“On the offense last year, they had great spacing. That’s what I remember. Great spacing, great shooters, like Nik Stauskas, who’s not there right now. But they always have someone to fill the roles. They have a cutting offense, kind of hard to guard.”
I wanted to do a little research to show the level of ineptness in our passing offense. I didn't intend this to be a case study on how "OMG OUR QBs SUK" but rather to show how we will improve next year.
I wanted to take Rich Rod, who we all know as a good football coach, and compare him with two other highly successful football coaches at major schools in their first years, Nick Saban and Urban Meyer. I wanted to compare QB play amongst all three schools and use that as an overview of how the team did.
Let's take Saban (7-6 in his first year at Alabama), Meyer (9-3 in his first year at Florida), RR (3-9 in his first year at Michigan) and then compare QBs. In Saban's first year he had QB John Parker Wilson, while Florida had QB Chris Leak, and finally Michigan ran with a combo of Steve Threet and Nick Sheridan.
In Meyer's first year Chris Leak:
Threw for 2600+ yards
20TDs to 6INTs
Completing nearly 63% of his passes
He also rushed for 6TDs
Had 4 games where his completion percentage was above 75%
8 games with over 200 passing yards
7 games with multiple TD passes
He only had 2 games where he threw more INTs than TDs and they won 1 of them
Now John Parker Wilson for Saban in 07:
Threw for 2800+ yards
18TDs to 12INTs
Completed 55% of his passes
Rushed for 5TDs
4 games where he completed over 65% of his passes
7 games with 200+ passing yards including multiple 300+
6 games with multiple TD passes
5 games where he threw more INTs than TDs and they won 2 of them
Steve Threet and Nick Sheridan combined:
Threw for 1718 yards
11TDs to 12INTs
Completed 48.8% of their passes
Rushed for 2 TDs
Had 2 legitimate games where they completed over 60% of their passes (By legitimate i mean threw over 20 passes, games like Threet's 7-11 against Toledo or Sheridan's 4-5 against Utah are too small of sample sizes)
Had 2 games where they threw more than 200+ yards
Combined for 3 games with 2 TD passes
Combined for 5 games in which Michigan threw more INTS than TDs and won only 1 of those games
In the 3 games Sheridan threw more than 20 passes his
completion percentage was 24% (32of83).
In the 5 games Threet threw over 20 passes his completion percentage was 49.6% (68of137)
Imagine if instead of John Parker Wilson, Nick Saban has a combo of Threet+Sheridan. Alabama does not win more than 3 games that year.
Next, imagine the same scenario at Florida and Urban Meyer's team does not win more than 5 games.
Now you begin to understand to hole that Rich Rod was in as a result of his quarterbacks. You give 2008 U of M a player akin to Chris Leak, and the team dramatically improves. Think of how close these games were:
Illinois (up until the implosion)
ND (until Sheridan INTfest)
With improved or decent QB play, we could have potentially won each of those games. It may be viewed as somewhat of a stretch for the Illinios game, but if you insert even an underrated QB like Chris Leak at the QB position things begin to look different for UofM in almost all of those games.
Which is why next year if Tate or Shav have even decent seasons, the win total could improve dramatically (3 or so games).
I'm definitely not expecting more than 7 wins next year and would be happy to be bowl eligible, but I'm cautiously optimistic that a combo of healthy Sophomore Threet + Tate/Beav will provide us with decent QB play.
EDIT: I suppose I should mention that all of these numbers were either taken from the MGoBlue Football Statistics Database or ESPN.
I wrote this in a thread but I doubt many people will read it unless it's in dairy form. It could use a little work (as it's pretty much a jumbled mass of thought), but what the hell, I just finished writing it and I'm too lazy to write anything more, so here it is in its entirety.
Magnus, and others, you probably won’t read this because it’s very long but I’m going to post it anyway, and might then just make it into a dairy post later, but none the less, this is a highly interesting topic for me, and I could probably write a 30 page dissertation it. So here goes….
