Looks like our reps in Washington have solved, let's see here, our two wars, the biggest economic crisis since the great depression, swine flu pandemic, and nuclear proliferation, and have now moved on to the next most important agenda item... BCS vs. Playoff. Tax dollars, boys, that's your tax dollars hard at work...
BCS and Congress
I hate this stuff. I would like at least a plus 1 system but congress should stay out IMO. Their whole steroid crusade didn't help anything and I don't know that this will either.
They've totally effed up everything else - we should be celebrating the fact that they *might* do something that we want!!
Exactly. At least if they focus on this for a while they might stop messing up things that are actually important (at least for a while).
Just remember: not everybody wants a playoff.
True, but the vast majority of people do, and why not? Why not let it all be decided by the players on the field? There's very little controversy that way, the deserving team wins.
For example, the Super Bowl a last year (08) where the Pats came in undefeated, and the Giants came in, having been beaten, but having played very well at the end of the season and in the playoffs. The Giants did not have the best record, but as they showed, they clearly deserved to be in that game, playing to win it all.
Well, I would argue that had Congress not done the dog and pony show with MLB we would not have any steroid policy in baseball to this day. The player's union had long opposed any attempt at testing and never changed this stance until they were called before Congress to testify. Then magically, the owners and players union could agree on testing and then re-agree on increasing penalties after a second round. The history of the owners and players' union is not one of happy agreement on anything.
Yes, I know it's fun to say that Congress has better things to do, but guess what, Congress is capable of doing many, many, things at once.
With the steroid issue, I believe it was a matter of people actually breaking the law by using those substances. It has yet to be shown that the BCS is in violation of any laws.
You're right. Congress is quite capable of doing many, may things at once. All of them poorly and without foresight. But hey, they sure can multitask!
I may be in the minority here, but I just don't care whether the congressional hearings resulted in baseball's drug testing policy. For that matter, I really don't care whether baseball has a drug testing policy at all.
I personally don't believe that Congress is capable of effectively doing much of anything, let alone many things at once. Even if I did, things like whether or not baseball is clean or the NCAA's chosen method for determining its champion in football are so far down the list of issues that our government needs to resolve that it's just laughable.
I'm not sure if anyone else happened to catch any coverage of the Roger Clemons steroid hearings last year, but the assclowns we elected to Congress managed to turn what was already a complete waste of time (whether he took steroids or not) into an embarrassing show of partisanship (if I remember right the republicans were defending him and the Democrats were going after him). In short, I guess I don't have much faith in anyone in Congress to do anything except whatever they think gives them the best chance to get reelected. My rant is now over, apologies.
I had to laugh when Congress was investigating steroids and the Texas Rangers, Team Steroid, was formerly owned by the sitting president who said that he wanted them banned. Talk about speaking out of both sides of your mouth.
If Congress isn't capable of doing much of anything, then how has the USA survived these last 200+ years? It may be slow and ugly, but it does lots and lots of things right.
The Voting Rights Act of 1965 was pretty good, if you ask me.
Slow and ugly is exactly the point. That's how our system is supposed to work. It's when they do stuff fast and ugly (like they are now) that stuff gets messed up. Thus, that's why I said I hope they do nothing. A whole lot of nothing would be a hell of a lot better than the whole lot of something that they are trying to do now.
That doesn't take away from the general rule that recruiting ratings have validity and that Congress doesn't do much right.
The USA has survived and thrived because of the private sector and our people. Congress has contributed a periodic good law or two and otherwise hasn't fucked it up too much. That is the most you can say for Congress.
This is like Congress telling a business that they have to change things because they don't like how they are running it. Except that NCAA football isn't a business (legally) it is a non-profit.
I do not see any cause the government has to intervene except for whiny congressmen who think their team was cheated. I hate the precedent this sets. The government should not be able to intervene in ANYTHING just because they don't like it.
It hasn't stopped them in most every other facet of life.
....of the Sherman Act, haven't you? The BCS is a monopolistic cartel that shut Utah out of its rightful place in a national championship game. Since the BCS conducts commerce between the states, Congress has the right to regulate the BCS.
Agreed. I think people maintain the image of the government that made a mess out of the MLB during the steroid debacle but it's hard to see how this isn't a slam dunk case of an organization prohibiting competition. I think it's in plain sight, too. The mere fact that a president of one of the conferences involved (who also holds a prominent position in the committee that limits the conferences that are non-BCS) can only make the case that tradition would have to be sacrificed if the system were to be changed to a playoff format says it all to me. I just can't believe it's taken this long to change.
I watched Utah play four games. Their rightful place was NOT in the title game. I think they got it exactly right with Florida and Oklahoma.
