid to that team. I drink your milkshake!

How does this affect our bracket? Let’s take a look…

Read the rest of this entry »

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