The system was not created for the benefit of anybody. I don't know where you were when the NBA league office and NBA players union had their meeting a few ears ago, but it was at that meeting that the NBA created the one and done rule, and the primary reason it was created was to protect veteran basketball players from the ridiculous influx of HS kids into the NBA via the draft. (Look up the 2005 NBA collective bargaining agreement for more information)
This system was NOT created for the betterment of these kids, it was NOT created for the betterment of the NCAA or the schools, but rather, it was created by the NBA players union, who were looking out for themselves. The NBA is a business, and these players are businessmen. They are looking out for themselves (and rightfully so) and looking to protect their wallets and their playing time.
The number of HS kids getting drafted in the 1st round was getting to be absolutely ridiculous, and these HS players were signed to monster deals and came in, taking playing time and money away from veteran players, on the off chance that they could develop into superstars (or at the very least decent players).
The NBA draft has always been more about potential than merit (For example, teams will draft a kid out of HS who plays against HS kids night in and night out in a fairly weak HS division ignoring a college superstar because the HS player has a “higher ceiling” or more potential”). Also rookies have to be signed to a two year deal (again the money issue, no monster 5 or 6 year deals taking away $$ from vets) with a team option for a possible 3rd or 4th year.
It is well within the right of NBA franchises to do this, but it is also well within the right of NBA players to go on strike in attempt to change the system.
The idea was that a lot of the kids who are busts coming out of HS who were being drafted in the 1st round (i.e. Robert Swift, Martel Webster, Ndudi Ebi, etc.) would be immediately exposed in college, while the cream (Kevin Durant, Michael Beasley, Derrik Rose, O.J. Mayo, etc.) would rise to the top. So then NBA teams would have more money to spend on veteran players who were established veterans (i'm talking about the mid-level starters) and less cash would be going to these high school busts.
This whole “one year of college will make them a better player” moniker is simply false.
I REALLY want to emphasize this point, so here goes: ONE YEAR OF COLLEGE BASKETBALL FOR THESE KIDS WILL NOT, *NOT* MAKE THEM AN NBA READY PLAYER!
RELAX! NOW READ….
OK now what I mean by this is…the LeBron James, Dwight Howard, Michael Beasley, OJ Mayo, Kevin Durant type players are NBA ready. They are ready day 1 out of HS to play in the NBA, so, a year of college will do little or NO good to prepare them to play in the NBA.
Now players like above mentioned busts (Robert Swift, Ndudi Ebi, Martel Webster) will be exposed by the college game and will NOT be made NBA ready after 1 year. All that will be revealed in 1 year of college ball is that they are NOT NBA ready, and therefore should stay another year in school, but under the current system, they won’t, they will jump at the money (and who can blame them).
For a PRIME example of this see, OSU player Kosta Kufos. Kosta Kufos, is not ready to play in the NBA. He may be in a few years, but as of right now, he is not ready to play night in, night out, 30+ minutes a game of NBA ball and wont be for several years. He is 7’0’’ tall, 265+ lbs, and moves extremely well for someone of his size, but he does not have the skill set to compete in the NBA and really could have used one or two more years to develop his game. All we found out from watching him for one year was that he was not ready, and then when he should have stayed for that crucial second year of college, BAM NBA, and anyone who is watching this kid play 20+ minutes against bottom dwellers like Sac-town and Miami, and only putting up 6 points and 3 rebounds, fouling out, knows that he absolutely unequivocally should be in college.
Dick Vitale of all people, has devised what I personally believe is the best system available. That system being:
1.There should be a panel of NBA GMs, owners, veteran NBA players in the players union, and other higher ups who are selected by the league (just the like the rules committee, etc.) who determine which High School players are NBA ready, and which ones should go to college. That way the ones who are clearly ready (i.e. the LeBron types) go into the NBA Draft, while those who are clearly not ready and are drafted based on extremely raw potential (i.e. Swift, Webster, Ebi, Kufos) go to college.
2. Players who are not selected by the committee would have to go attend college for a minimum of two years (although personally I prefer 3) as this will allow them sufficient time to develop and ready their bodies and skill to point where they are NBA ready. It also helps colleges because if forces the player to take a vested interest in the school and academics.