And I understand that Congress has the right to regulate commerce, but I am not sure what you mean by regulation. All I know is that it has not been proven in the courts that the BCS is in violation of anti-trust laws. I don't think the government should be stepping in until it is shown that it is necessary due to violation of law.
The only thing teams can objectively be ranked on are their records. If one BCS team went undefeated last year(yes, even Penn State), they'd have been in the title game. Utah was excluded because of the BCS cartel. Anti-competitive activity - violation of Sherman Act.
The government is now stepping in. It can enact legislation, even absent any antitrust violation (though it helps to have one right now) to force Division I-A to hold a playoff like every other NCAA Division, since the member schools all accept federal funds and their product is in the stream of commerce (Congress can regulate anything which affects interstate commerce, which includes every college football game). I think we're now going down that road, and there's nothing wrong with that.
You can also objectively rank teams based on HOW they played and strength of schedule. Just go back and watch Utah play. Next, go and watch Florida and Oklahoma. Utah was excluded because its level of skill was nowhere near that of Florida or Oklahoma.
And on the government enacting legislation, I do not see the need. It is not like college football is in trouble and needs their help. I see it as the equivalent of them stepping in and forcing a business to run a different way just because they don't like what the business is doing, even if it is fair. Again, the only reason the government has to act now is whiny congressmen.
No, you're missing the point. The point isn't about the "health" of college football - it's about money. You have billions of dollars being aportioned out to a cartel of less than half of division one which intentionally restricts the rest of the schools of partaking. Again - billions of dollars that are being aportioned out based on conference affiliation, not true competitiveness. That is interstate commerce, and is within the scope of what Congress can regulate.
I don't understand the complaint here. You should hope your government breaks up organizations that break antitrust laws, especially ones that involve the sanctity of our educational system. The fact that it involves this much money AND universities is a pretty big deal, I think.
"banning abusive behaviour by a firm dominating a market, or anti-competitive practices that tend to lead to such a dominant position. Practices controlled in this way may include predatory pricing, tying, price gouging, refusal to deal, and many others."
Hard to see how the BCS doesn't do that.
It has yet to be proven in a court of law that the BCS actually does violate anti-trust laws. Whether or not it actually does break anti-trust laws, I can't tell you because I am not a lawyer and I don't think the contracts are public.
Also, you ask how the BCS doesn't violate anti-trust laws? As Commisioner Swofford put it: "It represents the marketplace."
It represents the marketplace? What does that even mean? That because a majority of the fans are fans of big schools that it's okay to prohibit teams from conferences that aren't composed of big-name schools because people don't want to see them? That's prohibiting competition, pretty straight forward to me. Swofford and his conference get a bigger slice of the pie by guaranteeing a team from their conference is always, ALWAYS in the BCS series. They attain that slice of pie by shutting out other conferences from the championship itself and the series as well. Who's to say those conferences and their teams couldn't compete nationally in this supposed marketplace if they weren't raking in a potential 18 million a year?
...for Congress to enact legislation to regulate it.
Just think about the basic reason why Utah wasn't allowed to play in the BCS title game - because it wasn't a BCS team.
Now think why we call it the "Mythical national title."
Now think why TV and the BCS doesn't call it the Division I-A National Title - they call it the BCS. That's because they only represent the BCS conferences and shut out the other 52 teams, unless they decide not to. That is anti-competitive.
If Utah and Boise State are both undefeated this fall at BCS selection time (I know they play, but still), and there are no other teams undefeated in BCS conferences, who do you think will play in the BCS title game?
It WON'T be those teams, because they are not in the BCS.
because even in that scenario the two BCS teams with one loss ares still better than Boise and Utah.
Yes, we have the Boise/OK and Utah/Bama games that BCS busters can point to, but not many football observers believe in any way that this programs are as good as BCS programs. The fact is, because of the BCS, teams not in the title game do not have much motivation or reason to get up for non title bowl games, especially against non-BCS teams that they believe they'll beat.
In every way, from recruits to player talent to strength of conference schedule to NFL draftees, the BCS conferences are better. An upset or two is cool, but I don't want to open the system to inferior conferences because of the exceptions. I will take the 3rd place team from the SEC and bet the house every single year against the best non BCS team in a meaningful game, and be very comfortably ahead after those ten years.
obviously nobody who knows football thinks utah is a better team than oklahoma or florida. the point is that they don't have a fair shot based on the empirical data used to determine the BCS such as strength of schedule which boils down to opinion anyway. now with that said, would a mid-major ever win a college playoff? like basketball, probably not. but it is the sheer absence of a fair shot that constitutes an antitrust violation. so no i don't have a problem with congress investigating it
Would you have thought that Utah was better than Alabama? I wouldn't have. That's why your basic point later is dead on - we can sit here and say "Oh, there is no way Utah could compete with ______," but until that is actually proven, on a field, it's essentially just prejudice.
