The Wrath of Con

By Ramzy Nasrallah on January 16, 2012 at 2:00p
You can't spell Walrusball without L, S or UA dominating, perfect season soured by a disastrous BCS game. Sound familiar?

College football has been around long enough to have revisited more than a few of its familiar plot lines.

Last Monday’s BCS title game - the deliberately-manufactured encore of a matchup we had just witnessed before Thanksgiving - produced a script that was intimately familiar to anyone who has paid attention throughout this BCS era.

No, it was not the offensive futility of two evenly-matched, grossly oversigned teams whose liposuctioned depth charts annually enable them to have starter-caliber benchwarmers.

The deja vu of 2011's finale was the very public and shocking suicide of a previously revered and unblemished champion. LSU ran out of greatness all at once, on the most inconvenient stage imaginable. The Tigers seemed to have sprung a leak sometime between its conference title game and its arrival in New Orleans.

What happened to the SEC champion, largely by its own hand, gave Buckeye fans a glimpse back into what it must have been like for outsiders to witness Ohio State’s own self-disembowelment back in the early days of 2007.

Those were not the same Tigers we had seen throughout the fall, crushing Oregon, West Virginia and the rest of its conference (as well as both Northwestern State and Western Kentucky, because money is so awesome).

LSU looked nothing like the team that had punched out 38 ppg against a formidable schedule. It had the same uniforms, helmets and capricious head coach, but unlike its twin from the regular season it was unable to impose its will - normally through its rushing attack - or by the thievery via its defense (30 turnovers) - on the Crimson Tide for a second time.

The team that Ohio State had put on the field in Glendale back in January 2007 wouldn’t have beaten Northern Illinois that night, let alone the array of bowl teams and the pair of number twos that it bested during that regular season. That team wore the same uniforms but in no way resembled the juggernaut that had come in on a 19-game winning streak.

That Buckeye team certainly wasn't beating Florida, and once the fervor of Ted Ginn's kickoff return died down it was abundantly clear that if the Gators felt like scoring touchdowns on every single drive, they probably could.

Ohio State's previously-scheduled coronation was abruptly cancelled and the whole world felt like it was crashing down in slow-motion, as it probably did for LSU fans last Monday.

LSU provided all of the uncomfortable disbelief without the shock or grief that accompanies such punishment when it’s your own team. It was the difference between seeing flashing police lights directly behind you on the highway and seeing some hapless stranger getting pulled over instead.

While this year’s BCS finale wasn’t the same flavor of outright slaughter Florida unloaded on Ohio State in Glendale, it delivered two very similar lessons: 1) Listening to everyone telling you how great you are for several months destroys adrenalin, while 2) listening to everyone telling you how disrespected you are fosters it.

Like Florida, Alabama played terrific defense that was aided by an absolutely horrendous game plan. The Tigers were slow off the snap offensively, ran that same handful of futile, failing plays and executed without any urgency or purpose, coming off of an undefeated campaign that had seen them flipping a switch and devouring opposition regardless of scheme or setting.

Alabama was visibly more energetic and determined from the outset, having been handed a second title chance despite losing at home in November by virtue of “looking like one of the two best teams in the country" which annihilates the notion that college football's regular season carries any purpose relating to its postseason.

Hot dogs? I think that guy is selling hot dogs. Hot dogs! Hot dogs!The most damaging loss in Ohio State history ended a 19-game winning streak.

LSU had already achieved coronation by virtue of having won the Game of the Century as well as the SEC championship, which is easily the most prestigious among the major conferences. The Tigers strung together 13 straight wins with what could most kindly be called an unsophisticated passing game. This fed into the idea that their guys were simply better.

A month off didn’t make LSU hungry for one more. The Tigers showed up in New Orleans to shoot baskets and drink juice boxes. The Crimson Tide arrived with the urgency and determination of Liam Neeson trying to get his daughter back from an Albanian gang of human traffickers.

That was LSU’s second 1 vs. 2 matchup of the season; granted, it was Alabama's too, but losing one of those leaves a much different appetite for a Part Two than winning does. Five years earlier, Ohio State was in Glendale participating in its third such Game of the Century that season.

Snowflakes aren’t identical, but they sure as hell look alike, especially if you squint.

The top-ranked Buckeyes that bested the second-ranked Wolverines to close the 2006 regular season looked nothing like the team that arrived in Arizona to play in its fourth BCS game there in five seasons.

Try and imagine how the 2006 Buckeyes would have fared against the 2006 Gators had they also played during the regular season. Ohio State won at #2 Texas, at #13 Iowa under the lights and against an 11-0 #2 Michigan team that had suddenly lost its modern-day program patriarch hours prior to kickoff.