I believe I read somewhere that a one and done player will cost a University upwards of $100,000 (with the coaching, time spent, camps, travel, food, housing, tutors, apparel, tuition-by tuition I mean price of an athletic scholarship, etc.). That is a lot of money and most, if not all of that money is a sunk cost. The University gains little to no revenue from said player, and then passes the bill onto other students, or at the very least it takes away money from other things that would not be sunk costs for the athletic department.
I believe, on the whole, this system works because is separates the players like James, Howard, Mayo, Beasley, etc. who GMs knew were NBA ready and are wasting their time in college, from the ones, who GMs know could use a few years to develop. There will always be busts no matter what, but this way you have some of the best basketball minds determining who is fit to play, and by definition they would give exemption only to the few players in a year (and maybe none in some years) who are those OMG DWIGHT HOWARD SHIRTLESS THIS GUY IS NBA READY NOW caliber of player.
It also makes the school accountable for the kid, and makes the kid accountable for himself. I mean honestly, these kids go to class for one semester and then FLUNK OUT, that’s the way it works, in case you didn’t know or were unaware. Most players like Derrick Rose, or Greg Oden who knew they were going pro, did NOT attend class second semester and dropped out because they went pro. It forces them to have to be in school for an entire two years, focus on school, develop their game, and doesn’t make a complete mockery of what it means to be a student athlete.
(OT) Also I will say one line about the “maturity” or the “maturing in college” issue: It takes longer than one year of college to mature, and people who suggest otherwise are fooling themselves.
You want to know why it’s bad for schools. Well I’ll just quote an article about Bobby Knight’s opinion because I can’t say it any better myself…
Texas Tech basketball coach Bobby Knight does not like the new NBA rule prohibiting high school players going directly to the NBA. Actually he despises the rule. Said Knight, it is "the worst thing that's happened to college basketball since I've been coaching," Given that Coach Knight has verbally cataloged every bad decision in college sports for 40-plus years, take note.
So why is he so bent out of shape over guys like UT frosh phenom Kevin Durant?
Knight told Associated Press, "Because now you can have a kid come to school for a year and play basketball and he doesn't even have to go to class. He certainly doesn't have to go to class the second semester. I'm not exactly positive about the first semester. But he would not have to attend a single class the second semester to play through the whole second semester of basketball. That, I think, has a tremendous effect on the integrity of college sports."
Bobby Knight hits the proverbial nail on the head. In this system these are NOT, NOT COLLEGE STUDENTS or COLLEGE BASKETBALL PLAYERS.
THEY ARE GUNS FOR HIRE.
This policy has created a system in which schools spend upwards of $100,000 on an individual player who will be a part of their university for ONE SEMESTER. Then they don’t go to school for the entire second semester, flunk out and enter the NBA Draft.
You tell me how that benefits the school or any academic institution and I’ll eat my pants.
You tell me how that benefits the player involved and I’ll eat my hooded sweatshirt (complete with zipper).
I could go on and on, but for now, I’ll leave it at that.
Perhaps, like me, many of you have gotten some hullabaloo about Michigan not recruiting any offensive linemen under Coach RR. Since I was bored today, I did some half-assed research on Rivals.com.
West Virginia OL recruiting since 2002:
I haven't cross-referenced WVU's roster to see what, if any, impact these recruits had, but it's certainly not a plethora of fatties (11 over 6 years). That doesn't sound like a lot to me.
Over that same time period, Coach Carr recruited 24 lineman. 24 seems like a reasonable number over 6 years, considering injuries, graduation, etc.
But does recruiting O-linemen really translate to success? Here's something I found extraordinary while doing this research: Ohio State only recruited 13 linemen in the same time frame. On two "occasion" (03 and 07), The Vest had ONE OL recruit in each of those classes.
Some other comparisons:
USC - 20 OL recruits from 02-07
Texas - 19
Florida - 22
Michigan had the highest number of OL recruits of the 6 schools mentioned but it did not translate into more success. Hart and Henne did set school records but that didn't translate into "big game" victories or NT game appearances.
I'm pretty sure all of us would accept the same success WVU, Ohio State, USC and the rest had on the field with their limited number of OL recruits.
