spoiler alert: i linked this
During the past few summers when college conference expansion was all the rage, all I could think about was how the maneuvering and backstabbing going on was similar to George RR Martin’s A Song of Ice and Fire series. I tweeted about it a long while back, but forgot about it until recently when I read an article comparing soccer teams to the great houses of Westeros. I figured with it being a quiet off season and HBO’s version of a Game of Thrones currently in its second season, I should revisit the idea and look at the Big 10 and some of college football’s other teams as if they were great houses. I’ve excluded Nebraska because they are too new to the Big 10 and have tried to avoid spoilers for people who have not read all the books. Feel free to add more in the comments. Enjoy!
Michigan: House Stark. Michigan is one of the oldest teams in the country and can trace their lineage back to the First Men (to play football). Like Winterfell, their keep is one of the oldest and largest in all the BCS Kingdoms, and like the Starks there must always be a Michigan Man in the Big House. One of the defining characteristics of House Stark is their dedication to honor, a trait that Michigan shares as well. Many other houses look upon this as folly, for it puts both Stark and Michigan at a disadvantage when dealing with other Houses who have no such restrictions. Both the Starks and Michigan share sigils of ferocious creatures that do not actually live on their lands. They are The School in the North.
Ohio State: House Bolton. If there is any house that can match the Starks in the North, it is House Bolton. While the power of Michigan has waned in the past years, Ohio State’s has risen under the watchful eye of their quiet leader, Jim Tressel. Like Roose Bolton, Tressel looked like a model banner man and Northerner, honorable and loyal, but deep down he only cared about winning. And win he did, dispatching Michigan and becoming the new Warden of the North. House Bolton is seen by many to be brutal and untrustworthy, but there is no denying their power or the intelligence of their leadership. While the rest of the North floundered, they flourished. Both Ohio State and Bolton now are dealing with new heirs who many people think are basically the scum of the earth.
Wisconsin: House Umber. While not the most powerful House, the Umbers have made a name for themselves for being brave warriors and immensely strong. They could never match the power of the Starks or the Bolton’s, but individually they are perhaps the strongest warriors in the BCS Kingdoms. Their sigil is a chained giant, and the men of the house look the part, simply overpowering any foe who stands before them. One of the members of House Umber is nicknamed “Whoresbane” which sums up Brett Bielma nicely.
Penn State: House Manderly. House Manderly was never originally from the North, instead they arrived a 1000 years ago after being chased away from the South. While they were accepted by the Starks and have lived in the North for some time, they are still viewed by many as outsiders, and not considered true Northerners. While this may not seem fair to Penn State, who have proven themselves time and again to be loyal subjects, it is the case regardless. Whiteharbor is the only port of size in the North and is the portal through which the rest of the North gains access to the fertile lands of the South. While Penn State is not the only way the Big 10 gains access to the East Coast, it does play a similar role.
Michigan State: House Karstark. The Karstarks are an offshoot of House Stark, started by a youngest son who would never have inherited anything. They are proud, but not particularly powerful in the grand scheme of things. No matter what they do, they forever live in the shadow of their more powerful, pure blood Stark cousin’s. And if they get out of hand, you can bet that big cousin is standing there ready to lop off their head.
Minnesota: House Mormont. Both Minnesota and House Mormont are exceptionally proud and incredibly poor. They hardly seem worthy of being part of the BCS nobility, seeing as they live in a wooden fort on an island with no resources, but they are. Their sigil is a bear which kind of looks like a gopher.
Iowa: House Reed. House Reed lives in a swamp far away from civilization. Iowa can be found in a cornfield far away from civilization. Every once in a while they do something interesting, but mostly they just sit far away from civilization.
Purdue, Illinois, Northwestern, Indiana: House who cares. Seriously, no one cares about the minor houses in the books and no one cares about these teams.
Other Great Houses:
Notre Dame: House Targeryen. House Targeryen is not aligned with any of the old kingdoms, having arrived from Vallyria with dragons and conquering everyone. For centuries they lorded over the other BCS people as the undisputed kings, but recently have fallen on hard times. Inbreeding has basically left them insane, and a series of horrendous leaders have left them running around in the wilderness with no shoes eating horse hearts. One Targeyen named Viserys even got a pot of melted gold poured over his head. Like Targeryen, Notre Dame is not really seen as a threat to anyone, but there is a great deal of power still in the name. A capable person could turn them into a mighty force.