There were a couple of other cosmetic 2007 repeats in the 2012 BCS title game as well: Ginn's leg bending the wrong way following his own great play was replaced by Alabama linebacker CJ Mosley's hip, which was dislocated seconds after receiving a Stanley Jackson-like handoffterception from Jordan Jefferson.

Moments after handling the present, his gift horse was ripping him to the turf, converting his previously-straight leg into something resembling a misshapen pipe cleaner.

Similarly, while nobody would ever confuse LSU Honey Badger and Heisman Finalist Tyrann Mathieu with Jamario O'Neal, Alabama showed no fear of the safety, repeatedly throwing right over the diminutive star's head.

Florida also realized something Ohio State's opponents had not fully-exploited: O'Neal was very easily confused. Put enough receivers on the field and O'Neal would be part of Ohio State's defensive package. Forty days of disrespect and scouting changes the complexion of what a matchup between these two teams might have looked like had they played sooner.

That is also true in Alabama and LSU's case as well. We actually saw what happens when they play sooner. That's how those teams match up in the proper context: In the continuum of a college football season, not after an entire month away from competition.

They're virtually even teams in that context. They were far from even last Monday night.

For decades college football had a truly mythical title that was frequently shared among teams that never met. In retrospect, that was only mildly frustrating but it was exponentially more tolerable than what the postseason has evolved into.

As long as college football insists on having a title game while wrecking it with the BCS, we're never going to have a true championship game. Navigating through a playoff - even if it only takes a couple of games to get to the final - is the only valid way to measure the true championship grit of a team.

That's why every other level of college football and every single other team sport on the planet does it that way.

Until the BCS is killed off, we'll continue to gauge champions mainly by how well they stay focused in navigating through the holidays and postseason banquet circuits. That's a familiar plot line that needs to be retired forever.


Comments Show All Comments

Baroclinicity's picture

Love the writing, Ramzy.  Disagree about the playoff.

I argue that the BCS tells us who the best team is more so than any playoff would.  Playoffs tell you who is hot at the right time, not necessarily who the overall best is (although sometimes you can still get the best through a playoff, no doubt). 

In hoops, just last year:  was UConn the best team out there?  They got hot at the right time.  Could Ohio State, last year, have beaten them?  I think they could have.

We risk watering down the regular season.  In hoops, we blew the doors off Duke in November.  What will that mean in March when we will have been a lock for the tourney for at least a month?  Not much.  What did it mean for Duke?  Not much.  While not a sexy matchup, LSU/W. Kentucky may have had more meaning.  Despite the blow out, if LSU lost, it would have been earthshaking.

Do we really want to give teams like Arkansas and Oregon from this past season a chance to win it all when they don't take care of business in a very short regular season?

Understand that I think a lot of us that are anti-playoff are not pro-BCS.  I think most agree that a change needs to be made, but a playoff goes in the wrong direction.

I'm definitely pro-plus one.  Under most circumstances, if you can't get into the top 4, you don't desrve a shot.

Flame on, people.

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

Maestro's picture

I am not willing to go full playoff either.  Especially because the southern schools aren't going to allow for home games in the early rounds for the northern teams.  Without home games in playoffs for the higher seeds the idea is a joke IMHO.

A Football Final Four is cool, but that's all I would like to see.

vacuuming sucks

Brutus's picture

Everybody knows you never go full retard playoff.

tampa buckeye's picture

Oh ya i think the nfl should adopt a bcs system too then we could have just watched the packers in the super bowl. Do you see how stupid that sounds?
A playoff isnt just the better way its the only way you get a true champ.

Baroclinicity's picture

Of course, if you read the post, I say that I'm not necessarily pro-BCS, so that statement is pointless. 

When you're holding a hammer, everything looks like a nail.

boojtastic's picture

You can easily make the argument that a playoff is extraneous. Baseball crowned League champions based on regular season records for decades. Purists (and people who like being right) would argue that it produces a more effective champion, though not a revenue-maximizing product.

I would have happily seen the Packers play in the Super Bowl (coming from a Chicagoan), as they are clearely--over a full body of work--a superior team to the Giants. 

A playoff is marketable because it is unpredictable. Its unpredictability makes its outcomes inefficient in determining the "best." Playoffs are the natural continuation of the trend that Ramzy rightly denounces, not some panacea.

faux_maestro's picture

Baseball crowned League champions based on regular season records for decades.


The only problem with this is that there were no divisions (NL East, Central, West etc.) only a National League and American League. Each National League team played essentially the same schedule so it was fair, everyone played the same competition. How will that work in NCAA Football?

Your mom told me she wants a Dicken Cidar.

Ramzy Nasrallah's picture

Notice that the Packers (Rodgers, really) basically took three weeks off before playing the Giants. Hmm...

cplunk's picture

The true champ is the one who won the regular season, not the team that won the playoff. That's what people are trying to point out. 