It's not the most in-depth research data, but it should certainly calm everyone's fear that a lack of o-line recruits is something we should be concerned with. RR has 5 OL in the current freshmen class and 1 committed in 09 (and I anticipate at least one or two more). That's an average of 3 - 4 linemen per class which is what these other schools averaged.
O-linemen are a different breed. They take time grow and gel, more so than any other group on the team. Unlike a TB or WR who may have developed the majority of his speed and quickness before he even steps foot on campus. OL need to grow, learn, and mature as freshmen and sophomores.
Tell anyone whose worried about the lack of OL in the recruiting class to step off the ledge. RR has got it under control.
The following is my proposal for a 16 team college football playoff. It is kind of long (5 page Word document)
16 Team Playoff: 4x4 team regions (East, West, Midwest, South)
-11 auto bids given to champion of each conference
-up to each conference how to determine champ, title game or otherwise
-5 at large bids determined by tournament selection committee of active college football participants (Athletic Directors, Conference Commissioners, Analysts, etc)
- committee members recused from discussion of teams in their league
Committee Criteria: -based on this season’s performance only
-who did you play/beat, who lost to, BCS, polls, computers, strength of schedule, other information relevant to determination of quality of teams this season (ex. Conference performance against other conferences and other quality opponents)
-Committee seeds teams 1-16 based on above criteria
#1 overall seed will be placed in its geographic region
-then, as best as possible, seeds 2-4 will be put in their geographic region
-teams 5-16 will then be placed in regions as follows:
-preference to keeping teams within their geographical region
-preference to avoid intra-conference match ups until Final Four
-otherwise, no requirements other than:
-teams 5-8 = 2 seeds, teams 9-12 = 3 seeds, teams 13-16 = 4 seeds
First Round – Week following end of season/title games
-Dec. 13th this year
-1 seeds host 4 seeds on campus
-2 seeds host 3 seeds on campus
Second Round – Next week, Dec. 20th this year
-Games played at regional site, these will change each year
-just like regional hosts in college basketball tournament
-regional hosts cannot be same as BCS bowl game hosts
-BCS bowls will hold Final Four, can’t double as regional hosts
-Ex- Midwest regional final at Ford Field, West at Qualcomm (Chargers stadium), East at FedEx Field (Redksins' Stadium), South at Georgia Dome
Final Four – next two weeks, Dec. 27th (semifinals) and Jan. 3rd (final and 3rd place game)
-BCS bowls (Sugar, Rose, Fiesta, Orange) host on rotating basis
-Ex- -year one- Rose hosts semi #1, Fiesta hosts semi #2 -Sugar hosts 3rd place, Orange hosts title game
-year two- Sugar hosts semi #1, Rose hosts semi #2
-Orange hosts title game, Fiesta hosts title game
-Format - Region with #1 overall seed to face Region with #4 overall seed
-Region with #2 overall seed to face Region with #3 overall seed
-Ex- If South region #1 seed is #1 overall seed and East region #1 seed is #4 overall seed, those regional champions will play in one semi
final regardless of actual regional champion
2008 NCAA Football Tournament (How I think it would look)
3. Texas (at large)
6. Penn State
7. Alabama (at large)
8. Texas Tech (at large)
9. Boise State
10. Ohio State (at large)
12. Virginia Tech
13. Georgia Tech (at large)
-1- USC vs. -4- Georgia Tech Dec. 13th at USC
-2- Utah vs. -3- Boise State Dec. 13th at Utah
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at San Diego
-1- Texas vs. -4- ECU Dec. 13th at Texas
-2- Penn State vs. -3- Cincinnati Dec. 13th at Penn State
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at FedEx Field (Redskins home stadium)