What a bunch of clowns.
Please go and watch some of Utah's games, and then watch some of Florida and Oklahoma's games. The disparity of skill is crystal clear. Utah's undefeated season was the product of many lucky breaks while FL and OK both had great seasons because of their superior skill.
Yes, UF and Okla were the two best teams. However, if the regular season is the playoff(as the BCS people state) then the only undefeated team should be in the champ game. If they can't even in that situation put them in a separate league where it clearly states they can't go for the BCS championship.
Like the disparity of skill that Alabama, #1 for many weeks, also had against Utah thus making Bama almost a two touchdown favorite. Or maybe Oregon State, the only team to beat SC, which also lost to Utah.
By the way, if you watched Texas vs OU you know that OU didn't belong in that game. They benefitted from UT having a murderous four game stretch that they just missed running except for a freshman DB dropping an easy INT against TT.
Whether or not Utah actually "deserved" to play in the National Championship Game last year is irrelevant. The issue is whether they (and every other non-BCS/Notre Dame school) should be given equal access to the National Championship "marketplace". Right now, they aren't. That's an issue from an antitrust and competition standpoint.
To be clear, the odds of Congress actually taking action on this are very slim and from what I can tell about what was discussed at these hearings they didn't exactly move the ball down the field. However, as with the MLB steroids thing, congressional oversight has a way of pushing people towards action on their own.
For those of us who like the idea of SOME sort of playoff (or at least something different than the BCS), I think Congress is doing the right thing here. I doubt it'll work, but it truly is better than nothing.
College football, in my opinion, is the greatest game on Earth. What makes it great? That every Saturday is absolutely critical. Every loss is devastating. I abhor the idea of a playoff because each added level of a playoff system detracts incrementally from the meaning of each Saturday. Sure, March Madness is exciting, but it also takes away so much meaning from the regular season. All of you people campaigning for a playoff system are shitting on my Saturdays.
I fail to see how an 8 team playoff would at all impact the fact that every Saturday is absolutely critical and that every loss is devastating. Teams with one or two losses are consistently in the National Championship game as it is now formatted. The system as it is now draws an arbitrary line between two and three in the polls. Changing that line to between eight and nine does little to change that while adding to the competitive balance of the game as a whole. The way the system is now, every USC, Ohio State, LSU, etc. knows that they have a freebie on their schedule every single year. It's that second loss that is usually the killer. The occasional very deserving team from outside of the traditional powers never gets that freebie and oftentimes they don't even get the benefit of not needing it all. Even under a playoff every single game would absolutely be crucial, because under the current system once a team loses that second game their aspirations of a National Championship usually go out the window. If you increase the potential pool of participants for the National Championship, which a tournament would do, you make the remaining games crucial to save the season of a team that high hopes of competing for a National title that otherwise would have packed it in after a second loss. So spare us with the "it would reduce the value of the regular season" talk. It's just doesn't stand up to logical scrutiny.
Just because you disagree doesn't mean it doesn't stand up to scrutiny... If a team loses one game, they currently know that it COULD knock them out of the championship, since there are likely to be a handful of one-loss teams, and only two get to play for the national championship. If a team loses two games, they know it likely knocked them out of the championship. If it were expanded to eight teams, one- or two-loss teams would still have an excellent chance. I used the word "incrementally" because that is how it changes the picture. With an eight team playoff, two-loss teams would sometimes be competing with zero- and one-loss teams for the title. If you expand the playoffs so that an occasional two-loss team has the same shot at a national championship as an undefeated team, how can you possibly argue that it hasn't taken away some of the meaning of those losses? We can disagree about the importance without you pretending you have the only reasonable stance.
The fact that I disagree with it isn't what makes it not stand up to scrutiny. That would be logic. Virtually every team knows that they are likely to lose at least one game during the season. By broadening the potential pool of participants you increase the number of teams that have a chance to participate and therefore make that many games more meaningful that would otherwise be the case. Also, a team with two losses wouldn't have necessarily have the "same chance" at winning the national championship, because they would still have to beat out other teams with two losses (and in most years teams with one and zero losses). It's a line drawing issue, just like everything else in society. I opt for the more inclusive approach.
Nevermind, I realized I agreed with you - brainfart.
Again with the arrogant response that implies only one of us is using logic, rather than understanding that we have a different perspective. The problem is that your "logic" ignores the point that I was making that each LOSS is critical, and a playoff takes away from that. Even your "logic" can see that losses become LESS significant with a playoff system. Take a look at who would have been included in an eight team playoff in 2005. (OSU and ND would have been in with two losses each, while USC was going in undefeated) Please step off your horse, sir. I'm willing to discuss things with people who are respectful. Since you don't seem to be capable of such, feel free to talk to yourself.
