Saturday, September 17, 2011

COLLEGE CONFERENCE DOSEY-DO UPDATE: Let me see if I've got this right—Texas A&M goes from the Bix XII to the SEC with West Virginia or Missouri as a possible Team #14 for the conference; Syracuse and Pittsburgh (two schools long seen as Big Ten possibles) may move from the Big East to the ACC; the Pac-12 may soon add Oklahoma and Oklahoma State, and then either Texas/Texas Tech or Kansas/Kansas State to reach 16 (Texas may also go ACC); and then things could get truly wacky:
According to one conference official, the Big East and Big 12 could merge, with Rutgers, Cincinnati, Connecticut, Louisville, South Florida, TCU, West Virginia joining forces with Baylor, Iowa State, Kansas, Kansas State and Missouri. That would leave the Big East/12 with 12 football-playing members and 20 for basketball (including Seton Hall, St. John’s, Marquette, DePaul, Georgetown, Providence, Notre Dame and Villanova).
Everyone's got a theory, and we are rapidly approaching a world with five megaconferences. If it helps bring in a college football playoff system I'm happy, but the idea of Syracuse no longer playing Villanova, Georgetown and UConn in hoops would suck.


  1. ChinMusic10:01 PM

    Why do people want a college football playoff so badly?  Does anybody really think a playoff would do a better job of identifying the best college team each season?  I'd say the current system does a better job of identifying the best college football team than March Madness does idetifying the best college basketball team.  It almost certainly does a better job of creating a title game matchup of two teams that have a legitimate claim as the best team. The NCAA basketball title game is just a matchup of two teams that have won five games in a row.  Sure, a playoff would be more exciting than the bowl system, but that argument is not persuasive because the current setup creates the most exciting regular season in any sport at any level.  The regular season could retain much of its excitement in a playoff system if the playoff were very limited.  But, the NCAA isn't giving up its current arrangement so it can stage a four-team, three game playoff.  Don't kill the golden goose.  I will happily accept some ambiguity in my national champion in exchange for 14 incredible Saturdays each fall and a bunch of interesting games in December and January.           

  2. Because a team can do everything right, go undefeated against solid competition, and have no ability to compete for the Mythical National Championship.

  3. Jordan10:59 PM

    Cut down to 'Nova, St. John's, Notre Dame, Georgetown, Providence, Marquette, Seton Hall and DePaul.  Bring back BC.  Add Creighton, Xavier and Dayton.  Create Catholic super conference.

  4. ChinMusic11:49 PM

    Are you saying you actually get less enjoyment out of college football because of the possibility that in January an undefeated team that you do not follow might not get to play for the national championship?  Also, we appear to be in a period of conference free agency right now.  If you aren't in a major football conference as of next year, then you no longer have the argument that you have done everything right.  That still doesn't solve the problem of a team like 2004 Auburn.  But the fact that going undefeated is not necessarily enough to ensure a shot at the national championship pushes teams to schedule stronger non-conference games, which makes the season even better.  Sorry, Tigers fans, but that is a trade I am willing to make.

  5. Big Joe8:49 AM

    I think the purpose of a playoff is not to identify the "best team", but to identify that year's champion.  Someone might say that the 85 Georgetown team was the best team that year, but no one can ignore the fact that Villanova was the 1985 National Champion.

    Also, the hypocrisy that the NCAA keeps this system so that the regular season matters, or the student-athletes class schedule, or tradition rubs many the wrong way.  Since the lower divisions have football playoffs, they would be better served to admit that money drives this and then do a better job of showing the public how they use that extra money to benefit either other sports or the school at large.

  6. ChinMusic9:19 AM

    I would be shocked to find that there is more money in the current system than in a hypothetical December Madness playoff system. Say what you want about the NCAA, but its refusal to institute a playoff for Division 1 football does appear to be based on some principal other than revenue maximization.

  7. This system works fine if there's two undefeated at the end, but not if there's 0, 1, or 3+, and especially if an undefeated is not in a major conference.  So, okay, Boise State and BYU need to find a perch, but where? They don't exactly fit the profiles of the adjacent conferences.

    I totally get that we don't want to get rid of the one-and-done tension of the regular season, but a two-team playoff is not enough to determine a champion.

  8. chuckie12:12 PM

    Well, if there is such a principle, I'd love to know what it is.  It's not that the season would become too long, as the NCAA once maitained, because the NCAA added a game across the board to the football season a couple of years ago.  It's not bowl tradition.  Bowl games come and go every year.  We've moved from the traditional "pure" bowl game, e.g., Orange Bowl, Suguar Bowl, Cotton Bowl, to one including a corporate sponsor's name, giving us the aburidty of the Citibank Rose Bowl just after Citibank had announced enough layoffs to fill the stadium.   And most of the bowl games are no longer played on New Years Day as was once traditional.   It's not that the regular season would be devalued.  The current bowl system is devaluing the regular season as practically everyone gets to play in some bowl or another, despite how mediocre they are. 

    I do think it is money.  Certain interest groups benefit from the current bowl/bcs system -- bowl organizers, big football schools/conferences.  Those groups may lose some of that benefit in a playoff system, even as revenues for the overall NCAA football product increases. 

    My ideal is an 8 team, three round playoff.  It's limited enough to keep the value on the regular season.  Team number 9 does not have much of an argument that it should be in the mix, and everyone else can go play in a bowl game. 

  9. isaac_spaceman2:29 PM

    I don't really care whether we have a playoff in football.  I would hate a bowl-and-poll system in basketball, just because those first two days of the tournament are the best days in sports, but football is a different animal. 

    If there is a football playoff, though, it would be nice for them to get it started right after the season ends.  I think it's beyond absurd that the best teams in the country finish their regular seasons and then do nothing for over a month. 

  10. You should read Dan Wetzel's "Death to the BCS."  Basically, there are a whole lot of people making a lot of money off of the current bowl system that want to keep it in place, and prior to the establishment of the Playoff PAC, there's no one really pushing the other way.  Once someone can get a solid proposal together with real-life dollar figures, the college presidents will become a lot more interested in a bracket at the end of the football season.

  11. victoria9:44 PM

    If the ACC's "we're not philosophically opposed to 16 teams" really means "we will expand to 16 teams," I'm guessing they'll make a hard run for West Virginia, and either accept Connecticut's overtures or go for someone like Rutgers.

    The interesting question to me is, what does the SEC do? Because while they're clearly in better shape than the Big East/Big 12, and no one seems too likely to defect, they will probably want to get to 16 or more ASAP so they don't get left behind. ACC schools (Clemson, FSU, Ga Tech) would seem to be obvious targets, but I'm guessing the new buyout provision in the ACC will keep those schools in. So who's left that would make geographic and athletic sense? I'm thinking it'll be some combination of Louisville, Memphis, Baylor, South Florida, Central Florida, Tulane, Southern Methodist, Southern Miss, or East Carolina (probably in decreasing order of how much sense they make.)

  12. Anonymous2:07 AM

    <span> If you aren't in a major football conference as of next year, then you no longer have the argument that you have done everything right.  </span>

    What will TCU and Boise State have done wrong?

  13. Duvall3:02 AM

    I don't see the ACC going after West Virginia.  SEC is a more likely option for WV.

    ACC will make one of its periodic runs at Notre Dame and then may stop at 14.  if they act now, UConn and Rutgers seem likely.