In the Packers example, isnt the best team over 16 games a more worthy champ than the best team in a short sinle-elimination tournament? I think so.

True champs are only determined in the European soccer leagues- where every team plays a home-home series against every other team and whoever finishes first is the champ. The tournament is just for a different trophy.

It isn't possible to have every team play every other team twice in football, so automatically there is no true champ. A playoff winner isn't any more valid than a BCS winner or an AP poll winner. All three methods are BS. Playoffs only seem more fair- they aren't, and they come at the cost of the regular season being essentially meaningless.

Brutus's picture

I think you make some good points about watering down the regular season, but you risk that with any playoff in any sport. Does anyone really think the Giants are one of the two best teams in the NFC or top four in the NFL? They are the perfect example of a team that has gotten hot at the right time. I don't think this makes them any less deserving of playing in the NFC championship and if they win it all, I don't think people will look back and say, yes the Giants were champs on paper, but the Green Bay Packers were the best team that year. I don't have a strong opinion about a CFB playoff either way, but I don't think this would necessarily diminish the regular season. Whatever model they would use, i still think it would be very difficult to make the playoffs. It's very hard to make the playoffs in the NFL. It would be even harder in CFB simply because there are so many teams and so few spots. I suspect that you'd still need a 10-2 record (or similar win percentage if the regular season were shorter) to make the playoffs. That doesn't exactly lend itself to slacking off during the regular season. To use the UConn analogy, that would be like a football team making the playoffs at 8-4. I think there are very few 8-4 teams ranked in the top 25 at the end of the year, much less top 16 or top 8 or whatever it would take to make it into a CFB playoff.

buckeyefan927's picture

The only problem with the playoff is that it will get rid of any parity that there is in the game. All these teams that get the extra practices with recieving a bowl bid will be gone as well. This leaves most recruits, if not all, going to those schools that will essentially make the "playoff" every year so that they have a chance to win the so called "playoff" really as bad as the BSC is, it's still a lot better solution than a playoff.

onetwentyeight's picture

Question: Will OSU be one of these schools that makes the playoff every year? 


Answer: Yes. 


So what's your objection to this again? Parity is about preventing a "Haves" and "Have-nots" situation. But in this case, we ARE the "Haves". I don't care if smaller schools cant compete with OSU and get squeezed out of D-1. It probably means they didn't belong in the first place and should stop burning resources chasing the golden calf of football money. Good riddance. 

btalbert25's picture

I don't see any parity in the college game anyway.  There are essentially 1-3 teams per conference that are worthwhile, and some conferences there's not even 1.  Realisitically, there are probably about 8 teams who have a shot in college football every year.  I would guarrentee, Va Tech or Michigan would not be able to win 3 or 4 games in a row against higher seeded teams to win the title.  A college football playoff isn't going to have the look of a college basketball tournament or an NFL playoff because there isn't any parity in college football.  


acBuckeye's picture

I'm with you Baro, with the exception of having a plus-one or any other type of playoff. I know this discusssion mainly revolves around "how do you determine a true national champion?" Which to that question i will always say, "Who the EFF cares?!?! Now Ohio State, go win all your games and make us proud."

But as a college football fan, i'd prefer we go back to the old bowl system for a myriad of reasons. I just think that even a plus-one will eventually lead to a playoff, that will expand every time a TV contract is up. If thats the case, then i'll virtually have the same product on my TV on Saturdays that is already on Sundays. Why would I want that? There are many reasons why i prefer the college game over the NFL. Leave the playoffs for the pros.

Interrobanged's picture

"I argue that the BCS tells us who the best team is more so than any playoff would.  "

I argue that the BCS relies to much on opinion (66% of equation is human voting), which has been proven to be flawed and very bias. So you have flawed and bias opinion trying to determine the top teams? On top of that, the computer portion of the equation is also flawed. So you have a very flawed system all around. Only way to prove/disprove anything is for teams to play each other on the field and not let so called "media experts" determine who the best teams are.

doodah_man's picture

I bet that LSU will be bashed for their meltdown for the next five years JUST like tOSU has...right...uh huh.

Oh, and Ramzy, great article. Might be a book in following the details from right after tOSU Michigan game through the debacle in the desert.

Jim "DooDah" Day

"If I were giving a young man advice as to how he might succeed in life, I would say to him, pick out a good father and mother, and begin life in Ohio.” --Wilbur Wright, 1910

Hopalong's picture

Any post with a title as epic as "The Wrath of Con" needs a link to the original KAHN clip:


Please note the "evil-gasm" at the end.



BucksfanXC's picture

Kramer: Well, it's not the size of the opponent, Elaine, it's, uh, the ferocity.

Elaine: This is what you used to build me up? This is where you got all that stupid katra stuff?

