spoiler alert: i linked this
I decided to upgrade this to a diary. Still not sure why I spent 45 min. typing this but I was thinking about it. Let me know your thoughts regarding next years starting lineup and anything else you feel compelled to comment on. Go Blue!
I was just thinking about how frustrating it was the past three nights watching the teams I was rooting for in the Big Ten lose in barn burners (Iowa, Wisconsin, Illinois). I was also thinking of how frustrating it is to watch Michigan play. They show moments of greatness beating UCLA, Duke, Illinois, Purdue and sticking w/ a #1 ranked UConn team only to look like a terrible for long stretches against Indiana, Iowa, Wisconsin (2x), Michigan State, O$U (2x). I do not understand Beilein's rotation as it has seemed to change drastically for some players from the first half of the season to the conference season. So these are my brief thoughts/frustrations of the role players on this team as we move towards the end of the season and look towards next season:
CJ Lee/David Merritt: I love the story of these two guys earning a scholarship and both of them currently attending Graduate School at U of M but in reality I look forward to having more D-1 scholarship type players on the team w/ their departure. I feel like there is room for one on the team b/c it is a great story and really speaks to what college athletics should be about.
On the court I do think anyone hustles as much as CJ Lee. I love seeing him hit the occasional 3-pointer and grabbing a monster rebound against guys taller than him. He is scrappy, a great leader and always plays hard. I can't help but get nervous when he is running the game in pressure situations but that is mostly b/c I watched him turn the ball over twice in the waning moments of regulation against NW. David Merritt seems to be very sound w/ controlling the ball and has solid defense. He seems to be a bit less of a scoring threat than Lee but is a nice surprise every once in awhile on the offensive end.
Jevohn Shepherd: I loved seeing this guy play early this season. He seemed to have settled into some sort of role finally coming off of the bench just to have that role disappear come Big Ten season. If it were up to me, Shepherd would always play before Gibson. I love his athletic ability. He seems comfortable handling the ball on the perimeter and seems to love to try to take it to the hole when he gets a slower big guy out on him. His athletic ability seems to make up some of the height disparity between Gibson and him but I think his inside outside threat makes him more valuable, but again what do I know I was cut from my Varsity team.
Zack Gibson: Jevohn Shepherd is a great transition to Gibson b/c this guy frustrates me to no end. I spent the first half of the season defending him to my gf but now he just bugs me. He finally got a haircut so he doesn't look so stupid out there but he is still our token tall white goon except he is not as good as our ones from the past (Graham Brown, Chris Young). He does not seem comfortable at all handling the ball unless he is 5 ft. from the hoop. But even then he is not sure if he is going to dunk it, lay it in or go for a reverse layup (he did this against Wisconsin when he had an easy layup, but he made it). I do not know what he does in practice but I'm not sure his occasional free throw or layup make up for his moving screens or turnovers. I guess he gives us the much needed height but I hope to God that Ben Cronin can help relegate Gibson to the bench next year.
DeShawn Sims: I can't say enough about this guy and what he does for our team. He is not flashy or demanding of attention but lets his playing speak for itself and that is probably what I love most about him (except his missed 3-pointer at the end of the Wisconsin game). I think every game we need to try to work the ball to him first. He is like Basketball's equivalent of having a running game. You run to open up the pass. We need to go down low to Sims to open up our 3-point game. Right now we seem to do one or the other and only see glimpses of both but next year I think we will be wildly successful if we can do this consistently. Sims plays like he is a few inches taller than he really is. I wish Amaker would have played him more as a freshman but maybe that slowed his development enough where he will stay for his senior year and really become the heart and soul of this team.
