The playoff postin' a while back spurred an interesting comment thread with a host of ideas, objections, and declarations that I'm crazy. It's obviously a subject that inspires a lot of shouting, because there is a deathly fear that college football, being a fragile peach of a sport that tends to bruise easily, will be ruined by changes. I submit that it can't get much worse unless we get "January Madness," and 16 or (gasp) more teams make the playoffs.
Some ground rules to start.
First, let's dispense with the notion that college football teams can't play more games (because of the children! Think about the children!). Last year's I-AA national champion, James Madison, played 15 games, four of them in the playoffs. No one at James Madison is going to be able to buy a Bentley when their playing days are over--they have to go to school, and there doesn't appear to be a peep of complaint from I-AA folk about the rigors of the playoff. They keep expanding the number of teams in it, actually. A four-team playoff adds a grand total of one game to the college football season. An eight-team playoff adds a grand total of six games. The NCAA just added approximately 60 games by legalizing a 12 game schedule. Objections to a playoff on Save The Children grounds are either hopelessly naive or dastardly cynical.
Second, there were objections that ran along the lines of "I don't want to see a playoff because I don't want a champion crowned at all." I can understand this line of reasoning--the overriding focus of the media on the national championship as the one goal for every team has overwhelmed even the best efforts of lovably cranky old coots like Bo, who regarded the nonconference schedule as the "preseason." Now Lloyd Carr embarrassingly complains about how hard Michigan's nonconference schedule is on a regular basis. The chances of Michigan's brief series against Miami or Florida State ever resurrecting themselves are nil. Most programs around the country are content with one marquee matchup in their nonconference schedule, if that, all in the hopes of being a national championship contender. It's too late... and if you remember the arguments that flew back and forth in the late 90s and early 80s, those were unbelievably annoying. Just flagrantly unsophisticated.
So. Assuming you are me, and have a deep respect for the game's traditions but have become really frustrated with Michigan vs. Eastern Michigan, hate the BCS with irrationally intense fervor, want those pansy southern teams to play some real burlyman football in the North when it's cold, and don't buy the Save the Children line, this is what things look like:
Ante-bellum bowl system.
Pro: Tradition-laden. Pac 10 meets Big Ten in the Rose Bowl every year. Also some other teams play games. New Year's Day is a sacred holiday for college football fans. No games on Wednesday, January fourth.
Con: Ask Penn State '94. National championship often split or, worse, wrongly denied to a deserving team that has done nothing but waste its opponents. Constant pointless bickering between fanbases that extends well into the next millennium, boring all in its wake. M part of MNC strongly emphasized.
BCS as is: two team playoff.
Pro: Occasional undisputed #1-#2 game that produces a true national champion. Produced one really good game when Ohio State beat Miami with the aid of a late pass interference call.
Con: Only produces satisfying result when there are two and only two undefeated teams. Anything else causes conniption fit. System revamps itself every year so that it won't screw up the same way it did the year before only to screw up in unexpected new ways. National championship game is on a goddamn Wednesday at 9 pm and goddamn Ashlee Simpson performs at it. Since teams are punished heavily for losing and not rewarded proportionally for winning tough games, nonconference schedules become mostly lame. Rose Bowl invaded by heathens on regular basis.
"Plus One" BCS system
(note: this is basically a return to traditional bowl tie-ins with an additional MNC game after the bowls)
Pros: Sort of like a playoff that would allow years like the last two, when two undefeated teams remained after the bowls, to conclude satisfactorily. Traditional bowl ties restored.
Cons: Pointless when there are two and only two undefeated teams and in situations like that could lead to more controversy than the system we have now. Still emphasizes not losing at all. Asks an awful lot of CFB fans to travel to a bowl game and then travel to another one a mere week later.
True BCS based four team playoff.
Pros: Virtually guarantees that an undefeated major-conference team will have a chance at a national championship. Should generally produce an NC
Cons: Warm weather schools get all games at home. Again emphasizes "undefeated," paralyzing non-conference schedules. Abomination known as "Fiesta Bowl" continues to lurch along unimpeded.
mgoblog's eight team playoff.
Pros: Miami versus Michigan in Michigan Stadium in December. USC in Columbus in December. Probable beefing up of nonconference schedules, as there is always the win-your-conference out into the playoff. Winning is still really important, especially to fans, as the first two rounds are at campus sites: finishing in the top two is a huge advantage.
Cons: Bowl system severely damaged (shouldn't this be a pro?)--the eight playoff teams are all gunning for the Rose Bowl but the six that don't make it probably won't go to a bowl game at all. Every bowl except the Rose Bowl becomes a sideshow that doesn't really matter.
Sixteen+ team playoff.
Pros: Uh. Anyone who sorta half-deserves it gets in. No complaining from anyone about illicitly bestowed national championships.
Cons: 8-3 teams that finished third in their conference start getting in. Season loses dramatic urgency. Power teams hardly ever miss the playoffs. Essential difference between college football and every other sport on the planet gone.
College football faces the following problems: lame nonconference schedules, useless bowl proliferation, traditions fading in favor of Simpson sisters, and national championships still being delivered largely on whim. An eight-team playoff that gives the top-rated teams significant advantages decided by a committee that uses cojones as a significant components of its seeding process erases all of the above except the tradition bit, which it exacerbates.
I would personally rank these options as...
1. Eight-team playoff
2. Four-team playoff
3. Plus one
4. Ante-bellum system
5. Current system
6. Anything else
1,000,004. Playoff with more than eight teams.
All right. Go Syndicate on me. (Uzi. Uzi. Minigun. Minigun.) What are your ratings? I'd like to find out if I'm a nut.
mgoblog decided to get some design up in here, because it's a party. Thanks go to WestCiv's fabulous CSS guide, css.maxdesign.com.au, and the CSS Zen Garden. If you are having issues please drop me a line. A few people have mentioned issues with the header layout in Safari but I believe those should be fixed.