-1- Florida vs. -4- Buffalo Dec. 13th at Florida
-2- Texas Tech vs. -3- Virginia Tech Dec. 13th at Texas Tech
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at Georgia Dome
-1- Oklahoma vs. -4- Troy Dec. 13th at Oklahoma
-2- Alabama vs. -3- Ohio State Dec. 13th at Alabama
Regional Final, Dec. 20th at Ford Field
-Midwest Champ vs. West Champ at Fiesta Bowl Dec. 27th
-South Champ vs. East Champ at Sugar Bowl Dec. 27th
-3rd Place Game at Rose Bowl Jan. 3rd
-Championship Game at Orange Bowl Jan. 3rd
Auto Bids (computer numbers from BCS, strength of schedule from usatoday, all losses listed, only notable wins included)
ACC – Va. Tech 9-4
-computers- 20, 25, 19, 16, 16, 13
-strength of schedule 11
-L- at ECU, at FSU, at Miami, at BC
-W- GT, BC (neutral site), at UNC, at Neb, Maryland
Big East – Cincy 11-2
-computers- 16, 13, 12, 12, 11, 14
-strength of schedule 60
-L- at OU, at UConn
-W- Rutgers, USF, Pitt
Big 12 – OU 12-1
-computers- 1, 1, 1, 1, 1, 1
-strength of schedule 8
-L- Texas (neutral site)
-W- Cincy, TCU, Tech, OkSU, Misso
SEC – UF 12-1
-computers- 4, 4, 4, 2, 3, 5
-strength of schedule 18
-W- Miami, LSU, Uga, FSU, Bama
-L- Ole Miss
Big 10 – PSU 11-1
-computers- 9, 9, 8, 10, 10, 10
-strength of schedule 61
-W- OrSU, UW, OhSU, MSU
-L- at Iowa
Pac 10 – USC 11-1
-computers- 7, 7, 7, 8, 9, 3
-strength of schedule 40
-L- at Oregon State
-W- OhSU, OrU, ASU, Cal, ND
MWC – Utah 12-0
-computers- 2, 4, 4, 5, 5, 7
-strength of schedule 71
-W- AF, OrSU, TCU, BYU
WAC – BSU 12-0
-computers- 6, 7, 8, 8, 8, 8
-strength of schedule 114
-W- Oregon, Nev, Fres
MAC – Buffalo 8-5
-computers- not in BCS 25
-strength of schedule 82
-W- Ohio, BallSU
-L- KtSU, WMU, CMU, Pitt, Missouri
Sun Belt – Troy 8-4
-computers- not in BCS 25
-strength of schedule 125
-L- OhSU, OkSU, LouMon, LSU
C-USA – ECU 9-4
-computers- not in BCS 25
-strength of schedule 75
-W- VaTech, WVU, Tulsa
-L- NCSt, Houston, Uva, SoMiss
At Large Pool - Based on next ten highest ranked teams in BCS with Pitt jumping Oregon and Sparty, personal choice as I felt Pitt had a better resume, which is what would be great about this system as the argument would be about the "bubble" teams in the 16-20 range, not the 2-5 range.
(computer numbers from BCS, strength of schedule from usatoday)
-computers- 2, 2, 2, 3, 3, 4
-strength of schedule 12
-W- Colo, OkU, Misso, OkSU
-L- at Texas Tech
-computers- 5, 5, 6, 6, 6, 7
-strength of schedule 56
-W- Clem, Uga, OleMiss, LSU
-L- UF neutral site
Texas Tech 11-1
-computers- 2, 3, 3, 5, 6, 6
-strength of schedule 27
-W- Neb, Kan, UT, OkSU
-L- at OU
Ohio State 10-2
-computers- 10, 10, 9, 11, 14, 15
-strength of schedule 45
-W- UW, MSU, NW, Minn
-L- at USC, PSU
-computers- 9, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14
-strength of schedule 76
-W- BYU, AF
-L- OkU, Utah
Oklahoma State 9-3
-computers- 11, 12, 13, 13, 17, 18
-strength of schedule 39
-W- Misso, Colo
-L- UT, Tech, OU
-computers- 11, 14, 18, 19, 19, 20
-strength of schedule 84
-L- TCU, Utah
-computers- 13, 13, 15, 17, 17, 18
-strength of schedule 13
-W- USC, Vandy, LSU, UK
-L- Bama, UF, GT
Georgia Tech 9-3
-11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 16
-strength of schedule 31
-W- BC, Clem, FSU, Miami, Uga
-L- VaTech, Uva, UNC
-computers- 12, 14, 23, 23, 21, 18
-strength of schedule 22
-W- Buff, Iowa, USF, Navy, ND, WVU, Uconn
-L- BG, Rutgers, Cincy
The Pro BCS Arguments
-Protects integrity of the bowl system
This is absurd. The BCS makes all but one bowl game completely irrelevant. The BCS incorporates 4 bowls and 10 teams. Under this proposed playoff all 4 of the BCS bowls are still included plus 6 more teams get a chance. Either the 3 worst bowl games die out, not a real loss, or they suck up the handful of still available 6-6 teams and continue to put on 6-6 v. 6-6 bowl games that about 37 people care about.
