I'VE HAD JUST ABOUT ENOUGH OF YOU SONNY
Over on the Chris Petersen forum thread, Space Coyote commented that Petersen will get at Washington a program he can build as he wants "and isn't required to get 9-10 wins every year."
This is something I've been thinking about lately ... that is, the disparity in expectations among major college football programs, and whether the 4-team playoff coming next year increases the pressure for coaches at high-expectation schools.
It's simply a fact some programs have much higher football success expectations than other programs. Persistent losing is rarely tolerated, but there are plenty of programs where 9-win seasons keep everyone happy. Washington is probably one of those programs. But for places like Ohio State, Alabama, Florida, Texas, USC, Oklahoma ... the expectation is much higher.
So my question is this: Does the new 4-team playoff structure create more pressure on those high-expectation programs? Or less?
I'd argue more. My reasoning is this: today there's an escape hatch for high-performing programs that don't get into the BCS title game. It usually takes a perfect season and some luck to get into the BCS title game. A 10-2 or even 11-1 season won't always get you there, but it's still a great season and coaches can make that argument and generally it'll be accepted.
But with the new playoff system the expectation will be to get into that playoff. Winning it all will be great, of course ... but failing to get into the playoff will be a greater magnified shortfall.
Now there'll be four slots, so the competition is going to be fierce to be in the top 4. Four slots is twice as many as two, and the "perfect season and some luck" argument is diminished. "We finished 10-2!" the coach will argue. "Yeah, but you didn't get into the playoff so you fell short!" will be the counter-argument.
Some programs won't play that game ... preferring instead to play their game and if the record is 8-4 or 9-3 with no playoff, then okay. But the high-expectation schools are going to go all out to make the available playoff slots. Thus my argument that things get more intense, not less.
Thought I would open a thread as the Tigers finish the season with a three-game series in Miami tonight.
- The Tigers are within one game of the A's for home-field advantage in the ALDS
- Martinez will probably be catching
- Will Cabrera start?
I don't think I like what college football is becoming. I know the chaos of last year proved that the system is broken. But having 8-5 Wiscy at the Rose Bowl proves to me that the new way we're doing things (and trying to do more of in the future) isn't any better. Yes, I know Ohio is ineligible and so this season is an exception, but looking across the country and through history this isn't the first time undeserving teams win the little playoff game at the end of the season. The Big XII had it happen all the time. Georgia Tech nearly did it. UCLA had a chance to do it last season. And rematches are stupid, anyway, which is another reason I hate these expanded conferences and their title games.
Even worse to me was what SI's "mock" committee selected for the playoffs. The committee would have selected an Oregon team that didn't win its division, and they were flirting with the idea of sending three SEC teams. That makes very little sense to me - the whole point of playoffs is so we can take teams who've been isolated from each other but were the best in their isolated conferences, and match them up to see who's the best of the best. You don't think Stanford is deserving because they lost to the #1 team in the nation on a questionabl goal line stand? Fine - then send K-State, not an Oregon team who had a cakewalk of a non-conference schedule. But the morons who run college football are going screw up this playoff or expand it (which is also screwing it up).
I'll always love Michigan football and always watch them. But I used to love the "chase" for the national title, whether or not we were a part of it. I loved seeing who won what conference and who played in which bowl games and how the BCS filled their slots. But these last two seasons, that has been so unsatisfying. I almost wanted to see 6-6 GT win the ACC just so everyone can see how ridiculous this new system of super conferences and divisions are, with the de facto playoffs at the end that next year lead into the "national" playoffs.
For years we all clamored, begged, and wanted playoffs. I'm regretting what that has led to. We've ripped apart and thrown away traditional rivalries that made these conferences seems like families. I am beginning to wish Penn State had joined the Big East in 1982. I don't think it's crazy to say that none of this super conference bullshit would have happened with that being the case. Sure, maybe the SEC and Big 12 would have formed. But the 14 team Big Ten, the ACC and the Pac 12? Maybe, it was inevitable, I don't know.
Maybe I'll get used to it - Michigan at High Point Solutions Stadium to play Rutgers. Every conference having a title game, the champions meeting in the bowl game playoffs. Maybe the powers that be will figure out the kinks in the next few years and actually make it so 8-5
Wiscy doesn't head to the Rose. And it is a good thing that we'll no longer have our arguments about "who is better?" But is that worth what we've given up? Conferences felt like families, rivalries that built this sport? With Wiscy in the Rose and Maryland in the Big Ten the answer for me is no. And even if this season proves to be an anomaly, we would still have lost something with forsaking tradition and embracing a system that leaves no doubt who's "the champ." And college football is becoming a little bit less special as each of these moves happens.
