Tuesday Skull Session

By Johnny Ginter on December 14, 2010 at 6:00a

Happy Tuesday everybody, and welcome to your morning Skull Session. I have convinced myself that I have acquired some sort of unearthly power, not unlike that of an X-Man or a creepy kid in a Twilight Zone episode.

For you see my friends, it has become increasingly apparent to me that my mere presence, anywhere in the world, is enough to cause snow to somehow magically appear in times and places where it has been rare or unusual before. Case in point: where I was living in Japan, it had not snowed for five years.

Then, after my triumphant arrival, it snowed the following winter. And then it snowed again.

Now large swaths of southwest Ohio (where I live) find themselves happily digging out from a semi-unseasonably semi-significant snowfall. "Who should we thank for this magnificent gift from the skies?!?" everyone has surely been shouting in unison. "Who or what deserves our eternal gratitude for this ice and cold?"

Yes, tis I! I alone deserve your acclaim! How I do it I do not know, but surely the powers of the Norse god of snow, Ullr, corse through my veins. There can be no other explanation. NO! OTHER! EXPLANATION!


Okay maybe climate change or a new ice age or something. Either way: you're welcome.

What The Hell Is Going On In Iowa? This has been a really weird couple of days for the Iowa Hawkeyes. Starting RB Adam Robinson is suspended. WR Derrell Johnson-Koulianos was rung up on drug related charges and kicked off the team. Halfback Brandon Wegher has put in his two weeks' notice and decided to transfer out, which was shortly followed by Jewel Hampton, another halfback, deciding to transfer. The sum total of these defections coupled with the rumors (that I talked about last week) that the coaches have lost the locker room AND the whole team possibly getting drug tested as a result AND the fact that Vegas has now pulled Iowa's bowl game off the betting board suggests some big time stuff going down. Kirk Ferentz will be holding a press conference at 11 ET today to discuss... something... and it is going to be a doozy. Stay tuned.

Your "No Duh" Moment Of The Day The Detroit News furrows their brow and squints hard, trying to comprehend the reasons behind Denard Robinson falling out of the Heisman race, and comes to the conclusion that Michigan losing 5 of their last 7 games didn't help. Also Denard got hurt a ton. Before we applaud their incredible deductive powers, it should also be pointed out that they did an interesting comparison to Denard and Cam Newton. And guess what? Their total yardage numbers are almost exactly the same. As I said back in early October, if the dude could stay upright he'd be in it, and clearly he couldn't. The point I'm making with this? Auburn, with a middling defense, is 12-0 and playing in the National Championship. Michigan has a QB with almost the exact same numbers as Newton, and is sitting at 7-5. Coaching, kids. Coaching.

You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry These two articles just make me madder than I've ever been; they're basically just The Man (Jim Delany and some jackass from Chicago) talking about why the BCS is totally sweet and you need to stop hatin' bro:

Delany shot back, "Two leads to four [teams in a playoff]. Four leads to eight. I don't think there's any way to stop it. So you get to 16, which includes every conference. I think that would be a tremendous disservice to college football."

Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate leads to... suffering. By the way, Jim, a 16 team playoff would be awesome. You're wrong.

There's also a lot of stupidity in the Tribune article, but this is maybe the worst bit of it:

The playoff crowd argues the BCS is not a fair way to determine a champion. But would it be fair to Auburn or Oregon — the nation's best teams throughout the season — to have to win four more games to claim a national title?

YES. YES IT WOULD. Not only would it be fair to them, it would be fair to EVERYONE IN THE PLAYOFF. Another argument made here is the old "but someone would be left out of the playoff," as if excluding a team from an 8 or 16 team playoff is somehow worse than excluding an undefeated team from even the possibility of a National Championship. RRRRrggggghhhhhhh! Everything is dumb! Why do we put up with this crap?!? JOHNNY SMASH!!

Thanks Bob Mr. Bob Hunter of the Dispatch has some pretty good info in his articles, and on Friday he posted some interesting things regarding Darrell Hazell and the usual rumblings that go along with our two wunderkind assistant coaches, Fickell and Hazell. More on these guys in the future, but for now it's a story worth following if only to see where some of our possible heirs apparent to Tressel end up if they choose to go somewhere.

Why Football Is Great, In One Animated .Gif


Comments Show All Comments

iball's picture

I find the thought of a 16 team, single elimination tournament of college football's best teams absolutely appaling. Now, hand me my knickerbockers so I can milk the goat.

Wonder if Delaney thinks for now a playoff system could hurt his OBVIOUS intentions to expand the BX to 16? Duh.

“There’s one thing I have learned through all my adventures and conquests - it’s that some people are just wired for success. I had no choice when it came to being great - I just am great.” – Kenny Powers

tomcollins's picture

16 team playoff is awful.  It would absolutely kill the regular season.

I'm a fan of an 8 team playoff, but Delaney's fears are dead on for it expanding.  Look at the NCAA basketball tournament, which recently expanded again to 68 teams.  There were a lot of thoughts of it going to 96.

Something like this would be the order of preference to me:

8 team playoff > 4 team playoff > old Bowl System > BCS >>>>>> 16 team playoff

BED's picture

How does a 16 team playoff diminish the regular season?  It makes it more important.  Especially for the small conferences.  You think Miami (OH) wouldn't like a shot at TCU?  They would lose, but at least they made a big playoff game.

This is one of the most idiotic defenses of the BCS system.  There is no way a playoff diminishes the regular season.  That's just retarded.  You have to win your conference to make it.  If you're undefeated, your seeding is higher, so you can advance to the second round easier.