Texas: House Baratheon. Both are big, powerful, and pretty much assholes. They don’t really work with others, instead just tell them what to do. They were kings for a while, but recently have utterly collapsed, and aren’t really a force to be reckoned with. Baratheon’s sigil is a horned stag, which is similar to Texas’ Longhorn.
Alabama: House Lannister. Everyone hates the Lannisters/Alabama, but they are probably the most powerful force in the world at the moment. They have the money, don’t really play by the rules, and treat everyone like the peasants they are. When they play you, they don’t so much want to beat you but kill you, kill your family, and erase your names from the history books. It seems that every few years some sort of horrific scandal is coming out of Alabama/House Lannister, but people soon forget it after they crush some new foe. As far as leadership goes, both House Lannister and Alabama have the privilege of having a genius and bloodthirsty dwarf in command. While the sigil of House Lannister is a lion and Alabama has an elephant, House Lannister’s colors are gold and crimson, which fits in nicely for the Crimson Tide.
Oregon: House Baelish. House Baelish was a speck of a house on the ocean that had no great history or wealth. But through the genius and possibly ill-gotten wealth of one man, that has all changed. Oregon was nothing before Nike founder Phil Knight began making it rain dollars in the Pacific Northwest instead of, you know, rain. Through a combination of absurd wealth and some backroom deals, both Oregon and Baelish are now knocking at the doors of the elite. Plus, both have adorable birds as sigils.
Florida State: House Tyrell. Both Florida State and House Tyrell think they are royalty, but really both found themselves in very fertile grounds and got lucky. It is hard to fail when you have the richest lands to draw from; large populations on those lands, but surprisingly both Florida State and Tyrell seem to fall apart with some regularity. They have neighbors in Miami and House Florent who fell that they are superior and deserve the top spot, but no one else thinks so.
The Big East: The Iron Islands. You could look at individual teams and compare them to individual houses, but what’s the point. Both the Ironborn and the Big East live on the coast and like to think they are powerful and deserve respect, but most people ignore them until they get beaten. And when that happens, they turn around and smack them in the mouth until they run away. Both the Big East and the Ironborn like to claim great swathes of land, but have no hopes of actually holding on to any of it. It is tough to be surrounded by far more powerful kingdoms who could crush you with a sneeze.
Junker's attorney is saying he will plead guilty to one federal and one state felony for his role in reimbursing $48,000 in campaign contributions by employees. COO Natalie Wisneski is not expected to deal and is under indictment for filing false tax returns and breaking some of the same campaign finance laws as Junker. Lobbyist Gary Husk is not expected to enter a plea, either.
Junker faces a presumptory sentence of two and a half years, but is also eligible for probation.
Let me start by prefacing this with a warning: This will not be a revolutionary or even original way of thinking about the BCS and a potential playoff system in College Football. This is merely one mans attempt to waste time and figure out what he believes should be the system to determine a champion in the sport that he loves. Also, unfortunatley there will not be any fancy statistics that prove that what I am saying is better than the BCS or anything like that.
So, I believe that there are 3 major considerations that need to be undertaken in forming a college football postseason:
1. To determine a fair and correct champion
2. To keep the integrity of the regular season alive
3. To keep the tradition of the Bowls alive
The reason why I like the BCS in its current form is because it accomplishes objectives 2 and 3, while usually (but controversially) accomplishing objective 1. However, as time has passed, I believe that objective 1 has become less and less acheivable in the BCS system because, among other reasons, the human bias for and against certain conferences. There is no doubt that the SEC is the top conference in the land. Is it however, so far and away better than the B1G, Pac12, Big12, ACC and Big East that there should be an in-conference rematch for the national championship? I believe that the answer is, in almost any case, no.
Now that we have determined what I believe to be the most glaring flaw in the BCS system, we move to creating an alternative. This alternative must complete all 3 objectives in a significantly better way to be worth a change in format.