Manny Harris: No doubt he is a great talent and is why we are any good at all this year. I think if he goes pro it is a big mistake on his part. I think at least another year will help round his game out and hopefully put some meat on his skinny frame. I do not know if it is something that Manny does when going to the hole but it kills me he rarely gets calls when he goes to the hoop. I think this is the best part of his game and the refs don't help him out and actually give him one or two charges a game. This seems to get to him and he sometimes falls victim to the game getting to his head and throwing him off. On the offensive end he has such an off-balanced looking 3-point shot it is hard to say he is great from there but he hits enough to where it is safe to say he is pretty good. He doesn't look like a Glen Rice or a Louis Bullock but they go in. I wish he could develop that 10-20 ft. range where if he can't drive all the way to the hole he can pull up and make you pay. So I think Manny needs at least another year to refine his game and get us back to the tourney.
Kelvin Grady: He has definitely fallen out of the rotation. Not sure why or how I feel about it. I feel as good w/ him handling the ball as I do w/ Lee or Merritt but I think he is still searching for an identity. His quickness is one of his strongest attributes and works out well in the 1-3-1 zone defenses. Sometimes he finds his range from downtown but that is a bit less consistent than I would like. I think he needs to work on shooting consistency and will always be a role player for us.
Anthony Wright: Not too sure what to make of Wright. He is victim to the strange rotations under Beilein and has hardly been heard from all season until lately. Last year he had a few games (I think OSU) where he rained threes but that hasn't seemed to grow or move forward in any particular way. I like him on the roster in case we run into injury issues like a few years back or to just have someone to come off the bench and add a spark.
Laval Lucas-Perry: I think we were all excited about this guy and he turned in some good games early but his shot seemed to lose him for awhile. I love that he has freshman eligibility and I think we all forget that and were expecting him to come in and be great. That hasn't happened but you can see that he has great potential. I think he has the physical attributes to be very good. He seems strong and comfortable in his body. I have heard he is automatic from 3-point land in practice but he somehow needs to translate that into the game which I think he will. What bothers me most about Laval is when he drives to the hoop he does not seem to know what he is going to do w/ it. He is quick and very good at getting the step on the defenders but does not know if his #1 goal is go to the rim or kick out. It usually ends up w/ a strong miss off the glass when he had the shot and didn't expect to be so open. I think if he finds his shot and becomes comfortable in games shooting it and also learns to drive to the rim and expect to score he will grow into the player we expect him to be.
Stu Douglass/Zack Novak: They are a bit interchangeable in my mind. Novak seems to be more of the scorer but only b/c he takes more shots from 3-point land. Douglass seems to have the body to grow into an even more solid player defensively and offensively. They seem to be on track to be solid contributors and probably frequent starters for the next 3 years at Michigan. As Brian said, they will be the kind of players that would be great players at Butler or some other good mid-major.
Eric Puls: Last and probably least, Puls. I no nothing about this kid other than the mop up minutes he has gotten and even those have been scarce as we have rarely run opponents out of the gym. Probably a career on the bench if he can't get time while being 6'10" on a very undersized team.
We lose only Shepherd, Lee and Merritt so we are in good shape next year w/ a solid freshman class coming in. So it should be very much the same team. I think the Big Ten will be as good next year as most teams seem to have young talent on them. So hopefully our young guys have more of an upside (mostly Cronin) than an OSU who is also returning most everyone. I would think the starting lineup next year would be something like: C Cronin, F Sims, F Harris, G Lucas-Perry, and G Grady eventually being Darius Morris. Sprinkle in some starts for Novak and Douglass and hopefully it will be a great year.
Who are your favorite/least favorite MGoBlog Posters/Commentators?
WolvinLA: Makes me LOL most consistently. Always seems to have a good line up his sleeve.
Chitown Blue: Does a really good job dissecting weak, or just plain retarded arguments. Has a lot of good points. I disagreed with the way he went after Johnny of RBUAS this year, but hey, can't agree on everything.