The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

BTwrestle04's picture

Guess I'm the only one that likes the BCS. I like the controversy. It's a fact that everyone loves drama except for when it's in your own life. The controversy keeps people talking and keeps me entertained. It also makes the regular season a whole hell of a lot more important.

tomcollins's picture

The BCS isn't awful.  I have the following problems with it:

1)  It's really bad at comparing strengths of schedules.  This is due to there being virtually no meaningful interconference games before bowls.  So what ends up happening is pure guessing.

2) It rewards teams for scheduling weak enough schedules to run the table, but stronger than the other undefeated teams.  TCU who played no one all year was a hair away from getting into the championship game.

3) Teams are very much at the mercy of many other teams that have nothing to do with their accomplishments.  If Ohio State beat Wisconsin, Oregon might be on the outside looking in (or it might have been us!).

4) Computers without margin of victory are completely awful

5) Human Polls are not very good either.

I like the following about it:

1) The teams selected are almost always deserving of a championship (unlike many sports like the NFL, MLB).  You won't see any teams barely above .500 claiming to be champions.

2) The regular season is interesting far beyond my favorite team.  I will care about a LOT more games.

3) It produces some very meaningful games in the bowls while still preserving tradition in many cases.


Take the top 6 conference champions (any conference).  Conferences can decide however they want to decide their champion.  Add in 2 at-large teams that might have been left out due to tiebreakers or just having unlucky scheduling, etc...  Every team there would deserve a shot and would be at least decent.  The regular season would still matter since seeding is important, and very few teams get in.  Top 4 teams must be conference champs.

This year it would have been:

1) Auburn vs. Boise St.

4) Wisconsin vs. Stanford

3) TCU vs. Ohio State

2) Oregon vs. Oklahoma

The only questionable team out of this mix really is Oklahoma, but their losses all came within their conference.  If the Big 12 was a ton harder than everyone else, it would be unfair to punish them since they won their conference and still finished in the top 6 conference champs.

slippy's picture

Re #1 from things you like - any team that can beat the best of the best 3 to 5 weeks in a row to win the championship is more than deserving of the championship.  Moreso than the teams they beat.

tomcollins's picture

I disagree strongly with this.  Take Alabama, who lost 3 conference games.  Say they can pull off 3 close wins in a playoff.  Why should they have a chance?  You are basically making the regular season meaningless if you can finish in a 4th place in your division just because you run hot for 3-5 games.  If you looked at the entire season, would they be the most accomplished team?  I don't think they would be.  If that is the case, just start the playoff in September with 128 teams.  Lose you are out.

I also disagree that Auburn should not have been the champ if they lost to South Carolina in a rematch.

Julius Erving's picture

A 3 loss Alabama team would not come close to making a 16 team playoff, so that is a strawman.

16 team playoff thsi year would work like this:

Conference champs x 11

PAC 10 - Oregon, SEC- Auburn, B1G 10 - Wisonsin, Big 12 - Oklahoma, Big East - UConn, ACC - Va Tech, Mtn West - TCU, WAC - Boise State, MAC - Miami, Conference USA - UCF, Sun Belt - FIU

5 at large teams - use the BCS to select them(Stanford, Ohio State, Arkansas and Pick 2 more from:  MSU/LSU/Missouri/Okla St./Nevada*)

* Note that a 3 loss Alabama team is ranked lower in the BCS than all of these teams and would not be eligible.


I'm not saying that system would be awesome, but it would not diminish the regular season as much as many say.

tomcollins's picture

It was a hypothetical question.  I'm not talking 16 team playoff.  His statement was that "any team that can win 3 games should be a champion".  Alabama clearly is good enough to pull it off some reasonable amount of time (>5% maybe).  They would be a terrible national champion.  So the argument is moot.  Lots of teams are capable of winning 3 games and running hot.  The real question is, why should those 3 games be more important than the 12-13 games before that?

So you are right, we should exclude some teams, regardless of if they have the capability to beat the best teams 3-4 weeks in a row.  We should take the most deserving teams, where only teams that deserve to be champions when looking at the entire season.

5 at larges would absolutely diminish the regular season.  You end up with teams like Oklahoma State and LSU in the mix, teams who lost 3 times or played poor schedules.  Oklahoma State vs. Oklahoma instead of being meaningful, would just mean who gets a better seed.

Look at NCAA Basketball.  No one gives a rats ass about the regular season.  Why?  Because pretty much any team that's a contender has a 99% chance of getting into the playoffs.  If you get a 1 vs a 2 or a 3 seed, it sucks, but really it's not *that* big of a deal.  No one cares until March.  All the drama about selection comes from teams that are completely unworthy of being champions.  Oh no, will this 20-10 team get in over this 20-10 team?!  How will they handle the injustice of it!

Another Jason's picture

How in the world does a 3-loss Alabama get into a playoff in the first place?  Here is the bracket based on the Death To The BCS 16-team model (with one change-Boise should have LSU's spot due to the BCS computer foul-up).  Notice that none of the at-large teams have more than 2 losses.

You will argue that smaller conference champions don't deserve a shot at the title because they're not as good as AQ champs.  And they're probably not.  But if they're not, then they will certainly lose in a 16-team playoff before reaching the title game, and you'll have nothing to worry about.  Why shouldn't they get a chance?  This is the kind of elitist, anti-competitive thinking that Delaney and the rest of the BCS-humpers constantly spew, and I can't believe there are real college football fans who buy into it.

It's funny to me that you think an Auburn team that didn't win their CONFERENCE should have gotten a shot at the NATIONAL title, but you don't want a playoff to take away the "meaning" of the regular season...

By the way, under the BCS, the regular season becomes instantly meaningless for non-AQ teams once they lose a single game.  For AQ teams, they're pretty much toast at 2 losses (barring '07-like insanity).  None of TCU's games meant anything apparently, even though they won all of them.