Oh well. Sorry if this rant clutters up the board without adding anything, feel free to send me to Bolivia if neccessary.
Well it's that time of year again. MHSAA playoffs start this weekend, by no means will I be able to give a complete run down but here is my attempt at key games this weekend. Some games are good matchups, others simply involve Michigan recruits/targets. If I blatently miss one please let me know.
Traverse City West (6-3) at Rockford (7-2)
Perennial state championship contenders both very solid programs historically. Should be a very sound football game.
Catholic Central (5-4) at Hartland (8-1)
Tough season for CC, but their record could be misleading due to a very tough regular season schedule. *key player* Wyatt Shallman Catholic Central RB/DE
Cass Tech (7-2) at Grosse Pointe South (8-1)
Cass Tech has so much talent it is hard to believe they finished 7-4. *Key players* Jourdan Lewis Cass Tech CB, Jayru Campbell Cass Tech QB, David Dawson Cass Tech OG.
Farmington Hills Harrison (6-3) at Fenton (8-1)
Fenton enters the game ranked #10 in the state (current Michigan Punter Kenny Allen's alma mater) Harrison is always loaded with talent, and should be the favorite even on the road. *Key player* Lorenzo Collins Harrison RB (Class 2014)
Brother Rice (7-2) at Port Huron (7-2)
Once again Brother Rice should factor into the State Championship. Although I think Midland and Muskegon are the top teams in the division.
Marysville (6-3) at Detroit East English Acadamy (7-2)
Michigan recruit Khalid Hill (TE) leads the PSL runner-ups into the playoffs.
Chandler Park (6-2) at Gross Ill (8-1)
Michigan recruit Csont'e York plays for Chandler Park... Sorry I don't have more info.
Also, for a found this website that has complete brackets for all 8 Divisions.
I don't see the playoff expanding too much, and yes, it is for the #1 item on Brian's list, that is, academics. Expanding a playoff would be difficult for two (academic) reasons:
- Fall semester/quarter final exams
- Spring semester/winter quarter classes begin
Because the season (conference championship) isn't over until the first weekend in December you can't fit too many games in before classes start again in January. Here is a list of all of the Saturdays in December 2011-January 2012 until classes start.
- December 3 - Conference championship game
- December 10 - (Potential) CFB national quarters *
- December 17 - End of finals week
- December 24 - Student - Athletes go home for Christmas holiday **
- December 31 - CFB national semis
- January 7 - CFB national championship on following Monday (the 9th) ***
- January 14 - Classes have started (Probably by the 9th) or are about to start (16th)
December 10th and the 17th could probably be flip-flopped depending on how you wanted to handle it. For this reason, I see the ceiling at 8 teams. I also think that there is a diminishing return on a title game the later that you schedule it. For example, I didn't watch any more football after the Sugar Bowl this season. It just didn't make it across my radar. That, and I didn't really care about the Bama - LSU rematch.
* I never understood the whole "the best teams can't go to bowl games if the playoff is too big" argument. The "other 4" bowls can pick from the quarterfinal losers for their games. This idea also rebuts the argument against home sites (at least for the quarters) because they can still go to a bowl game somewhere that there is warm weather.
** I guess that there is an implicit "think of the children" argument here by letting them go home for Christmas. Bowl games played on/around Christmas at least let the student - athletes go home for New Years. Either way, letting 18-22 year olds go home to Mama doesn't seem like a big thing to consider.
*** I so hope that they play one of these at Lambeau. Or Soldier Field would be ok too. Or even Yankee Stadium (I guess...but then I'll have to call certain people "cold-weather pansies")
According to Dennis Dodd over at CBS (came across my twitter feed, haven't seen a link yet), the ACC confirms that the league controls broadcast rights in new Orange Bowl Deal and they plan to take it to market. Dodd claims that this is a game changer, and it is.
In terms of the angst over how the bowls just have these guys-in-suits who make all this non-profit cash and embezzle the hell out of it (see the Fiesta Bowl)... they're getting somewhat squeezed out in the new playoff system. If the conferences start controlling the TV money, that's a bunch of millions that will go directly to the conferences rather than the bowls/guys in suits.
With the B1G/Pac12 collaboration, I wouldn't be surprised to see the Rose Bowl TV $$ heading straight for the conferences soon.