The way I look at college football, the regular season is in fact, a playoff. To add a full playoff system like that off the NFL would greatly diminish regular season games and would take away a fundamental element of college football that differentiates it from the NFL: The importance of every game. I dont think that a team should be able to lose more than one, or in rare, rare cases 2 games and be in consideration for a national championship. If we lived in a world where a team could simply win its conference and be into the playoff system, we would see OOC games be rendered virtually meaningless. We would also see teams that lock up a birth in their conference championship games be less motivated to win on that special rivalry weekend that closes out the regular season. This takes away the passion, intensity and importance of every week and would be a travesty in my opinion.
Similarly, the Bowl season is one of the greatest postseason experiences in sports. Charles Woodson clenching that rose between his teeth after beating Ohio State in 97 and all such experiences would disappear in a full playoff. Also, New Years Day (or this year 2-Jan) isnt the same without a full day of important Bowl games.
So onto my proposal...
Add one more BCS game to the mix with the Cotton Bowl. The two teams that play in this game are at large teams from any conference. We use the BCS formula and existing conference tie-ins to determine who is sent to the 5 BCS Bowl games. These 5 games are all played in sequential order on 1-January every year. The morning after these games, some type of formula similar to the BCS determines what 2 teams play for the national championship. What this formula looks for is strength of schedule through out the season combined with a heavier emphasis on the teams preformance in its bowl game. This makes sure that every game is still important, makes sure that the bowl games keep their tradition and importance and gives us one more ulta significant data point per season to determine who plays for a national championship. The 2 teams selected then play for the National championship a week later in a rotating stadium among the 5 BCS games.
The BCS bowls would also be picked by a comittee who tried to create matchups we would like to see.
So in this system the BCS would have played out something like this in 2011/2012:
Rose Bowl: Wisconsin v Oregon
Orange Bowl: West Virginia v Clemson
Sugar Bowl: LSU v Michigan
Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma State v Boise State (or Alabama v OkSt)
Cotton Bowl: Stanford v Alabama (Or Boise State v Alabama)
If I had to guess the National Championship, it would still probably be Alabama v LSU in a rematch but we would get to see how they fared against other opponents before sending them to an automatic rematch. In all honesty, they were the 2 best teams this year. This scenario does make a rematch a little more interesting this year, I think, and in most years would pick the 2 best teams overall to play for the championship.
Obviously this sytem has flaws as well but this was mainly an excersize to explore another option.
It appears the BCS will soon be up for some serious change. In my opinon it is about time. Here is the link to the story:
What sort of changes would you like to see?
Looks like folks in Congress want a playoff instead of the current BCS arrangement.
The “We Want a Playoff Now” campaign was introduced Thursday on Capitol Hill. It includes the lobbying firm The Moffett Group, headed up by former Rep. Toby Moffett, D-Conn., and the communications firm, New Partners. Along with that effort, two congressmen are forming the Congressional Collegiate Sports Caucus. The congressmen, Texas Republican Joe Barton and Tennessee Democrat Steve Cohen, are reintroducing Barton’s 2009 bill aimed at forcing college football to switch to a playoff system. The longshot bill would ban — as unfair and deceptive — the promotion of a postseason NCAA Division I football game as a national championship unless it’s the outcome of a playoff.
Here's the money quote hurr hurr hurr:
...decisions about college sports are best left to those in higher education, not politicians.
I imagine that's getting pretty loose with the truthiness, eh? I don't think anyone would argue that school administrators (i.e. "those in higher education") are making the decisions. No, that'd be the dudes in the yellow blazers.
The MWC is applying for an automatic bid to the BCS. Here's how they're doing it:
The BCS rules allow a league without automatic qualifying status to request an exemption for the next two seasons if its teams met certain performance standards from 2008-2011.
I wasn't even aware that a non-AQ could gain an auto-bid. Anyone have any more info about the standards for gaining an auto-bid? Is it just sending 2 teams to the BCS in 2 consecutive years?
My guess is that they'll be denied, considering that both TCU and Boise State are leaving the MWC and those two teams are the only reason the MWC is even eligible. Then again, the Big East is really, really bad. And that's an understatement.