RoweTrain's picture

I'm not agreeing/disagreeing with anything you said, just wondering when Auburn didn't win their conference but people thought they should play for the national title?

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

tomcollins's picture

In a hypothetical situation where they lost to South Carolina I described.

Auburn would still have been the most deserving to be called SEC Champ, even though they have this terrible Conference Championship game.  It's truly idiotic that two teams go 1-1 against each other, one finishes 2 games ahead in the standings, and because the one game was marked special, it counts more than the rest of the season.  Money has trumped crowning a meaningful champion in that regard.

RoweTrain's picture

Got it.  Thanks. 

As far as your theory of going 1-1 against each other with one of those games being deemed special (you may find this as an apples to oranges comparison) but what about when the Patriots beat the Giants in the final game of the regular season but then lost to them in the Super Bowl?  What happens if this scenerio plays out in a college playoff, would you still feel the same way?

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

tomcollins's picture

That type of scenario is exactly what I hate.  The Giants couldn't even win their own division, were barely above .500.  The last game of the season was completely meaningless.

At some point, a rematch will happen, and a different team will win.  But at least at that point the teams competing will have similar resumes up to that point, so the winner would be more of a tie-breaker.  South Carolina was 3 full games behind Auburn.  I don't think that kind of disparity would occur in a limited playoff.

If South Carolina was 11-1 when they met, it would be a lot less of an issue.

Another Jason's picture

That's how divided conferences work though.  There's no way around it unless you stop playing cross-divisional games.  The fact that the SEC East produced such a weak champion should make you question how strong the SEC actually is.  How strong is the Pac-10?  Why are their undefeated champions better than say Wisconsin or Ohio State, each of whose one loss came to a one-loss team?

What makes a team "deserving" of a national title?

How many losses would every other team have to have before you would consider TCU "deserving" of a shot at the title?

tomcollins's picture

That their 5th best team is probably really good?  I don't know how that shows the SEC is weak.

The SEC East is not that great, I agree.  It's still not very bad either.

Stanford is better than Wisconsin based on common opponent.  Wisconsin barely beat a middle-tier Pac-10 team at home, Stanford rolled all but Oregon.  Arizona over Iowa also helps.  The bottom teams in the Pac-10 are significantly better than the bottom teams in the Big Ten as well.  There's a lot of parity, which is easy to confuse with weakness if you don't look carefully.

But it could have just been a bad day for Wisconsin, so it's at least debatable.

TCU absolutely is "deserving" at a shot, but less so than Auburn or Oregon (and even behind either if they had a loss).

Another Jason's picture

All it shows is that the SEC is horribly unbalanced this year, and all Auburn really had to do is win their division.  There are some good teams in that division, but it makes the road a little easier than what Wisconsin or Oregon had.

So, Stanford's 17-13 win over Arizona State is really that much better than Wisconsin's 20-19 win?  Come on.  Don't forget that when the Sun Devils played Wisconsin they were 2-0, with a whole season of possibilities ahead of them.  When they played Stanford, they had 5 losses under their belts and were coming off of 4 road games of their last 5.  But teams are always exactly the same, right?

"Rolled all but Oregon?"  Who's not looking carefully?  Besides the AzState game, won on a late-game drive, Stanford beat USC by 2 and a terrible Washington State by just 10 at home.

I disagree that the bottom of the Pac-10 is "significantly better" than the bottom of the Big Ten, but there's really no way of determining that.

So if TCU is deserving of a shot, how can any system in which they get that shot be worse than one in which they don't?

tomcollins's picture

Most of the Auburn hypothetical was about how dumb the Conference Champion playoff system is more than anything.  I hate it, especially since it's just a huge money grab.  I really admire the Pac-10's round robin, and it's a shame that the SEC moving to this abortion 20 years ago resulted in this.

Another Jason's picture

Round robin has its drawbacks too.  While unlikely, it is conceivable to have an unsolvable three-way tie in a round-robin situation.  At this point, the Pac-10 goes to BCS rankings like everyone else.

slippy's picture

Division 1-A College football is the ONLY sport where we base our champion on 'the most accomplished team.'  If we tried to pull that crap in any other sport we would get laughed at.  The champion is the team that wins the playoffs.  The season is in place to determine your place in the playoffs.  Sure a 2 or 3 loss team could get hot...but what are the chances of them losing 2 or 3 during the season, then beating a top 3 team, a top 8 team, a top 3 team and a top 3 team in 4 straight weeks?


The only way I see that happening is if they lost because they were out at least one or more of their best players.  So a team that loses 2 games without their starting quarterback should definitely get a chance if he comes back for the end of the year.

yrro's picture

Even without going to a tournament, there are huge things they could do to improve the BCS.

a) Get rid of the existing polls, and go to a special purpose selection committee (like the NCAA tournament) who actually watches the games and has some clue what is going on outside their own conference.

b) Require that all computer polls be published and open algorithms. Judge the algorithms used based on either some scientific standard ruleset that is comprehensible (such as the ELO chess algorithm) or by selecting those that best predict game outcomes. NOT based on which ones are tweaked to most closely match the human polls.

These two things alone would significantly improve the legitimacy of the BCS, even though having a one-game tournament for the champion would still suck.

tomcollins's picture

Mostly agree with this, although predicting outcomes is not a good goal IMO.

If a team that is likely the best in the country loses a few games by getting unlucky, they should not be rewarded for it.  One of the better computer polls at predicting, Sagarin Predictor has Stanford ahead of Oregon.  It is outrageous to think that Oregon, who has a better record, similar schedule, and beat Stanford by 21, would be left out, even if Stanford was a "better" team.  Auburn is #7, Alabama is #4.