Kramer: No, no. That's from, uh, Star Trek III... The Search for Spock.

Elaine: Search... for Spock?!

Kramer: Yeah, I know Jerry will tell you that The Wrath of Khan is the better picture, but for me, I always...

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

Hopalong's picture

I'm pretty sure that face that Kahn makes at the end of the clip is the same face the BCS officials make at the end of every college football season as they lord over the rest of us plebs.

Bucksfan's picture

We are going to get a 4-team playoff, but it's still going to use the current bowls. Therefore, the layoffs will still be in place, northern teams are going to be traveling very far, often into hostile territory, to play in the first round.  Layoffs have benefitted Ohio State more than they hurt them over the past decade.  Getting time to scheme against Dorsey and Miami, taking the time to clean up the offensive mess that was 2003 and 2004 to turn in some dominant bowl wins, turning the 2005 team into one of the most explosive offensive teams in the country in shredding Notre Dame, getting the defense ready to pin down Oregon, and they anniliated Arkansas while Pryor was healthy.

I have NEVER heard an explanation for the 2006 game that ever satisfied me to my liking.  Some say they felt like they were unbeatable after the Michigan game.  Some say the team lost focus.  Some say Florida already knew what Ohio State was going to do from the first snap.  If any of that is true, it is inexcusable, because it wouldn't have mattered if they were playing the game the following week or 7 weeks later.  They had a losing attitude.  The 2007 team made a bunch of boneheaded plays and penalties in the 2nd quarter against LSU.  They ended up outgaining LSU, but got smashed when the defense could not stop LSU in early down situations, leaving mostly 3rd and shorts.  That OSU team came ready to play, arguably got better during the layoff, but just wasn't good enough when adversity started to strike.

Ohio State deserves its fair share of responsibility for the current BCS mess.  If they had taken one of those two games, maybe we wouldn't have this ridiculously over-hyped SEC dominance.  Maybe we wouldn't be getting a playoff.  Who knows?  I know losing sucks, that the layoffs had little to do with it, and that's about it.

onetwentyeight's picture

The best explanation I have ever come up with for that night is ... 


Urban Meyer was on the other team. 



baddogmaine's picture

Layoffs can have a lot to do with outcomes. In 2006 Troy Smith and the team went banqueting while Urban Meyer used the time to identify OSU weaknesses and scheme against them. Had that game been played right away I think the Buckeyes win. In 2009 Texas was the better team, but with time to prepare the Buckeues almost pulled off the upset. Had that game come with less of a layoff the Longhorns likely would have won easily. Heck, go back to 2002 - who thinks OSU beats Miami without time to prepare our defense to face their offense?

My theory is that in 2006 in addition to being cocky OSU suffered from Walrusball - totally predictable offense dependent on outmuscling foes that didn't bother Florida; general unpreparedness to face a spread-type offense; and a bit of shock at Ginn's injury - often when an offense has to completely change a game plan the defense struggles too. I do genuinely believe that had we played FL a week or two after surviving scUM instead of over a month later we would have won.

baddogmaine's picture

I fail to understand how a playoff would water down the regular season more than one winner-take all between two teams that had already decided that question.

There is a difference between crowning the "best team of the year" and "the best team at the time the playoffs come along." If the former there was no point in having either a playoff or an NC game - based on thed unwatered regular season LSU was clearly, unquestionably the best of 2011. There was a valid debate about who deserved the right to face the Tigers, but no debate about LSU's spot in the game.

If the purpose of a post season is to find out who the best team is by that point then who is hot is what matters. By the end of the last basketball season U Conn was the best team based on beating everyone in their path in the games that mattered. (Though what does a playoff say about Butler? Buckeyes could have beaten them, but lost before they had a chance to. Loses don't count?)

It's not hard to create a scenario where a playoff is the only answer. Who plays for the NC if between the SEC title game and the NC game half of LSU's defense broke their legs? Would that be the same team that had gone undefeated? Would they still have earned the right to play for it all, even though there would be a good chance that they wouldn't be able to stop the Buckeye ofense? And if LSU is out who is in the title game? OK St and AL seem obvious. But OR lost to LSU - discount that and put them in? Had Boise not lost to TCU what about them? Who plays in one game if there are several contenders. How fair was it to exclude one of Texas/ Texas Tech/ OK a few years ago? to exclude one of unbeaten Auburn/ USC/ Utah/ OK?  VA Tech just hung 70 on Clemson - that doesn't impress anyone?

I don't underatand the position that a playoff is a better way of crowning a champion than a bowl system that, with or without BCS rules, has too often created controversy no matter how the rules are adjusted. Had AL won by a missed LSU extra point and OK St cruised who's your national champion? We're not going to get a playoff because schools and networks have interests other than competition, but from a competition standpoint a playoff is the best answer other than a really-unworkable round-robin where every realistic contender plays every other realitic contender.

onetwentyeight's picture

Shush with you "logic". Bowls = Tradition and Tradition = Good no matter what. Besides, College football is UNIQUE and they would never be able to successfully pull of a playoff. 