Huss: Can be at his best when fired up. His Magnus-inspired tirade alone, makes him worth a mention. (Link to said tirade: http://www.mgoblog.com/diaries/omg-we-lost-our-3rd-string-qb?page=1 )
Barking Sphyncter: I don't know if this guy died, got banned, or what... but he has/had talent. Coming directly out of left field, B. Sphyncter came up with some of the most hysterical rants i've seen on the e-bays. (Example:http://www.mgoblog.com/content/unverified-voracity-has-new-favorite-stanford-player )
Magnus: Has the miraculous ability to annoy me every other time he posts. I don't think he's all bad though. I'll always give him props for sticking up for Lloyd, when everyone wanted to take a dump on the man.
Didn't include Brian, Tom VH or JamieMac on here. I feel like they're the main event (for all their good work, research and efforts), while the rest of us are more color commentators or studio correspondents (for lack of a better metaphor).
Over the last year, there have been various conversations about how the game of football has changed, and left Carr in the dust. Some of the posters have said, more or less in the words of Al Davis and the Raiders, "Just win, baby." Now, I myself want to see Michigan win, but is there some point at which it's not worth it? I'm thinking of that old movie, "Indecent Proposal," and the line, "Some things aren't for sale."
I'd like to see Brian put up a poll or two, finding out how important it is to mgoblog readers HOW Michigan wins. It should be obvious that every Michigan fan wants Michigan to win. But we each have a different point where it's not worth it.
What got me thinking down this track was the profile on Brandon Hawthorne. Brian wrote, " 'I'm a get you.' Those four words . . . represent the vast gulf in culture between the old guard and the new better than anything I've run across so far. . . The fact that Hawthorne and Smith fit in so well with the coaches recruiting them they would commit to Michigan sight unseen . . . indicates a shift in philosophy. It's not seismic . . . but it's real."
Now, I can live with the shift in philosophy. I'm fine with Hawthorne coming to Michigan. After all, iirc, Anthony Carter wasn't the sharpest knife in the drawer, but Bo was sure happy to have him on campus. It's obvious Michigan had to get with the program, in the shift from Carr & crew to RR.
Having said that, I don't want criminals on campus. I don't want Michigan to be just another semi-pro team, just another ticket to the NFL, with no loyalty, no "Michigan Men," no academic or ethical standards. I think we all know there is a huge double standard in terms of the academic expectations of the general student body compared to Michigan athletes. But I'm wondering if there is some point where the disparity becomes so vast it creates problems. As an example, it is my perception that Miami football players are thugs, and are purely hired guns. I don't want that for Michigan.
Back to the original question: how much would you "pay" to have the mythical national championship? If corruption and cheating was well enough hidden, would you want it, because it meant we would win? Or would you rather see UofM contend for the occasional NC, say every five or ten years, but doing it the "right" way, the "Michigan" way? What are you willing to compromise, and what is important to do the right way?
Maybe I'm just a hopeless romantic. Maybe Michigan under Bo & Carr has been just as corrupt and slimy as any other successful team out there. Maybe, but my strong impression of Carr and Bo was that they cared a lot about the process, about how things were done. I have always felt that Carr was a man of integrity, who cared about a lot more than wins. Again, we had to move forward. Carr was part of the problem. It was time for him to move on. But it is critical to me that we have moved on the "right" way.
Brian has been (I think) hinting at this kind of thing with the oversigning at Alabama and North Carolina. The implication is that for Brian, even if oversigning slightly improved the level of recruits at UofM, it wouldn't be worth it to him. This is one of his "lines in the sand." What are your lines in the sand? What is it worth to you to win?
Obviously, it would be a big boost to Michigan to wind up as the top seed in the Grand Rapids regional. Besides the kind-of-home-ice advantage, there would be a decent chance that the first-round game would be against a team like Air Force or Bemidji State if U-M can pick up a top-two seed.
Unfortunately, there is one little problem: Notre Dame. We have to finish ahead of the Irish in the Pairwise rankings to get that spot. Thanks to some interesting officiating a few weeks ago, we are far behind the Domers in the Pairwise, and have really no hope of passing them in a head-to-head comparison.