Since most deserving is such a subjective term, it's hard to judge them.  The current computers don't do too bad of a job on it, but margin of victory should be included up to a point.

I agree with openness being a huge factor.  The recent "bug" found demonstrate that a closed system has no business deciding things this important.

Buckinnc's picture

4 16 team super conferences. 2 divisions in each conference. Play everyone in your division plus 2 cross division games and 2 ooc. Winners of each division play ccg. Conference champions are seeded using a bcs formula. 1 plays 4, 2 plays 3 in the higher seeds home stadium. Winners play in one of the bowl games. Everyone else in the conference with 6 wins goes to a bowl game. This keeps the bowls and makes the regular season important because you have to win your conference. And it only adds one game.

tomcollins's picture

You are missing a game, 11 game season for your case.

This would work well IMO.

Buckeyebrowny919's picture

I believe there has to be some sort of playoff system to present almost a checks and balances on human/computer polls. Yes to a certain degree the teams would get into said playoffs based on some sort of ranking system..but then the true better teams and talent would come out of that system. Not just a team that lost 1 bad game in the season but still may be the #1 team in the nation

To give anything less than your best, is to sacrifice the gift - Steve Prefontaine

tomcollins's picture

+1 here.  Humans and computers are not that good at finding the most deserving.  But mainly due to lack of data points between conferences at the top.

Chris Lauderback's picture

I'm really a 4 team playoff guy but I'd go to 6 to get the deal done (top 2 get a bye in 6 team scenario). There simply aren't 8+ teams most years that truly deserve a shot at the title, imo.

tomcollins's picture

6 is fine but there are logistical problems and money problems (a better team might earn less money by getting a better seed, for example).

Chris Lauderback's picture

Trust me, I'm sure there's a bonanza of problems with a 6 team version (or any version for that matter), I'm just going off how many teams I think should truly qualify.

Oh, and screw Cliff Lee.

tomcollins's picture

Is that based on this year or some historic average?  It varies so much each year, it's tough to tell.

Denny's picture

No, "Screw Cliff Lee" was based on Lee's historic average of never playing for the Yankees, I think. That's never varied.


Chris Lauderback's picture

LOL! Exactly. Historic average would be correct. In all seriousness, I have no problem with him going back to Philly, just sucks because Cashman can spin it all he wants but the Yankees definitely had all their off-season eggs in the Lee basket. With Grienke not a good fit and Pettitte potentially retiring, the Yankee rotation is going to be an issue.

RoweTrain's picture

I agree, but I'm all for it.

"Just bow up and go out and play." ~ D. Lee

"As it stands right now, I know I am the best athlete in college football." ~ B. Miller

BuckeyeSki's picture

Tell me about it dude...between the snow and Lee going back to Philly, people are on suicide watch here in NY

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Chris Lauderback's picture

No data, TC. Just my lazy, no research feeling. I guess I just don't want to see a playoff that allows too many teams in. I know everyone loves march madness (I sure do) but it's too big and considering just how important I like the CFB regular season to be, I think you gotta keep the playoff grid as small as possible. Plus, it's probably easier to maintain some form of the current bowl system if you keep it small.

tomcollins's picture

I'm pretty indifferent between it, but you really aren't going to exclude anyone worthy with 6 teams, which is the absolute #1 most important factor to me.  Some years that number is significantly below 6, though.

Buckeye Black's picture

There are this year.  The problem with playoffs is including stupid independents like ND somehow.  I like the 8 team playoff idea, and I bet Mich. State does too this year.

BacknBlack's picture

Unlike any High School, College or Pro sport played in America NCAA football has a meaningful regular season. Any form of playoff will detract from this and reduce the significance of all regular season games. Delany is a money grubing whore....but he has this right.

BED's picture

How?  You still have to win the conference to get in.  You still have to win a lot of games or go undefeated to get the #1 or #2 seed.  This argument is dumb.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

BacknBlack's picture

So your going to let every conf. champ in? At best the playoff system will start w/ 4-6 teams using rankings to determine who is in and who is out. And as far as winning lots of games you can forget about any meaningful non-conf. games at the start of the season as all the contending schools schedule cake games early.

tomcollins's picture

A playoff built around conference champions would see an increase in tough OOC games.  There is not a big risk in losing one, and a bigger reward in winning one.  With the current BCS, you'll see a lot of pansy scheduling since one loss you are almost always toast.

However, if you make it so winning a conference is not important and non conference games have a huge risk but little reward (currently not losing is the absolute most important thing, and after that, having one of the top 2 schedules of the teams that don't lose), few teams will play that many meaningful non conference games.  You see the common pattern of 2 complete cupcakes, 1 semi-cupcake, 1 reasonable opponent very often.

What I would like to see from title contenders:
1 total creampuff (say a team like Eastern Michigan or a I-AA team) as a warmup.

1 easyish team that is actually capable of an upset (Ohio is a good example) as a final tuneup.

1 mediocre major team (Kansas State, Georgia, Cal fit this)

1 really good team (pretty much any top 10 team)

I'd replace the easyish with an additional mediocre major program, but there's injury risk/grind factor of playing 12-13 games that I'd also want to balance against.

BacknBlack's picture

"A playoff built around conference champions would see an increase in tough OOC games.  There is not a big risk in losing one, and a bigger reward in winning one."

Not if the first tie break is overall record. As conferences grow in number of schools head to head will be less frequent (unless games are added) making tie breaks a real consideration in scheduling. 

You make a good point about the burn out factor, for this reason a loaded schedule will never be a good idea.

tomcollins's picture

This is a good point and shows how stupid that method is.  The Big Ten has one part of it right, that teams that plays I-AA teams get punished (but E. Mich is just as bad as a lot of I-AA teams).