What's that? D-2/3 colleges have been holding a Football playoff for decades? WHAT I CNAT HEAR YOU COVERIN MY EARS 



btalbert25's picture

Why wasn't UConn the best team in college basketball last year?  They won every single tournament game they played.  They were in a tough preseason tournament that they won.  They destroyed the Big East tournament field, and they won the tournament that mattered. 

Was Green Bay clearly head and shoulders better than the Giants?  I don't know, they had a close game last time they played.  Then the Giants beat the Packers, in Lambeau.  Who was the better team afterall?  Someone told me the other day that the 49'rs are terrible.  I said really?  They beat 4 playoff teams during the regular season, 2 on the road.  They had the 2nd best record in the NFC.  They are good!

How often do we know who the absolute, no doubt about it best team in a league is?  BEST TEAM.  People complain about a team getting lucky one week in the playoffs and knocking off a better team, neglecting them of a championship.  How often do we see this in the regular college football season?  USC lost to clearly inferior teams several times and were neglected a chance to win the BCS title.  So, several years in college football the BEST TEAM DIDN'T WIN OR GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO PLAY FOR A TITLE.  

There have been a few seasons where there are just incredibly talented teams that blow through the competition.  Other sports have something college football doesn't, parity so the difference between the best(Packers) and good (Giants) isn't much. 

To me a college football playoff is much less about giving a team like Arkansas a chance and much more to do with giving the best teams a chance.  One Loss and some times zero losses shouldn't disqualify a team from contention, but in this Effed up system it happens.  Does the best team ever win the title?  No one ever knows!  The 2010/2011 Buckeyes deserved a shot, as did TCU, Wisconsin, and yes Arkansas.  Any one of those teams were just as good if not better than at least 1 and possibly both of the teams playing in the title game. 

ShowThemOhiosHere's picture

Is there really a true gauge to determine who the best team is?  You could come closest by having a double round-robin - having a home and home with every other college football team in the nation - best record = best team.  This takes out the possibility of "flukes", like with big upsets that let's face it - wouldn't happen 99 times out of 100.  If you beat somebody twice in the same season, it isn't a fluke.  What happens if two teams tie for the best record though?  Still may come down to a playoff.  This whole idea is impractical though because a home and home with everyone in the FBS means 238 games. 

The fact of the matter is that while there may be no true gauge as to determining the best team, the playoff tournament is the most accepted and probably best gauge we have available.  The idea is that to win a championship, you have to get it done in the playoff, with the regular season determining who deserves to get into the playoff.  That's why I go for a playoff.  But we also love how meaningful regular season games are under an otherwise bullshit system.  So, we have a small playoff - 4-8 teams - tell me I'm wrong!



Class of 2010.

Nick's picture

I'm okay with a playoff but I think to be considered you have to win your conference to compete for a national championship. 

baddogmaine's picture

Why is that necessarily true? In football a team could get pounded in an out-of-conference games and still win its conference by not losing again, while another team in the congerence loses a flukey game to a cellar dweller and not be eligible for the conference tournament. Why should team #1 be eligible and team #2 not? A team could lose to a quality conference opponent but then the quality opponent loses players to injury or suspension - who is to say that team 1 is not potentially the best in the country at that point. To make it real, how could anyone say that AL, who did not win the SEC, was not one of the best 4 teams in the country? Tell me 3 others who were better. Ditto for Stanford who lost to OR but to no one else. In 2008 TX beat OK who beat Tx Tech who beat TX - all three were clearly among that year's best but voters determined who got to play in the Big 12 title game, meaning the other two could not win the conference. How can you say that only one of them was good enough for a playoff? MI was not among the nation's best in 2005? A playoff that excludes a team clearly among the nation's elite will not be any better than the BCS.

BoFuquel's picture

Kid that loss didn't come close to TSUN 1969.

I wish I didn't know now what I didn't know then.

DJ Byrnes's picture

Damn, it still hurts.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

Read Dan Wetzel's book Death to the BCS and then come back and tell me that the BCS is the way to go.  The BCS is so corrupt it makes Jimmy Dimora look like George Washington.  You think the major schools are netting millions of dollars? HAH! Last year UConn LOST almost $2 million dollars while playing in the Orange Bowl.  Read the book and find out what a sham those million dollar payouts are.  The only million dollars going in someone's pocket are the bowl directors.  