So how do we pass them? Well, we let a few "friends" do it for us: Vermont and Denver. Right now, we win 21 out of 24 comparisons among the top 25, while ND wins 22. We don't need to win 2 more as long as the Irish lose 2 more.
The key is in Notre Dame's TUC record -- that's Teams Under Consideration for those not steeped in Pairwise nerdness. The Irish are 6-5-0 against teams in the top 25 in the RPI; a hair better than Vermont's 7-7-3. Currently, Vermont loses the RPI and TUC comparisons, and wins against common opponents. A swing in the TUC lifts the Catamounts over Notre Dame. Vermont has two home games this weekend against UNH, followed by the Hockey East tournament. If they get a sweep this weekend and get to the finals of the Hockey East tourney and lose, they will have a record of, at worst, 10-8-3 against TUC for a percentage of 0.548. If ND gets to the Joe and splits either way, their record will be 7-6-0,for a percentage of 0.538. Vermont wins the comparison without even winning their conference tournament.
That gets us into a tie with ND, but we need one more. Denver has a head-to-head win over ND, but that doesn't count in the TUC. They are currently tied against common opponents, and ND wins the RPI. Denver is 13-9-3 in TUC compared to 6-4-0 for ND. Denver has a home game left against Colorado College, followed by the WCHA tourney. Let's say they beat CC, then lose in the finals of the WCHA. That boosts their TUC record to 15-10-3, for a percentage of 0.589. If ND again gets to the Joe and splits, they fall to 7-5-0, or 0.583. Denver wins the comparison.
The only fly in this hypothetical ointment is the Common Opponent comparison. Denver and Notre Dame have common opponents in Ohio State and Minnesota-Duluth. If Notre Dame beats OSU in the CCHA tournament (very possible), or Denver loses to Minn.-Duluth (very unlikely), that gives common opponents to ND, and they tie the comparison. With ND ahead in RPI, they get the win, and the Grand Rapids Regional.
So here's what we root for:
Michigan wins the CCHA tournament, or at least splits at the Joe. You were probably rooting for that before anyway.
Vermont and Denver win this weekend and at least make their conference tournament finals.
Important: Ohio State loses without getting to the Joe.
And, oddly enough, Notre Dame gets to the Joe and loses. I don't think getting knocked out in the quarterfinals, as unlikely as it is anyway, drops their RPI low enough that they get passed.
If all of this happens, we are looking at a probable 3rd overall seed, possibly second overall, at Grand Rapids. Winning the CCHA would probably give us 2nd.
As Brian pointed out in today’s UV, last night was a crazy night on the NCAA Bubble. Bubble teams from heavy favorite Kentucky to the heavy underdog Virginia Tech lost last night. The upshot for Michigan being a whole heck of a lot of elbow room being created in what had been one of the most crowded bubble pictures in recent seasons.
Does it change the tournament math for Michigan? No, not especially. But, it pretty much ensures that the oft-quoted formula of ‘.500 in the Big 10, plus one league tourney win’ will get the Wolverines in the final Field of 65.
How crazy was last night’s action? Without playing, the Wolverines may have been the biggest winners of the night as they saw two teams ahead of them in the Bracket Matrix final cut list lose, not to mention a Matrix 12-seed (UK) and Matrix 11-seed (Florida) as well.
How crazy was last night’s action? The most impressive win of the night by a team already on the bubble was a road win by Texas A/M at Colorado. The Buffaloes are in dead last place in the Big 12 with a 1-14 record.
How crazy was last night’s action? Northwestern, of all teams, thanks to their wonderful upset at Purdue, have stepped strongly into the void left behind from the other bubble failures to stake a legitimate and strong claim for an at large bid.
How crazy was last night’s action? Thanks to both Kentucky and Florida taking the gas pipe last night, their game against each other on Saturday has gone from being a play-in game to a game that will only determine who can survive another day on the bubble. The winner still will be on the outside looking in when the regular season ends. Do you think my buddy Billy Clyde Gillespie is feeling some heat today on the Bluegrass airwaves and blogs?