Using margin of victory for tiebreakers (against the tied teams, or next best teams, etc...) would be preferable IMO.

BigRedBuckeye's picture

While I am generally in favor of a playoff, I think the most valid argument against it, which was raised above, is that someone WILL be left out. Right now, the issue is usually the undefeated team sitting at #3. I agree, a tough pill to swallow for that team, left out. But take the current standings and apply a 4, 8, or 16 team scenario (or whatever # you want to come up with if you include byes). Who do you pick as the 4th team? Stanford, or one of the Big10 teams? Or for 8 teams...you going to include 10-2 Arkansas over 11-1 Boise? Or 16 teams...Is Missouri better than a healthy Nebraska (who Nebraska beat head to head)? You so sure you want Va Tech over 10-2 Utah?

And keep in mind, this decision will have to be made with less data, at least a couple games earlier in the season (with more teams in the playoffs, presumably more regular season games would be lopped off). 

The point may be moot if the lower seeded teams repeatedly fail to win. For example, if you go 10, 20, 30 years and the champ never comes from the final 4 (teams ranked 13-16 entering the playoff), then it becomes less of a big deal. But are we sure that will happen? Hoops has a large enough field that this issue is moot for exactly this reason. Teams that just barely make the tournie do not do well. Would we say the same for a potential football tournie though? What would we think of Bama as a 15 seed this year???

Lastly, I think we all generally agree that as you move down in the rankings, they get less precise. The variation in agreement amongst the top 5 is usually slight, perhaps represented only by the reordering of a team or two, but as you get to 21-25, the variation gets greater. We often think of the last couple spots in the poll as a crap shoot, and the step from #23 to, say #26 is slight. In this way, drawing the line of demarcation between 16 and 17 is even more unfair, because we are much less sure of the order at that point.

In any event, I still am pro-playoff. Perhaps 8 is the best number, as it is likely to include all undefeated teams and provide a handful of head to head contests to be used to settle ties around the 8 spot.

And we'll drink to old Ohio, 'Til we wobble in our shoes! 

btalbert25's picture

I would say leaving Missouri or Nebraska out wouldn't be nearly as bad as leaving out and undefeated TCU, or Auburn a few years back, or UC/Boise/TCU last year.  Even the NCAA basketball tournament has teams left out.  We hear for 4 days after the selection why this team was robbed and that team had a better resume.  There's always going to be someone left out in the cold.

tomcollins's picture

The NCAA leaves out teams that often times don't even have winning conference records.  That's pathetic.  Those teams can whine all they want, but they seriously think they deserve a shot at being called a champion?

My biggest concern is leaving out teams who could not have done anything better themselves, or teams that had it so tough that dropping a game or two is equivalently hard to what teams who face easy teams every week do.

btalbert25's picture

I like the idea of 12 teams.  Tweak the BCS some, give the top 4 a bye, break it up into 4 3 team "regions" and go from there.  Dont' care too much about the conference champs as I don't think too many of them deserve a shot anyway.  UConn no way.  It may marginalize the conferences a little bit, but I really don't care.  Some conferences have 3 or 4 teams better than the champ of other conferences, the best teams deserve a shot, period.  UConn would've finished below Michigan in the Big 10, could you imagine if they played in the SEC? 

That's my favorite scenario, don't care much about all the ifs and whats.  The competition for those 12 spots would be unbelievable, and if teams know S.O.S is going to be a factor to get them a better seed well they may actually go out and schedule some good non conference games.

However, since no playoff is ever going to happen outside of a plus one, (which is a ridiculous idea) it' really pointless to talk about it.

tomcollins's picture

Yeah, who cares if you won or lost, if you might be the best team in the nation, you get a second chance!  Go undefeated against good teams, but get lucky in the process, you don't count since you just got lucky.

Why even play the games if you just want the "best" teams instead of the most deserving? Why would a 4th place finisher in any conference ever be worthy of being a national champion?

btalbert25's picture

Why would UConn deserve a shot?

tomcollins's picture

They wouldn't in my system.  Top 6 conference champs make it, plus 2 at large.  That should cover anyone deserving and not put anyone in that's too awful.

UCONN *may* have deserved it if the Big East was one of the tougher conferences and we didn't know it (but they did lose to Michigan, so that ends that debate).  Until we have meaningful non-conference games, it's really hard to tell if a 2-loss team from Conference A is more deserving than a 1-loss team from Conference B.

btalbert25's picture

Yet you constantly tell us how bad Wisconsin and MSU are compared to other 1 loss teams from other conferences.

tomcollins's picture

Yes, what's your point?

Although there aren't that many good 1-loss teams any more since most of the ones that had 1 have 2 due to harder schedules.

Stanford is better.

MSU is not good at all.

Wisconsin is probably pretty good, but not as good as Stanford.

And the craziest part is, we really have no idea for sure.  Wisconsin did play Arizona State, so that gives us some gauge.  MSU played no one outside of the conference but got shellacked by Iowa, which pretty much is enough proof.

We have a system that is quite good at finding the most deserving team in each conference (it has flaws, such as South Carolina possibly being a champion over Auburn, and MSU/Wisconsin/Ohio State being co-champions, but the automatic berth for Wisconsin is deserved).  It is very poor at figuring out where those conference champs stand against each other.  Our best indicator is looking back at the last 4-5 years and seeing how strong the conferences have been.

btalbert25's picture

My point was, on one had you say we have no way to guage which teams are comparable to other conferences, but on other threads you are so sure Team X is better than Team Y and it's because of some statistical analysis.  I guess I just don't know what changed from last week to this week that you wouldn't be sure if a 2 loss team from one conference we'll say Arkansas is better than a 1 loss  team from another Michigan State for instance.