Its time.  16 team playoff.  All but the championship game played at the site of the higher seeded team.  teams 17 through 62 can still play in bowls.  (Sort of like the NIT).  Take the money away from Frito Lay and put it INTO the schools' pockets.  Do you think UConn would've had to eat 25,000 tickets if they had a playoff game in Stoors?  Or VaTech who lost $1.1 Mill that same year?


16 teams starts the week after the conference championship games.  Championship game would be New Years Day.  Its perfect.  


Oh!  Yeah, And I no longer subscribe to the "regular season" argument.  After that abortion of a game completely eradicating the meaning of the SEC regular season, that is no longer a valid argument.  After all, our new national Champion didn't even win its Half of the conference, let alone get crowned conference champ.  



scroll halfway down to read about UConn and VaTech.


On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

buckeyedude's picture

I say, "why not?"

At least 8, but would be ok with 16  teams. 1st and 2nd round played at the higher seeded teams home field.



baddogmaine's picture

Oh!  Yeah, And I no longer subscribe to the "regular season" argument.  After that abortion of a game completely eradicating the meaning of the SEC regular season, that is no longer a valid argument.  After all, our new national Champion didn't even win its Half of the conference, let alone get crowned conference champ. 



After the first time LSU and AL played one could easily have had questions about who was the better team. LSU won but not convincingly, and how many times will AL's placekicking be that bad? After the second time there was no question who was better, at least on that day. The game featured two teams from a conference Buckeye fans despise and it was a rematch but to call it an "abortion" is pretty ridiculous. Do you seriously believe that AL was not a Top 4 team? If you want even a 4 team playoff and require that entrants be conference winners in 2011-2012 you are excluding AL, Stanford, Houston and Boise State, so in 2011-2012 who plays other than LSU and Ok State?  The Badgers who lost to 6-7 Ohio State and lost their bowl game?  Va Tech who lost twice to Clemson, who gave up 70 points to W VA who lost badly to 5-7 Syracuse (who would have been 4-8 but for a horrendous error on a PAT in the Toledo game)? I guess you could put TCU in as the third team, but losing to 8-5 SMU is not exactly a recommendation. But who is the fourth team if conference non-winners are excluded? The problem is rigid rules that beg for needed exceptions, and requiring that playoff teamns be conference winners is no more likely to tell us who is best, either over the course of a whole season or at the end of the playoffs, then what we have now.

VestedInterest's picture

BCS contract is up in 2014, we're going to get a +1 for the forseeasble future. All the rest of the talk is merely mental masturbation honestly, but I will add a couple faps to the discussion. I don't mind the idea of a play-off too much, though 16 teams is logistically going to be tough to sell for quite awhile. With that many teams getting in I don't like the diminished importance of winning games late in the season particularly for higher seeded teams heading into the play-offs rgardless of a win/loss ie; conference championships/rivalry games.

I'm also disturbed that in a rush to a play-off format that very little emphasis is placed on how participants are to be determined. Are we to use the flawed BCS systtem in determining who becomes eligible? Or, should we be considering an rpi based system similar to the NCAA BB tourny? Conference champion AQ is nonsense to me outside the top 3/4 conferences.

But like I said, much of the talk is not relative to the reality we face.

buckeyedude's picture

I agree that a 16 team playoff would be difficult, but an 8 team would be meaningful and doable. If we don't use the conference champions, what the hell is the purpose of the confernences in the first place, then? If they were to use conference champions, they could eliminate all of the polls, because they would be obsolete/meaningless. This would be a GOOD THING, no?

Mental masterbation? Not quite the words I would use, but this has been talked about so much, I do think my head is going to explode soon.



VestedInterest's picture

LOL, sorry, but a waste of thought process is kinda how I see it.

If you're going to go to an 8 team format, that would essentially be scrapping the BCS. Keeping in mind that the BCS members agree to be members and that the format needs to represent >50% of DI participants there are a lot of people to be pleased with their chance of getting in. Just look at the conference reallignment as proof of it. Were the Biig East to have folded, they certainly would have withdrawn their approval of the system. The entire BCS was close to collapsing in my opinion. All the conference reallignment has been done in no small part due to automatic qualifying status, that's a damn shame in my estimation.

The polls will absolutely, unequivocally, NEVER go away...never, The simple fact of the matter is that there's not a whole lot that drives media sales during the off season other than polls and rankings. Yeah we want to know about our recruits and things, but the average joe-bag-of-donuts college football fan is more concerned about how the media types view their team in comparison to others. We can argue as to whether or not they should be used but rest assured they won't go away.

We're too hung up on doing what is best and what meets the desires of college football fans when the reality of it is that those who derive monetary gains from these things don't give a shit what the fans want.

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

LOL, sorry, but a waste of thought process is kinda how I see it.

If you're going to go to an 8 team format, that would essentially be scrapping the BCS. Keeping in mind that the BCS members agree to be members and that the format needs to represent >50% of DI participants there are a lot of people to be pleased with their chance of getting in.