-BCS helps protect the student athletes
Whatever. Every other level of college football has a playoff. Nobody at the NCAA or BCS is crying out about the atrocity that those playoffs bring upon those student athletes. College football is about making money now a days, whether we like it or not. Why else would they add a 12th regular season game or conference championship games? College football players, when they play on Saturdays, miss zero class time as opposed to college basketball and other sports that regularly play and travel mid-week.
-BCS makes the regular season the most valuable, best regular season in sports
BS. The post season in college football is completely meaningless because it is an entirely subjective choice to pick two out of 120ish teams to play for the title, thus, in my opinion, the regular season is completely meaningless as well. A playoff format such as this still makes the regular season great as only conference champions and the next 5 best teams get in.
Under this best guess of a tournament field, the at large teams include three 1 loss teams, one 2 loss team, and one 3 loss team with two 2 loss teams left out. There is still great value in the regular season because of the value of a conference championship and the automatic bid and the fact that 1 or 2 losses could mean elimination from the at large pool. This way, the regular season could actually be more valuable as there would be more relevant games as the season progresses because of greater opportunity for making the tournament field. Seriously, who the hell cared about the MAC, ACC, and C-USA title games last week? The value of those games and other late season games would be much greater for teams as they would still have a chance to make the tournament.
Why the BCS stinks
The system is totally subjective and full of conflicts of interest (the coaches’ poll) and uninformed, clueless voters (harris poll and coaches’ poll to a certain extent). The BCS claims the regular season is a playoff but when Texas beats Oklahoma, Oklahoma still gets the advantage in the end by running up the score the last month of the season. The BCS claims that there is some reasonable, rational method of determining a championship match-up of 2 out of 120ish teams. And worst of all, the BCS title game is anywhere from 4 to 6 weeks from the end of the regular season as opposed to a playoff that would be a continuation of the just completed season instead of one game after a month off.
Seems to be a lot of questions about LLP, so I thought I would throw this out there.
First Game: December 20th versus Oakland at the Palace.
I attended the open practice/scrimmage after the northwestern game this fall (I think I get a double black belt or something...anywho) and this kid is legit. The practice and scrimmage were intense. Obviously, things can change 'when the lights come on' but nothing suggests he won't be able to perform at the same level or better in games.
Notes on the scrimmage - He absolutely drained a three from the top of the key. nice stroke and very confident. He also jumped into a passing lane, stealing the ball, taking about three dribbles and jamming it home on the other end before anyone really had time to react. My friend turned to me eyebrows raised and said 'shot out of a cannon'. Notably - he 'ran with the ones' as they say the whole time as well, which was a little surprising to me, but obviously speaks to what Beilein thinks he will contribute.
On to the impact for the team:
To address some points from previous threads, first is chemistry. He has been with the team for about a year. He gets along with everyone and has been practicing and lifting and working with them that whole time. If anything, I think the team will be really happy that he finally gets to play because they all realize he is going to make them a better team.
Second - Offensive Impact - he is a 'combo guard' meaning he will play both the 1 and 2. He is a very good shooter and a scorer. He can drive and is a good passer. He will be the best guard on the team. (this excludes Manny as he is playing wing this year). Will he score 20 a game? no. Can he in a single game? yes. He will take a significant amount of pressure off Manny and Sims and will be that third consistent scorer contributing probably 8 to 12 points a night.