Irricoir's picture

So any news on the Iowa press conference? It is now 1225 eastern time.

I don't always take names when I kick ass but when I do, they most often belong to a Wolverine.

RBuck's picture

According to the comments on BHGP it was mostly damage control. No more suspensions forseen. About half of it was supposedy how they conduct drug testing.

Long live the southend.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Everyone is considering ONLY how best to crown a deserving champion, which is fine, but only one part of a much larger, complex system.

For example, a 16 team playoff would not allow for a 12 (+1 CCG) game regular season. The champ of a conference tournament + NCG would have played 17 games - never! So you'd have to have, maybe, a 10-game schedule, which would be a disaster financially, keeping in mind that the athletic departments would be in world of hurt (blame Title IX?).

Also, not sure if any of these playoff formats + whatever bowl system was leftover in its wake would financially outperform - in terms of NET revenues - the existing system. Playoff proponents simply state that it would without having run any numbers.

RBuck's picture

You're just touching on the nightmare of the logistics involved of putting a 16 team playoff into place. Just a few more...where to play, getting fans there in short notice, home field advantage, etc.

Long live the southend.

Another Jason's picture

Home field advantage for the higher-seeded team throughout until a neutral-field championship game.  You will have no problem getting fans to games that way.

slippy's picture

The same nightmare that FCS, Div 2 and Div 3 have?  Even with FBS' much much much larger fan base?

tomcollins's picture

Actually, a larger fan base would make it harder.  Those schools will get very minimal attendance for their playoffs.

If you just gave HFA out like they do, then it would be less of a problem, but mixing it with the bowls would require a huge amount of travel by fans on very short notice.

Another Jason's picture

So don't mix it with the bowls.  Screw the bowls.  They can have their pick of the other 104 teams, or they can go away.  Either is fine with me.  A 16-team playoff that takes place throughout December and finishes on New Year's Day would make me forget all about watching teams I'd never watch otherwise in the Sponsor.com Money Bowl on a Tuesday night.

Another Jason's picture

Jim Delaney told Congress that a playoff would make more money and he is FOR the BCS.

Bucksfan's picture

The only thing this thread proves (along with pretty much every thread on a CF playoff I've ever run across) is that no two opinions on the matter are the same.  The descrepancy is vast, too...the difference between a 3 game playoff and a 15 game playoff is not trivial, neither is standardizing everyone in the nation (all conference champs would have to be decided by a championship game, still 10 years away, all teams would have to be in conferences, plus there's the small matter of telling the 100-year-old bowl trustees to go fuck themselves after years of partnership).

The two best teams are meeting this year.  I'm excited for it, I certainly don't speak for everyone.

tomcollins's picture

Has there ever been a year where the BCS has given a disappointing slate of teams in the title game?  The only ones I can think of is when USC got left out and Auburn got left out. Even then, the two teams left were quite deserving.


You make a great point that there are so many variations that its easy to see everyone agrees on a playoff, but once you get to implementation, there are still huge disagreements.  It's like when voters get outraged with incumbents and demand CHANGE! but there are hundreds of different things that people actually want all in conflict with each other.

Bucksfan's picture

Tom, you mean to tell me we actually agree on something?!  Awesome.

Seriously, there hasn't been legit controversy in 7 years, and the AP is proof of that.  They could have crowned Texas their champion in 2008, but chose to agree with the Coaches.  Certainly their perrogative, but that just means the existence of the national title game is generally accepted as canon.

So, I wish people could just stop worrying and love the bowls.  I can't tell you how unmemorable any Elite-8 basketball game was in 2004, but I can tell you that I watched the Alamo Bowl in all its glory.  I know the Big Ten vs. SEC record in bowls BECAUSE of this system.  If there was a playoff no one would care about that.  I fear such futility.  It's unique, and I look forward to a football game every day for a solid 3 weeks.

BuckeyeSki's picture

It'll be a great game for all those Arena Football fans out there...thats for sure

Banned from BlackShoeDiaries since 2008. Crime: Slander/Defamation of Character Judgement: Guilty

Doc's picture

I think the 16 team tourney would be sweet.  No matter how you do it somebody is going to be on the outside looking in.  Start the season on the last weekend of August and eliminate bye weeks.  The final regular season game should be the weekend before Thanksgiving, and the Conf. Champ. Game be the first weekend of December.  Play each week after that.  The higher ranked team is the home team and they play at home.  When you get to the final 4 then rotate among the four big bowls (Rose, Sugar, Orange, Fiesta) with the defacto NCG the following Saturday night.  All games are played on Saturdays (like God intended).  Screw the NFL and their playoffs getting in the way.  Watching tOSU play on a Tuesday night is fooking ghey.


Just my $0.02


CJDPHoS Member

The Official DDS of 11W

btalbert25's picture

Two things will always get in the way of a true championship/playoff.

1) Money:  The conferences, BCS, and NCAA are making buttloads off of the current systems and they couldn't find away to recoup all the corporate dollars that pour into the bowls.  They will use the excuse that the kids love the bowls, fans make vacations out of it and the local economies of the cities that host the bowls, even though half the bowls are less than sold out because who cares is Miami of Ohio plays Troy in a bowl game.  Plus kids love the bowls because they get a ton of free shit and a week's vacation somewhere.

2)College football fans and their unwillingness for change.  I personally don't see why fans even want a championship at all.  Seems like everyone is perfectly happy with the system that was around for 80 years or so, where your championship was your bowl game.  So if you made the Rose Bowl and won you were the champs in your own mind.  Tradition is fine and dandy, but every sport has changed as time has gone on.  Seems that college football fans are just not content with anyone tweaking the game at all.  Any hint of a small change sends everyone into a rage that tradition is being pissed on and they don't care about it anymore.  Maybe that's not all college football fans, but it certainly is a constant theme on many boards.