Posting a reply without reading the entire post you are replying to is the waste of time.  Losing 1-2 million dollars desite playing in a BCS bowl should be the driving force behind changing the participant's opinions.  Most college Presidents aren't aware of the line items in their athletic department budgets.  As the proof that the payout money is a sham starts to come to light, THEY will change their tune regarding the BCS and it WILL be as good as dead.  Again, the entire process is corrupt and there really are no valid arguments in favor of the BCS anymore.  


With a 16 team playoff, you CAN have every conference in D1 get a automatic bid.  That will leave 5-6 at large bids for the truly deserving..  (I forget how many D1 conferences there are)  


On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

VestedInterest's picture

Posting a reply without reading the entire post you are replying to is the waste of time.

I assume by this you feel I'm overlooking the fact that some schools actually lose money by going to a BCS game?

Run_Fido_Run's picture

Overall, the FBS schools - especially those in BCS auto-qualifying conferences - do very well under the status-quo. A school might lose money on a given bowl trip, but it will more than make up the difference when it receives its share of the total conference bowl monies.

Would these schools do even better financially under a 16-team playoff system? Perhaps, but let's not pretend that they're suffering now (even during this economic recession). If the UCONN Orange Bowl scenario were BOTH typical AND the schools only relied only on their own bowl revenues, then the bowl system would have been scrapped a long time ago. 

In reality, there is no movement in that direction whatsoever. In the short to mid-term future, it's a mortal lock that the bowl system, in some form or another, will remain in place; moreoever, the odds that the bowls will be retained in name only, as a glorified sub-structure through which a 16-team playoff is organized, is about 1 in 1,000. Try again in another 10 years, maybe.

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

Teams make money?  really?  In 2008, when Florida won the National Championship (again) they were the ONLY TEAM to not lose money on their trip.  And they netted a paltry $43,000.  Its all documented in the book.

If you click the link in my previous post, you will see the financial realities.  The multimillion dollar payouts are fiction.  Indiana makes more money on bowls than Wisconsin because they don't losee a couple hundred large on their trip by not making one.


And yes, its true.  Most college Presidents only know what they are told by their AD's.

Here's a neat little story for you.  A couple of years ago, (I forget which year) the Little Ceasar's Bowl was the last one to tie up their participants.  Obviously the MAC supplies one, but the other one was an at large bid.  Of course, Detroit the day after Christmas isn't exactly a huge draw.  There were five bowl eligible teams that the bowl could choose.  Do you know who the bowl chose?  no one.  They had a reverse auction, low bid got the berth.  FIU, having never been to a bowl before, bid they would accept $0 payout  However, the bowl still required that they sell 20,000+ tickets.  Now, how many FIU alumni do you think wanted to spend Christmas in Detroit.  Hell Detroiters don't want to spend Christmas in that crap hole.  To save money, FIU didn't bring their band or cheerleaders and rented a high school band.  The school ended up losing over a million dollars.  But the AD received a $50,000 bonus because the football team made a bowl.


Nice huh?  Again, its all in the book.  I was vehemently opposed to a playoff until I read the book.  I highly recommend it to anyone interested in this subject.

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

When the first two words of a book title are "Death to . . ." that usually signals that the author has an axe to grind. I haven't read the book, but I've heard that Wetzel's "financial analysis" of the bowl system (v. a 16-team playoff) in the book leaves a lot to be desired (Wetzel is a sports writer, not a finanical analyst and/or economist, after all).

In short, Wetzel's thesis seems to be that the cfb powers-that-be are stupid people who have no qualms about leaving hundreds of millions of dollars on the table. That's a lot of stupid people in high places.

RBuck's picture

A school might lose money on a given bowl trip, but it will more than make up the difference when it receives its share of the total conference bowl monies.


The last I heard, the B1G is the only conference that equally shares bowl monies. From my understanding, bowl schools from other major conferences keep it all to themselves.

Long live the southend.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

According to the Football Bowl Association, which has its own agenda of course:

Most conferences divide any revenues over typical expenses of attending the bowl with all the other schools in their respective conference. In this way even a program that goes winless can reap a share of the bowl revenue generated by that schools conference. In some conferences that can be millions for each school. Therefore, not only do the 70 teams playing in bowls receive money but so can dozens of other teams that do not even participate. In addition, the BCS provides  millions of dollars each year to be divided by each of the Non-BCS conferences and additional funds to Division IAA members, something that was never done prior to the formation of the BCS. This year the bowl system will distribute about $260 million.


baddogmaine's picture

Saying that school presidents are not aware of how much money their institutions lose in BCS games is naive. The reality is that most schools playing football lose money, from the smallest Div 3 to all but a few FBS schools. School presidents permit the losses because they are expected to. Losing money in BCS games is just another  loss that school presidents can live with because they need to, or feel they need to. The BCS exists because school presidents tell their conference directors that they want the BCS.

