How was this bowl season better than a playoff?

Auburn Tigers quarterback Cam Newton (R) is tackled by Oregon Ducks Spencer Paysinger during the second quarter in the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game in Glendale, Arizona, January 10, 2011. REUTERS/Mike Blake (UNITED STATES – Tags: SPORT FOOTBALL IMAGES OF THE DAY)

Bill Hancock seems like a nice enough guy but he’s delusional if he thinks that this past bowl season was a rousing success and that it proved that there’s no need for a playoff.

First and foremost, that title game was terrible. It may have had an exciting finish but a great game it was not.

Two of the most explosive offenses in the nation were on display Monday night and yet, you couldn’t have asked for worse field conditions. This should have been the most entertaining game of the season but from the opening kickoff, players resembled hockey players sliding on a sheet of ice. Neither team could catch their footing, which is probably why the combined score totaled only 41 points (or 31 fewer points than what Vegas installed for the over/under). How does this happen in an indoor stadium when the grass can easily be maintained?

Granted, it’s not the BCS’ fault that the game was rather lousy on a whole. Even if there were a playoff, there would be no guarantee that all the games would be exciting. But at the very least, the teams would be playing for something every week.

The matchup between Auburn and Oregon was dead on, but the BCS largely struck out with its other games. They made Stanford fly cross-country just to crush an overmatched Virginia Tech team and there’s no reason to relive the Oklahoma-UConn debacle.

The Rose Bowl and the Sugar Bowl were both highly entertaining – I’ll give the BCS that. But why must there be a long delay between the BCS bowl games and the championship? And for the love of college football, why were the Go Bowl, the Cotton Bowl, the BBVA Compass Bowl and the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl shown as a lead up to the national title game? I felt bad for the kids who played in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl because nobody cared by that point. They made those poor kids play on Sunday night following four NFL playoff games – only action junkies tuned into that one.

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Rick Reilly’s lame jokes undercut his argument

Rick Reilly wrote a piece about how TCU’s win over Wisconsin proves, yet again, that college football needs a playoff. I agree with just about everything he says, but then he writes this:

What a lie this BCS era is. They say a playoff would take too much time away from school, yet Oregon’s players will have had 37 days off when they play again.

They say with this system, “every game counts.” Except of course, TCU’s epic win over Wisconsin to stay undefeated Saturday. Counts exactly as much as a rainbow to Stevie Wonder.

Here’s what was going through my mind as I read that section…

What a lie this BCS era is. Yep. They say a playoff would take too much time away from school, yet Oregon’s players will have had 37 days off when they play again. Yep. They say with this system, “every game counts.” Except of course, TCU’s epic win over Wisconsin to stay undefeated Saturday. Not epic, but yep. Counts exactly as much as a rainbow to Stevie Wonder. Wait, whaa? Leave Stevie out of it!

Seriously, dude is blind. He’s had enough to deal with in his life without a sportswriter (who has won National Sportswriter of the Year 11 times — sigh) invoking his handicap to make a lame joke so that his column will seem like it’s funny.

This is why I don’t generally read Rick Reilly. I read this piece because I’m in favor of a college football playoff and I wanted to see if he had anything new and/or interesting to add.


Mark Cuban seeks to create college football playoff

April 10, 2010: Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban during the game between the Sacramento Kings and the Dallas Mavericks at Arco Arena in Sacramento, CA. Ben Munn/CSM.

After two failed bids to buy a baseball team, Mavs owner Mark Cuban has now set his sights on fixing the college football postseason.

“The more I think about it, the more sense it makes as opposed to buying a baseball team,” said Cuban, who tried to buy the Chicago Cubs and Texas Rangers within the last few years. “You can do something the whole country wants done.”

Cuban said he envisions either a 12- or 16-team playoff field with the higher seeds getting homefield advantage. The homefield advantage, Cuban said, would ensure the college football regular-season games would not lose any importance.

The bowl games could still exist under Cuban’s plan, but he said he would make it more profitable for programs to make the playoffs than a bowl.

“Put $500 million in the bank and go to all the schools and pay them money as an option,” Cuban said. “Say, ‘Look, I’m going to give you X amount every five years. In exchange, you say if you’re picked for the playoff system, you’ll go.’ “

I think 12 or 16 teams is too aggressive too early. In my proposed eight-team playoff, all of the teams that would miss the playoffs (Michigan State, LSU, Arkansas) had an opportunity to seal a bid earlier in the year, but failed to do so. This ensures the regular season keeps its importance, which is something that BCS apologists bring up every time they attempt to defend their flawed system.

Other than that, I’m glad to see Cuban focusing his efforts on this, because a college football playoff seems to be going nowhere fast. Maybe throwing money at the problem will convince schools to go to the playoff instead of the BCS, but it’s going to take a lot of convincing.

What would a college football playoff look like this year? (Part II)

AUBURN, AL - NOVEMBER 13: Quarterback Cameron Newton  of the Auburn Tigers celebrates with fans after their 49-31 win over the Georgia Bulldogs at Jordan-Hare Stadium on November 13, 2010 in Auburn, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Last week, I outlined what my proposed eight-team playoff bracket would look like prior to Championship Weekend. Boise State got the 8th and final bid because they beat the Hokies straight up early in the season and were ranked ahead of VT in the BCS standings. Let’s see if anything has changed in seven days…

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.

So here is how an eight-team playoff would look at this point…

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Has the BCS worked? Let’s take a look

PASADENA, CA - JANUARY 04:  Vince Young #10 of the Texas Longhorns runs past Frostee Rucker #90 of the USC Trojans to score a touchdown and put the Longhorns up by one in the final moments of the BCS National Championship Rose Bowl Game at the Rose Bowl on January 4, 2006 in Pasadena, California.  (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)

Earlier this week, I took a look back at all of the BCS championship games and whether or not they really pit the top two teams in the country against each other. But more importantly, whether or not it was a slam dunk that these were the top two teams, and you couldn’t make an argument that someone else possibly deserved a shot.

Now, granted, my memory is fuzzy on the really early ones, as I was still in high school for the first two years of the BCS, but I have a pretty good recollection of the rest of these games/years.

It’s a long post, but click through to see if the BCS has really gotten it right, or if we’ve been missing out all these years. Read the rest of this entry »

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