In the end, the only thing that will ever change is they will implement a plus one, which will be ridiculous, but for 15 years or so people will find this a more "fair" way of determining a champ and be content with it that way.  The one sad tradition that everyone seems content with is having bad teams make bowl games, maybe they'll have 60 bowls so everyone gets to experirence Birmingham or Nashville in January.

vidstudent's picture

The fans are more than willing to change this any *day* now.


The holdup isn't the money, either, since schools making the playoff will make more of it; a playoff with bowls for everyone else above .500 would work just fine.


The problem is the control of money, which would see some go to schools with football programs of merit outside of the four to six conferences that control things.  The SEC and Big Ten don't want to lose control.

Nicholas Eckert


BED's picture

I've continuously said we should keep the other bowls around as sort of an NIT system.  Consolation prize if you don't make the tourney.  So you can still get some $$.

I like a 16 team playoff because it levels the playing field for the weaker conferences. Every conference gets in, and we get 5 at large. The MWC, WAC, and MAC have just as strong a claim to making a playoff as the Big East and the ACC in most years do for making BCS bowls.

This is all moot if we go to 16 team superconferences.  That would knock the number down to 6 conferences total or so. Making an 8 team playoff possible. 

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

tomcollins's picture

Read what you said again:

"The MWC, WAC, and MAC have just as strong a claim to making a playoff as the Big East and the ACC in most years do for making BCS bowls."

I know the Big East especially isn't quite as strong as the other conferences, and the ACC gets a bit of a bad rap, but you really are saying they have "just as strong a claim" as the MAC?  I know the MWC and WAC have had some very good teams at the top, and sure, those individual teams might have claims.  

So look at this picture and tell me which belongs and which doesn't:

9-4 Miami (OH) vs. 11-2 Virginia Tech

11-2 Central Michigan vs. 11-2 Georgia Tech

9-4 Virginia Tech vs. 8-5 Buffalo

11-2 Virginia Tech vs. 8-5 Central Michigan

9-4 Central Michigan vs. 11-2 Wake Forest

Keep in mind the ACC games are going to be MUCH harder.  Even then, the MAC couldn't do better than 1 time equal the ACC Champ in raw record.

Of course, you are also forgetting the BE Champ, who is generally not too shabby either:

2006: Lousiville 11-1

2007: West Virginia 10-2

2008: Cincinnati 11-2

2009: Cincinnati 12-0

2010: Connecticut 8-4 (the worst one of 5 years)


MWC and WAC champs, sure.  But saying the MAC = ACC is really wrong.

BED's picture

My point was that the MAC has strong teams some years.  Northern Illinois, who got upset by Miami in the MAC championship game is 10-3.  And one of those losses was a 6 point loss to Illinois, which they could've won.

The ACC generally has been better, but the Big East is a joke.  I apologize for lumping the ACC in with them, but they have been much weaker (top to bottom) than the other 4 BCS conferences over the last 5 or so years.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

tomcollins's picture

No, the MAC does not have strong teams.  MAC teams get good records when they avoid scheduling any decent teams sometimes, yes, but they aren't even in the same ballpark, even in their best years.  


Northern Illinois lost to Iowa State by 17 and Illinois by 6.  That's not even close to a good team, and probably half the teams in the Big East are better than them, if not more.  Iowa State couldn't even make a bowl.

Again, which of those last 5 teams in the Big East are jokes?  Are they elite teams?  No, but UCONN this year is on par with your best MAC champ.  Cincinnati the last two years?  WVU when they almost were in the title game and absolutely crushed Oklahoma?  Louisville the year they almost made the title game?  Those teams are arguably better than the ACC Champs in many cases.

ACC and Big East may be a bit lacking at the top, but their depth has not been the problem.  Those conferences have a very high number of "decent" teams each season, and the teams beating up on each other shows the result of that.  ACC has Duke, who is almost always terrible, but besides that they have been fairly deep top to bottom.

MAC drops off like a cliff after you look at their top team (and even those teams wouldn't finish in the top half of the BE or ACC).

Look at the MAC's top teams results against the big boys:

Northern Illinois (covered)

Miami (34-12 loss to 7-5 Florida, 51-13 loss to 10-2 Missouri)

Toledo (41-2 loss to 7-5 Arizona, 31-20 win against joke Purdue, 57-14 loss to Boise)

Ohio - (43-7 loss to 11-1 Ohio State but slight edge in mascot battle)

These are not top teams.

The best MAC team I can think of are the Ball St. team that nearly ran the table and Ben Rapelesberger's Miami team.   Miami lost to Iowa 21-3, Ball State lost to Buffalo by 18 and Tulsa by 32.

Surely, it is possible that a MAC team does actually get talent and deserves to be in the discussion, but it hasn't been true for the last 10 years.

BED's picture

Cincinnati two years in a row for one.  They were (are) a joke.  They won out last year with their toughest non-conf. game being either Oregon State or Illinois.  Impressive.  And then Florida curb-stomped them in the Sugar Bowl.  The year prior, Oklahoma crushed them in Norman (their only tough non-conf. game), got pummeled by a 7-5 UConn, and then lost to a weak ACC champ VATech (9-4, ranked 19) in the Orange bowl by 13.

The Big East has had a few flashes in the pan.  Louisville, WVU.  Just like the MAC.  No sustained greatness since the realignment.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

tomcollins's picture

Are they title contenders?  No.  Are they more impressive than MAC teams?  By a longshot.

Are they a great conference?  No.