March Madness can give automatic entries to every conference winner becuse there are still 30 spots for at larges. That ensures that the entire Top 25 is in. In a 16 team football playoff giving automatic entry to every conference (there are 11) doesn't ensure that even the Top 10 is in. If a playoff is supposed to be competitive why guarantee a spot to the winner of the Sun Belt? How do we stop a team like TCU that has switched conferences twice in the last year to try to gain a seat at the BCS table from now trying to get into the WAC to be that conference's  likely playoff team for the next 50 years, even in years when TCU isn't very good? I like a 16 team playoff but including the MAC winner doesn't accomplish anything for me - I'd want as close to the Top 16 as we could get. The MAC, Sun Belt, WAC likely weill never get into the playoffs but they're not getting into the BCS, and they will still have their bowl games.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree, the polls won't ever go away. The polls have no bearing whatsoever on the NCAA bball tournament, but they persist.

Actually, the polls become increasingly less important as the bball season progresses: prior to the season and during the November/December tournament season, fans pay some attention to the polls as sort of a prediction market, for bragging rights, etc. During conference play, highly ranked teams become more vivid targets for their rivals, but the conference standings sort things out anyway. When March rolls around, a team's poll ranking becomes an afterthought, as team's "ranking" switches to its tournament seed.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

I agree, an 8/16 team playoff is never going to be the outcome of this round of discussions, negotiations; therefore, it'd be a waste of time for the V.I.P. participants in those discussions to sputter on about such formats.

What about us, though? We have zero direct say in such discussions, so what's the harm in us endlessly exploring 8, 16 team formats that have no chance of happening in the short to mid-term future?

Well, if large numbers of fans concentrate their energies on demanding one particular approach to the final four format, that might have some small impact on the process.

IMO, the best final four concept is to play the semi-finals at a neutral site, as part of a weekend showcase with the Army v. Navy game, the week after the conference CGs; the two losers get rotated back into the pool of bowl eligible teams; the traditional bowl selection process is restored (conference tie-inw, but no auto qualifiers, no BCS); then NCG.  

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

The big problem with a playoff at neutral sites for anything short of the championship is still tickets.  What out of town alumnus is going to spend money on essentially two bowl trips two weeks in a row.  Even if they are wealthy, the time comittment would be difficult.  So now, you either require the school to eat those tickets, or you have half empty stadiums (sort of like the above mentioned Little Ceasars Bowl).

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.

Run_Fido_Run's picture

The concept: the semi-final games would be part of a Saturday showcase including the Army-Navy game, which would be played at different sites in pro-sized stadiums (approx. 60,000 seating capacity), in both warm and cold weather locales - Washington DC, NYC, Chicago, Detroit, Seattle, etc., but also Miami, Atlanta, Houston, New Orleans, etc.

Because this pre-scheduled event would encompass more than just the semi-final games, the promoters can fill a decent percentage of these (smaller) venues with local ticket sales, corporate (luxury box, club seats) sales, and cfb junkies from the region who will be attracted to it as an event, purchasing seats before they know if their favorite school is in the final four.

In addition, when the F4 teams are selected, some fans will purchase tickets on short notice; they either might try to make it to both games (the semi-finals and the bowl/NCG) or decide to go only to the semi-final game, for example because it's closer to home.

In a better economy, they'd have no trouble selling out the semi-final and NCG. To be fair, packages for the consolation bowl trips would be harder to sell.  

VestedInterest's picture

@ TNB - You seem to be assuming that most here are opposed to a play-off system and defending the BCS by pimping the book, that's just not the case.

If as you assert the driving motivation should be not to lose money then why are a majority of schools BCS members? I would suggest there's a different accounting mechanism in place that proves that being a member leaves one in the black other than what is illustrated in the book.

Why isn't there a "sanctioned" NCAA champion in DI football?

Fact is, the white elephant in the corner sipping a 12 year old scotch isn't intimidated enough by those who have asked him to leave yet, and I don't see enough of a ground swell to even push his chair back. He tipped his hat and we're getting a plus 1, and he just asked the waitress to leave the bottle.

Todd-Not Boeckmann's picture

Why?  Corruption and lack of intestinal fortitude.  If you don't think that a college football playoff wouldn't be a license to print money for the NCAA, you're dreaming.  The out-right criminality of some of the bowls is shocking.


Our own John Cooper said on the radio this past week that the bowl officials are the most corrupt individuals he has ever seen.  


Google the name John Junker.  And he is just the tip of the iceberg.

You don't think that the FIU AD I detailed above wasn't guilty of "theft in Office"?

On the wall guarding the North Coast from all Weasel invasions.