How crazy was last night’s action? I went 3-0 on my predictions. Ok, that’s not crazy, just pure awesome.
As for tonight, it’s a light overall on the schedule, but the games that are on the docket carry huge import:
Tennessee at South Carolina, 7pm, ESPN. Line USC 02
The SEC East Division Title is on the line tonight. At the same time, the loser might find itself in need a couple more wins to get into the Tournament. According to the Matrix, this is an 8-seed (UT) versus a 9-seed (USC). Based on that, both teams appear secure. The loser tonight, however, can’t afford to lose this weekend and feel safe about any at large bid. The slate works in both of their favor as the Vols host Alabama and the Gamecocks travel to Georgia on Saturday, but after last night, nothing in the SEC can be taken for granted.
Providence at Villanova, 7pm, ESPN2. Line, Nova -11
Michigan fans have found an ally in the Villanova Wildcats, haven’t we? That’s great because they owe us for that tank job Michigan gave them in the 1985 second round. I’m still shaking my head about that game. Did the Wolverine players just want to party with Dwayne McClain and his stash? Were they just trying to get in his good graces? Who knows? Anyway, for the third time in less than a week, the Wildcats will attempt to put a serious dent in the resume of one of the bubble teams battling Michigan for one of the final spots in the tournament. They could not get the job done against Georgetown on Saturday, but they delivered a death blow to Notre Dame on Monday. Tonight, we’ll find out if there’s any sharpness left in their dagger when Villanova hosts Providence. The Friars sit as the last team cut from the Bracket Matrix field. As of last night’s update, they are on a bracket line in about one-third of the total fields compiled by the Matrix. Even with a loss, Providence will still end with a nice looking 10-8 Big East record. However, they played a weak conference slate and have next to nothing on their OOC resume. A .500 team from a power league with nice OOC wins would surely merit more consideration that Providence when it’s all said and done. Are we familiar with any teams that fit that bill?
Dayton at Xavier, 9pm, ESPN2. LIne, XU -10
Xavier is playing for an outright A10 crown and for a better seed in the Big Dance. The Flyers are trying to cement an at large bid. They will do that with a win tonight as it will give them a season sweep over the Musketeers. Dayton looks to be in good shape for a bid. They receive unanimous support in the Bracket Matrix and currently sit on their 9-line. But, like a lot of teams in their position, the Flyers can’t afford to go the rest of the way without at least one more win. After tonight’s tough test at XU, Dayton closes the season Saturday night hosting a better-than-it-looks Duquesne squad. The Flyers have been masters at surviving close calls all season. If that skill dries up this week, the Flyers might need to win at least one game in the A10 Tournament to avoid a snub.
Illinois at Penn St, 9pm, ESPN. Line, PSU -1
Ah, yes. After the 38-33 treat they gave us a few weeks ago, I can’t wait to watch this one. What’s the O/U on number of years this game will set back basketball? Brian dissected the PSU situation yesterday. I don’t really have much more to add. Clearly, Michigan fans would like to see a PSU collapse down the stretch. They close at Iowa Sunday afternoon. That won’t be a picnic. If the Lions lose tonight, they will face a must win at Carver-Hawkeye Arena.
California at Arizona, 10:30pm, FSN. Line, AU -4.5
Perhaps the biggest game of the night takes place in the dessert tonight between the Golden Bears and Wildcats. The Cats have been a roller coaster. They were dead in the water in late January. In February, they picked themselves off the mat, played some brilliant hoops and injected themselves back in the NCAA hunt. As the first week of March closes, however, Arizona is sliding again, having lost three games in a row. They’re only 8-8 in the Pac 10 right now and sit as a 10-seed in the latest Bracket Matrix. It’s not hard to sketch the trouble they could be in should the losing streak hit four games. They do have a winnable home game against Stanford over the weekend, but I don’t think a 9-9 Pac 10 mark will be enough. If they don’t sweep the Bay Area teams at home this week, the Cats will have a lot of pressure on them heading into the Pac 10 Tournament. At 9-9, they would likely face Cal again or Arizona State in their first game. Their bid will be on shaky footing if they lose tonight. So, with the league's fifth bid still up in that air, why are Pac 10 bloggers debating a sixth bid?