Third - Defensive Impact - this has been the most talked about aspect of his game is his voracity on the defensive side of the ball. He will immediately give the team the ability to play significantly more effective man-to-man defense if he is in at the two guard and Grady is at the one. If he is at the point, he also gives the baseline man in the 1-3-1 significantly better height/more of a presence running out to challenge the corner three pointer.
Fourth - Minutes - He will take minutes from Merrit, Lee, Novak and probably a lot of Douglass' minutes. I don't think any one person will be affected to the point where they become disgruntled, except for maybe Douglas if he takes that starting spot.
To sum up - LLP will have a tremendous impact in upgrading the team's performance in games and being able to consistently score within games and also on a game to game basis. He has ALREADY had an impact by making practices more challenging and has positively affected the other guards games' by pressuring them in practice and providing competition for their minutes.
Update: Link to highlights from open gym while LLP was at AZ below. This is roughly 1.5 years old and he is presumably improved from that time, especially under Beilein's tutelage.
(link ganked from comments on another thread. Thanks to baorao for finding it. as he noted, music on the highlihgt movie might not be safe for work.)
Ok, to start out, maybe ruin is too strong of a word, but college football would not be the same if we had playoffs. I know most of you will probably disagree with me, and that’s fine.
I’ll skip the obvious arguments that have been rehashed over and over (the regular season is a de facto playoff, the money from bowls, etc.) The real reason I don’t want to see a playoff is that it would take away what makes college football unique: chaos, controversy, endless debate.
Let me say that college football is, by far, my favorite sport. Especially Michigan football. Nothing else comes close. NFL? I don’t care. Outside the Super Bowl (is the NFL going to sue me for using its proper name?), there are no “must see” games, especially in the regular season. Pats-Colts? (of recent years, not necessarily this year) They’ll meet again in the playoffs, so I can miss the game. Basketball? Never been a huge fan. When Michigan was good, I watched, but never had the passion for it that I had for football. Hockey? Getting close, wish more Michigan hockey games were televised. NHL doesn’t matter at all until the playoffs, then it’s a crap shoot of whoever is hot.
I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in believing that college football has the most passionate fans of any sport. And that’s why we shouldn’t have playoffs. Sure, the BCS causes controversy, but it’s that controversy that fans the flames of fans passion:
It’s the endless debate of which team deserves it more.
It’s that the stakes are so high, and the system is so subjective.
It’s that everything matters: It’s not just your record; it’s who you lost to and when you lost.
It’s that upsets matter. USC losing to Oregon State wouldn’t have mattered if there were a playoff, USC would have still made the playoff. But they lost, so it changes everything.
It’s the insanity of last year when top ranked team after top ranked team lost.
It’s the debate between co-champions. Michigan-Nebraska in 97-98? Yeah, it would have been great for them to play each other and decide it all, but if they did, we wouldn’t still be talking about and passionate about it now. Auburn in 04-05? They can still complain about being screwed. If there was a playoff, who would still be talking about that year?
It’s that columnists would be out of jobs (not that that would necessarily be a bad thing). If there was a playoff, what would they write about? What do they write about now? When in doubt, write about how the BCS sucks.
Yeah, even with a playoff there would still be some controversy about teams that missed the playoffs, but there’s much less passion when arguing about who’s #8 (or 4 or 16 or whatever depending on the playoff format).
It’s the analysis to the nth degree. Strength of schedule, style points, who’s playing the hottest right now, and on and on.
It’s the “what ifs?” What if Michigan had played Nebraska in 97-98? What if it had been Auburn-USC in 04-05? What if it had been Auburn-Oklahoma in 04-05? What if Texas had been in the Big 12 championship game this year?
Controversy, debates, arguments, unanswered (and un-answerable) questions, upsets that truly affect the big picture. These are the things that make college football the greatest sport out there. All that goes away (or is seriously diminished) with playoffs. All the mystique, all the debate – gone. There would be no questions left. There would be no debating events from 3, 5, even 10 years ago. Everybody wants a playoff so that everything ends up settled, nice and neat. And a good playoff system would do just that. But then college football is just NFL jr.
Let’s not fix the “flaw” that sets college football apart. Otherwise it’ll just blend in to the sports background.