The post by Subrosa hits my point exactly on the head. Your "logic" only matters for BCS conference teams. Using your "logic" each loss is not critical and each loss is not weighted the same. Therefore, it's easy to point out the flaw in your "logic". As for your "high horse" comment, it's easy to be on the "high horse" when you're right. Just because we have different opinions doesn't mean one of isn't right and the other one is wrong.
how can you possibly argue that it hasn't taken away some of the meaning of those losses?
Strength of schedule. What if those two losses are against two top 5 teams?
Even if you accept the whole "every loss is devastating" idea, the point is that every loss is devastating only for the BCS conferences.
Indeed, simply PLAYING any game while not being part of a BCS conference is devastating for National Championship purposes. It doesn't matter whether you win them all or lose them all, you're still not going to have a chance to win the MNC.
That's the point.
Actually, one loss for a non-BCS conference school is even more devastating. Those who say that non-BCS schools aren't given a shot are ignoring one fact... It just isn't true. If Notre Dame went undefeated, they would get a shot at it, and they aren't in a BCS conference. Why? Because unlike most teams in non-BCS conferences, they actually play a pretty tough schedule most years. Utah tried to beef up their non-conference schedule by playing Michigan, and were unfortunate that Michigan had such a bad year. It didn't add to their strength of schedule. On the other hand, if Michigan hadn't had a down year, Utah probably wouldn't have had a win in that game to hang their hats on. Non-BCS teams CAN play for the national championship, they just have a harder time proving they deserve to be there due to strength of schedule. You can't actually believe that Utah was the best team last year, can you? If so, wow. If not, then what's the argument? An undefeated non-BCS conference team CAN compete for the national championship. Just schedule tough opponents, and win them all.
Obviously, Notre Dame is included in the BCS schools by the very BCS rules that exclude every other non BCS school. Seriously, by bringing up Notre Dame as an example of a non-BCS school that has a chance to win the MNC, you're either being ignorant of the rules you're discussing or willfully obtuse. Stop it.
And no, I don't believe that Utah was better than Florida or USC. But I do believe that they should have had a chance to prove it. They did not have that chance, even though they won every game they played. You might not see anything wrong with that, but from a legal standpoint, when we're talking about access to the market and open competition, it matters.
I have no argument with you on legality. I was only arguing what I want (no playoffs). They sometimes have nothing in common. (I swear, she was 18!)
I am neither ignorant of the rules nor willfully obtuse. My post is only irrelevant if I'm defending the legal position, rather than my earlier post of why I don't want a playoff system. You and I, sir, are arguing different arguments, so we can both win.
to college sports? (I know the immediate reply is something like "because of the money.") But that application is irrelevant and misleading.
There is a huge reason that access to the market is important for all companies, and that is because what they do, from making cookies to building web sites to selling insurance, is important, and more importantly than that, if that access is denied, people's incomes and families are at stake. College football is different--there is not a single income, a single family, or a single individual, that is disadvantaged in any way by their inability to play in the BCS championship.
If I can't access the public because of a conspiracy of businesses, I go out of business and my life is severely handicapped. If my team can't play in the title game, I complain on the internet.
It's a game, and all results are ultimately meaningless. Once we start putting it in perspective... oh, I forgot where I was for a second...
Applying the "rules of the marketplace" to college sports is not irrelevant or misleading, nor is it "false". You might think it is, but you're going to have to make a better argument than just "no family is disadvantaged" by the inability of Utah (or any other non-BCS school) to play in the BCS championship. Mainly because that's just not how markets are defined.
I'm not going to go into a huge dissertation on antitrust theory and markets, but the fact that an individual can't enter the market (and really, it's not that they can't enter the market, it's that it's really expensive and time consuming for them to do so) does not in any way mean a market does not exist. Congress has the power to regulate markets (yes, even markets that involve college sports and entertainment), and has.
Whether the BCS has actually violated the rules set forth by Congress is very much an open question and I'm not necessarily arguing for one side or the other. I'm simply saying that the laws apply, and it's not an abuse of power for them to apply scrutiny to one of the actors within a given market.
This argument you are making with this example is silly. Notre Dame is a quasi-BCS school.
What makes it great? That every Saturday is absolutely critical. Every loss is devastating.
Oh, I know, I can't wait for UM to play Delaware St. What a snoozer that could be. The BcS creates these "desirable" matchups every week of the season just because of that fact that every loss is devastating.
Personally, I'd love to see UM get truly prepared for a playoff, by competing against teams the likes of USC, Texas, Florida, and Oklahoma, for their 4 OOC games instead of Sneazy, Itchy, Moe, and Curly.