Jeff Fryar Haunts My Dreams
You remember Loyola Marymount, don’t you? Don’t worry; you can come out from under the table. Jeff Fryar, the Human Bruise, is not in the building pulling up for break-away three pointers. Nor, is Bo Kimble around pumping through left-handed free throws. The Ghost of Hank Gathers is not in the building. Nobody will score 149 points on the Wolverines tonight. Of course, if any of those moments cause a small of vomit in your mouth, then you recall the absolute tail whipping the Lions put on Michigan in the 1990 Second Round. I’d rather not go into any more detail.
Anyway, if you want to see their modern incarnation, tune into the Big South semifinals tonight, beginning at 6pm on ESPNU. You’ll see their style of play in the VMI Keydets. No shot clock is needed with the Keydets. Games played in the 80s are slow affairs. They match up tonight against Liberty, a team led by freshman sensation Seth Curry. Yes, he’s the little brother of Stephen. Hopefully, we’ll get a few Cougar shots of his mother in the stands tonight.
In the second game, top seed and host Radford will play UNC Ashville. Don’t expect Radford to roll through this field by virtue of home court. They lost at home to both Liberty and VMI this year. The JCCW has a more in-depth preview on this tournament, so check the link out for a better primer on tonight’s games.
I expect these games to be dogfights, or in the case of the VMI/Liberty game a serious track meet. These four schools rarely sniff the NCAA Tournament, so the next couple of days (the finals are Saturday on ESPN2) will be an exciting time for the players, students, and towns involved.
I know there is a contingent of folks out there who do not like the fact clubs like these are included in the Field of 65. That’s flat hogwash, IMO. The essence of March Madness will be laid out on the court in this tournament and the other mid major ones taking place throughout this weekend. Do they have any chance at cutting the nets down next month in Detroit? No. But the players on one of these Big South teams will likely go down as some of the best in school history if they can pull out two more wins. To me, the beauty of March Madness is the ability to define different levels of success and achievement. Sure, only one big dog will be left standing, but along the way there are going to magical moments that will make the players feel like champions, even if they’re not on the roster of the eventual national champion.
Some of those moments may happen tonight. And, while none of the Big South action tonight will impact Michigan’s place on the bubble, I will be as glued to those games as any other this evening.
Predictions to make me look like a genius or an idiot tomorrow morning
Hey, we’re 5-2-2 this month. Let’s keep it rolling.
South Carolina -2 over Tennessee. While the SEC is weak this season, I’ve really come to enjoy watching a couple of their teams play, notably LSU and this Gamecock squad. They will complete an undefeated SEC home season in style tonight.
Penn State -1 over Illinois. I know we want the Illini to win this, but my brain says PSU will get it done. This may sound strange, given the 38-33 score these two labored too earlier in the year, but I think the Nittany Lions will have too much scoring tonight for an Illini team that may be running out of gas.
VMI beats Liberty in the Big South Semis tonight. Strangely, I am having a hard time finding a line on this one. But, as any real gambler knows how to do, I found a way to find action. I have a bar tab bet going with Jerry at the JCCW, who is flat convinced Liberty not only gets it done tonight, but wins the whole Big South Sectional. He has all sorts of fancy, KenPom anecdotal evidence in his favor. I have my heart as I really want to see the VMI show continue. Brains versus Heart, eh? I don’t see what can go wrong.
OK, so earlier, I presented a playoff idea which was pretty radical. I still think the only major-major problem with it was that it made a giant mess of conference championships, but that's not easily overcome.