Why is it a party? Read on.
So. On December 4th of last year, mgoblog was ushered into the world like so:
Since then the content has gotten marginally better and traffic has subsequently increased. Other blogs were found. Media members were mercilessly ripped and occasionally apologized to. Numbers were disassembled and then reassembled in interesting ways. Pete Fiutak was pissed off. Strange pictures of the Pistons were found and referenced in the Free Press sans accreditation. Slap fights broke out. 2,300 words were written about Indiana football--yes, all at once. Etc.
Today mgoblog celebrates...
Er... approximately. Hits weren't tracked for the first few weeks of the site's existence but since it's probable that the the only person visiting was me, that isn't much of an issue. However, I used RE_INVIGORATE until mid-February, at which time it unceremoniously disappeared. I started using Sitemeter soon after but all knowledge of hits from that time have been lost. And Sitemeter isn't the most reliable thing in the universe. So whatever. It's an excuse to celebrate the awesomeness of everything. Hurray.
I AM SO 1337. But, taking a cue from the ever-classy Big Ten Wonk, I'll take this opportunity to plug the best part of this blog thing, finding interesting things to read. I enjoy the following blogs immensely (and other, too... if you aren't here it doesn't mean I don't like you. It probably means you don't post enough).
Let's start with... Big Ten Wonk! The only bad part of the last season of college basketball coming to a merciful end was Mr. Wonk's summer hiatus. If you've picked up this whole blog thing at some point after March, you missed out. Seriously. When the first thing you think of when Illinois loses the national championship game is "I wonder what BTW thinks," that's a guy who has gained your respect.
Second is Blue Cats and Red Sox. My interest level in baseball is very low. I like watching the Yankees choke in historic fashion so that I can imagine Tony Danza going "Samanter, Moner, oh oh oh ay! My heart is buster!", and that's about it. Despite this, I now read two baseball blogs written by Sam (<-- short for Samara (yes, a girl's name), lest gender confusion arise) of Blue Cats and Red Sox. For what reason? Well, stuff like this when attempting to finger the other side of the Urbina brawl:
He's [Dimitri Young] also very, very big on sticking up for other guys, so if Ugie started railing on one of the Tigers, I wouldn't be shocked if DaMeat leapt to that guy's defense. "Raggin' on Percival? Oh you wanna do that where I can hear you? GET BACK HERE BITCH, I'MA CRUSH YOU LIKE A CRUNCHY BEETLE."
or this just recently on a Manny Ramirez "home run," as I believe they're called:
What was fantastic about it was Manny's reaction... trotting to first like he half expected it to be caught for an out, then seeing it go into the crowd and hurling his arms into the air, not in a 'praise de lawd' style, more a 'yaaaay i hit the ball yaaaayy yay yay yay!' style. Which is so Manny.
It's not a statty blog or a newsy blog or useful in any way whatsoever. It is utterly useless and just as completely uselessly awesome. It is useless like the last precious ice cube at the bottom of the cup in the third quarter of a late August game against a directional Michigan school, one of those games where fiery death ends up inscribed on the peeling noses of everyone who attends.
Third is the Blue-Gray Sky, which has an unfair advantage because it's written by about sixty different people, giving them time to write everything. But write about everything they do. Many times I have read their encyclopedic posts on all things Notre Dame and said to myself "Boy, I wish someone with a week to ten days worth of free time would do a Michigan version of this." For those of you glaring owlishly at me and cocking an eyebrow as if to say "well?" I have this to say to you: I am only one man.
The horror, the horror.
Four: Every Day Should Be Saturday. Many people are under the misapprehension they are funny. The results are usually tragic. EDSBS is funny and also less dumb than it claims to be. They play fascism to BGS's communism, machine-gunning short, informative posts that contain no trace of professionalism or maturity several times a day. It takes a strange mind to effortlessly mix puerile humor with references to what I believe to be things that come from books ("literature?"). It also takes a strange mind to name yourself after a minor Nixon functionary. But strange minds invented all great things in life, like calculus and yogurt and knee-high black leather boots.
The Truth Laid Bear has revamped its everything lately and started a set of communities. Now college foot-blogs have one. It's hard to explain but easy to click to and then perceive in all its glory. Anyone wanting to be added to the list, email me.
And yes, this is the logo:
But if anyone wants to come up with an interesting looking neutral one I'd be willing to switch... reluctantly willing.
Update 6/30: Linked to Sam Young article in which he declares his final seven schools: USC, Stanford, Michigan, PSU, ND, UF, and Miami. Noted that Antwine Perez' profile has him down to USC, LSU, and Michigan. Linked to a Chris Bell article--sounds like Michigan will probably at least get an official--and an interview with Myron Rolle and his father.
Editorial Opinion: Good. Perez cutting his list down so early and not including presumed frontrunner Tennessee is very good. Perhaps not so good: Perez' visit is scheduled for Northern Illinois. Meh. Look at the depth chart, Mr. Perez. And Sam Young's list including Stanford and the three northern schools implies he's probably not giving lip service to the academics thing or the leaving Florida thing. If I had to guess I would say that ND, PSU, and UM are the final three. But I don't, so I didn't say that.
Braylon on the Dolphins and their duplicitious ways:
"They kind of flat out lied to me."
Sweet. mgoblog hopes to incorporate that into its grab-bag of somewhat ridiculous adjectival phrases, because it's kind of flat out awesome.
Also, EJ Underwood has transferred away from Ohio State after kind of flat out failing. Underwood was a spot starter as a freshman in 2002 but hadn't progressed much since, coming off the bench as the nickel back last year. OSU is now about as thin at corner as Michigan.