But there is a difference between mediocrity and utter trash, and the Big East is at least a significant level above the MAC.  The Big East is even superior to the MWC and WAC top to bottom, although the top is a bit shakier in the BE, but the bottom is far, far superior to those 2.

Again, give me an example of a single MAC team that is more impressive than either the Big East or ACC champ of that same year.

BED's picture

All right, I concede.  Arguing is good for the soul. :)

I guess I'm just sick of Big East fanboys (they exist) talking about how good they are (last few years, not so much this year).  Especially those idiots down I-71 who thought they were the shit the last two years.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

btalbert25's picture

I don't see a situation where the bowls wouldn't be retained anyway.  They already are an NIT.  If you don't make the BCS title game it's all just a consolation.  Every team from 6-6 to 12-0  with a few exceptions makes a bowl.  In the next couple of years it's going to be even more teams.  You can't diminish a system that already allows bad teams to get rewarded. 

Another Jason's picture

What I'd really like to see is an ACTUAL "NIT" for football.  Have the 16-team national championship tourney and then another tourney (who cares how many teams) for another less-desirable-but-still-kind-of-cool "championship" for okay-to-good teams that don't make it in.  At least it would give us something to watch on Tuesday and Thursday nights.

gwalther's picture

Haha. The difference between Auburn's D and Michigan's is that Michigan's D WISHES they were "middling."

Class of 2008

tomcollins's picture

Auburn's D is much better than middling.  Their opponents get a lot more possessions due to Auburn's offense scoring quickly, so on average they will allow more points than more slower moving offenses.  Their per possession points allowed is actually quite impressive.

RedQueenRace's picture

They have also been very good in the second half.

BED's picture

+1, but I do agree with Tom.  Auburn's D is legit, though really dirty players.

The Ohio State University, College of Arts & Sciences, Class of 2006
The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law, Class of 2009

JakeBuckeye's picture

We agree that they are dirty players, in my opinion some of the dirtiest bunch of players I've ever seen, but at best that defense is mediocre. Maybe their line puts them up to an "average" grade.

tomcollins's picture

You have to realize how terrible the average defense is.  An average defense is along the lines of Lousiana - Monroe or Central Michigan.  Auburn crushes those teams.

Are they an elite defense or even very good?  No.  But they are probably about a top 35ish defense.  They aren't bad, but they aren't great.  They get a really bad rap compared to reality, though.

Another Jason's picture

54th in scoring, 11th in rushing, 105th in passing.  Oregon scores fast too, and they are 14th in scoring, 16th in rushing, 56th in passing.

Obviously level of competition has something to do with that, but I don't think you can justify 105th in pass defense by saying it's because they score fast.

tomcollins's picture

If I were trying to defend Auburn as a top defense, you are right.  I have only claimed they are a bit above average, but not very good (30-40ish in the nation).

Scoring, rushing, passing defenses are pretty poor metrics for measuring strength.  A team that gets 4 possessions per game and scores all 4 times on 99 yard drives will only get 28 points on scoring offense and 396 yards.  Compare that to a team who gets the ball 14 times in a game, scores on 5 of them, and gets 410 yards.  One offense is much more efficient than another (assuming similar opponents), and it's not the one that scored the most points or gained the most yards.  Obviously this example is contrived and  extreme, but the point still stands.  You need to look at another component, and that is number of possessions.  You also should throw away garbage time scoring drives as well (don't count them against you or for your team).

FEI pretty much does this.  It will look at how efficient teams are at scoring when they have the ball or how inefficient their opponents are when they have the ball, and adjust it for opponents.  And looking at those numbers, Auburn is a surprising #10 defense, and Oregon is #16.

FEI is not perfect, though.  I don't know the exact calculations, but potential flaws include teams that have to go longer distances would be counted as more inefficient.  So if you have a really good offense, your defense will be a bit overrated since your opponent won't take over at midfield as often and won't score as often as if they were at their own 20 or 10.  It may account for this, but I'm not sure as I can't find a formula.  It certainly is better than just looking at raw yards or raw points.

I'm not going to justify Auburn's pass defense.  I'd definitely think it's fair to call them below average.  I think it's a bit skewed in the numbers you look at since teams are more likely to pass against them in general due to that weakness.

For example, of the teams they faced, only these teams ran more attempts than they did pass attempts (I'm counting sacks as pass attempts, unlike college football):

Clemson (46 rush/35 pass)

LSU (34 rush, 33 pass)

Their YPP for passing is pretty poor (although not epically bad), although I don't have the rankings for where their defense is YPP (or even adjust it for talent levels of offenses they faced).

Games where more passing is involved ends up in more possessions and more plays as well.  Auburn opponents had 890 plays in 13 games (68 per game).  Compare that to Wisconsin 732 plays in 13 games (61 per game).

So yes, Auburn's pass defense is not very good.  But pretty much any team with a defense in the 30-40 range will have weaknesses and strengths.  However, a skew from 54th to 35th is perfectly reasonable when you account for opponent strength (Auburn had a much harder than average schedule) and possessions of opponents.

Another Jason's picture

I'm surprised you consider FEI a reasonable system when it ranks a defense you consider to be about 35th in the nation as 10th in the nation.

All statistical approaches have flaws, as do all "eyeball" approaches and any other kind of approach you could ever possibly conceive.  There are simply too many variables on every play that can never be measured or even noticed.

But when a team is 105th in the country in pass defense, that says SOMETHING.  Obviously, if you're terrible at something, teams will attack that, making you look even more terrible at it.  But you're still terrible at it.  Auburn has beaten some teams with good offenses, but have they played a team with an offense as good as Oregon's?  Pretty sure they haven't.  That also works the other way, except Oregon's D appears to be at least a little bit better.

Forgive some of us if we're not excited about an all-offense title game.