Still, I'm gonna keep trying. I still hate the idea of a playoff pretty passionately, because typical playoff ideas like the MWC's yesterday aren't well thought out IMO. The effect they would have on what I like best about college football - the importance of the regular season and the excitement of bowl season - are brushed aside in favor of the narrowminded crusade toward crowning a "true" national champion. I think quite a few people who call themselves in favor of a playoff would change their mind if they actually grasped what the side effects would be, because they have their "perfect" one in mind.
That said, I recognize that the tide is against me here. Sooner or later there will be one, whether simply because the commissioners' thinking evolves or because Congress rams a shitty, poorly-thought-out playoff down our throat in the interest of scoring cheap political points with voters.
So I want to keep trying ideas that I think will continue to preserve both an entertaining regular season and keep the bowl season intact. (If we drop a lesser bowl or two - Papajohn's.com Bowl, say - I'm not distressed.) Keeping in mind two things of course, which I consider absolute truisms of a playoff: It must be big (12 team minimum, 16 more likely), and it must be played primarily at home stadiums.
So. The Big East basketball tournament is set up as follows:
#9 vs. #16
#10 vs. #15
#11 vs. #14
#12 vs. #13
#'s 5-8 get a bye and await opponents from the first round. #'s 1-4 get two byes. Thus a HUGE advantage to teams that performed well in the regular season. This would be multiplied in a college football playoff, as these teams would get weeks off to practice before playing.
So part 1 is accomplished: the regular season remains meaningful.
Part 2 - the bowl season must not be emaciated by losing all the best teams - means the playoff takes place mostly in December, and the early losers are to be snapped up by the bowls. Instead of conference affiliations, certain bowls would contract to get, say, the loser of the 11-14 game or the 6-11/14 game. I envision all losers could go to a bowl except for those losing in the Football Final Four.
This season, the conference championship games are December 5. The playoff could be on successive Saturdays: 12th, 19th, 26th. The Football Final Four would be played January 2 - my proposal being that, like the current BCS CG, the two games would be rotated among current BCS bowls.
The championship game would be January 9, and I envision, though I'm not married to the idea, that the game would be in one city permanently, much like the CWS is always in Omaha.
The BCS standing would be scrapped and the seedings would be chosen by selection committee, just like basketball.
Using the BCS standings from last year as an example only, as well as conference champions seeded the way I think they should be, the playoff last year might have looked like this:
#16 Troy at #9 Boise State
#15 Ball State at #10 Ohio State
#14 East Carolina at #11 TCU
#13 Virginia Tech at #12 Cincinnati
#12 Cincinnati at #5 USC
#11 TCU at #6 Utah
#10 Ohio State at #7 Texas Tech
#9 Boise State at #8 Penn State
#8 Penn State at #1 Oklahoma
#7 Texas Tech at #2 Florida
#6 Utah at #3 Texas
#5 USC at #4 Alabama
Football Final Four in Pasadena and New Orleans
#4 Alabama vs. #1 Oklahoma
#3 Texas vs. #2 Florida
Championship in wherever:
#2 Florida vs. #1 Oklahoma
(Full disclosure: Example edited after I remembered most of the point of having 16 teams is to allow for autobids, which I think are absolutely inseparable from a playoff.)
- Playoff! Y'all can stop whining.
- Regular season and bowl season mostly intact.
- Likelihood that teams would actually play fewer games than a standard playoff. The 9-16 teams would need to win five games to win, but that is not guaranteed. Chances are the champion only plays three. In a standard bracket, two teams must play four games.
- More teams get to host a playoff game. It's guaranteed that 12 teams would play host at least once, whereas the max guaranteed in a standard bracket would be eight. Spreading the money around makes everyone happy.
- Bowl contracts trickier, but not too hard, and traditional rivalries (Rose Bowl) might be hard to keep around. Bowl scheduling would have to adapt rather heavily especially for the third round losers.
- Compressed season and difficulty with final exams. Jumping straight into the postseason might be considered difficult for the college athlete.
- Still not convinced a team and their fans can viably travel twice, but the Big Event nature of a Final Four could overcome that.
Thoughts? I look forward to hearing them.