if that were true, a 3 star from Minnesota would always be prized above a 4 star from California
Playoff Latest: It Gives You The Brain Damage
…says Bill Hancock! But they're doing it anyway.
If Michigan can't host at Michigan Stadium this is the second-best option.
Stewart Mandel is the latest guy to throw his sources in the ring in re: what the exact specifics of the Four-Team Event shall be. His version of reality is this:
Multiple sources with direct knowledge of last week's discussions in South Florida have confirmed to SI.com that the new favored proposal for a four-team playoff within the bowl system would place the two semifinal games at the traditional anchor bowls of the No. 1 and 2 teams' conferences. For example, No. 1 Alabama of the SEC would host the No. 4 team in the Sugar Bowl, while No. 2 USC of the Pac-12 would host the No. 3 team in the Rose Bowl.
This would have blown up the traditional Rose Bowl in five of the last 14 years, six if you want to throw Nebraska's presence as the Big 12 North Division Co-Champion in the mix. That's nearly half the time and is the kind of thing that makes Jim Delany's fists open and close helplessly.
Home sites are still in the running, though:
That said, it's no certainty the conferences will opt for bowl-hosted semifinals. Contrary to some reports, on-campus sites remain "very much alive," according to two sources. One said the commissioners left the meetings split about "60-40" in favor of using bowl sites. They will present all remaining proposals to their respective conference presidents, athletic directors and coaches at league meetings in late May and early June to gauge their preferences before reconvening June 20 in Chicago.
There are five conferences who matter. You can guess the 40% opposed to the bowl sites right now. For a lot of reasons—amongst them a desire to maybe not have to fly across the country to see a bowl-type event and a belief that bowls are institutionalized stealing from unpaid student athletes—I'm with them.
Q: Can Jim Delany actually pull off the home sites plan? He stared down Comcast, won, and got the Big Ten their massive pile of money that no one save Michigan and Ohio State is bothering to use. ("Oh, hai, I'm Tim Beckman. You may remember me from that one screen Eric Page took for 70 yards on Tuesday night, and by 'one' I mean 'six.'")
Here's he's got one ally-type substance in the Pac-12, two conferences content to leave the status quo as is because it's generally beneficial (SEC, Big 12) to them… and then you've got the ACC and maybe Big East.
Does anyone care about the Big East? Unknown. If they did have a vote you'd think they lean towards home games. Home games would be nice in the event one of their teams ever makes it into the top two; perhaps more importantly for them, sucking four teams out of BCS bowls makes it likely even their oft-tattered champion is attractive enough most years.
As for the ACC, they're in an odd spot because two of the teams expected to be relevant here are in Florida. The other is Virginia Tech. The rest of the conference is flung up and down the eastern seaboard, and will be more so when Pitt and Syracuse join. Here, too, you'd think a majority of schools would prefer hypothetically getting a local game instead of being on foreign turf. The conference might not like the idea of seeing their banner teams travel north, but here too the benefits of sucking four teams out of the sexy bowls would seem to be a big draw. The ACC hadn't gotten a second BCS bid in forever before Virginia Tech was selected for the Sugar last year.
Q: Does Delany have the chutzpah to take his ball and go home? Or threaten to? Probably not. If the Big Ten and Pac 12 walk, things will go one of two ways: 1) Delany gets his way, or 2) the league is fffffffffuuuuuuuuuuuuu after having balkanized itself out of a Four Team Event that kinda pretty much is the national title. The Rose Bowl is great, but I don't think the kids are going to be down with that particular sickness. With their hippin' and their hopping, they don't know what the jazz is all about. /shakes fist at lawn
Q: Does this actually make sense for college football? Well, at least they're bidding out the final. They aren't concerned about selling out since it'll quickly turn into a Final Four/Super Bowl type event where it just sells out and then scalpers take on the risks and rewards of properly pricing the thing. So then you've got either a guaranteed sellout in a stadium that averages 80k+ over the years or some version of the current system except that the #2 game matters a lot more and fans are staring down the prospect of back to back trips.
Inevitably the travel will suck money that otherwise could have been given to college football—ticket prices go up, more get sold—and put teams in a spot where they're spending massive amounts of money on the same sorts of scams bowls are currently running. So, no. The whole will suffer to maintain the location bias that the South currently enjoys.
The most confusing thing in all of this is the persistent notion that the bowls have any leverage. Mandel:
An obvious hitch with the anchor-hosting proposal is that based on history, certain bowls would host semifinals far more often than others. For instance, had this concept been in place all along, the Sugar Bowl (SEC) would have hosted six straight semifinals from 2006-11, the Fiesta Bowl (Big 12) five of seven from 2003-09. The ACC, on the other hand, has not produced a No. 1 or 2 team in 12 years, meaning no semis for the Orange Bowl.
The Orange Bowl is upset. So? What is the Orange Bowl going to do, defect to lacrosse? No. They can only steal money from college football. They'll deal.
Q: Strength of schedule! That's not a question, or a thing that will happen. Maybe it will happen…
As for selecting the teams, the commissioners are a ways away from deciding whether to use a revised BCS formula, a selection committee or some combination of both. "The whole topic of selection and who would get in is something that we've really parked for now," said Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott. "We realize that's going to require a whole lot more debate and study." If they do employ a formula, sources said there's a near-universal desire to emphasize strength of schedule. One source said the commissioners also aren't keen on preseason polls, which could signal an end to using the USA Today Coaches' Poll.
…but as soon as this SOS component causes the system to pick someone other than the poll-anointed, it will be declared incorrect and dropped. See: the past.
Q: Will you take it? Yeah. Arguments that moving the line from two to four doesn't reduce controversy have always been ludicrous. Multiple undefeated top five teams have been given zero chance to win a national title in the BCS system. At the very least a four team playoff prevents the Auburn/TCU/Utah/Boise screwjob from ever happening again. Anything is better than what we've got now.
Mandel says he was never a fan of a playoff because it would make the NCAA an "NFL clone," which… 12 of the 32 NFL teams get in the playoffs. An equivalent NCAA playoff drawn from the five major conferences is 24 teams. Anything eight or below maintains almost all of the importance of the regular season to be okay.
Also, in the system Mandel details above the chances Hypothetical Host Big Ten team gets a virtual road game are low. Unless USC finishes in the exact spot to force a matchup, anyone going to that game will be flying. So it could be worse. Could be better. Could be worse.
Q: What happens if the Big 10 and Pac 12 are one-two? Or if there's a repeat of last year, when the top two teams are in the same conference? In the former situation I'd just run a Rose Bowl per normal. In situation two, I don't know, put it in Glendale or something. I'm vaguely hoping that Jerryworld pirates the Big 12 affiliation from Glendale and relegates the Fiesta Bowl to the status of the old Cotton Bowl.
First, no one said being used to a region is > talent.
Second, a 3 star from Minnesota might be more valuable in -10 degree weather than a 4 star from Arizona. Just like a 3* from Arizona might be better in 110 degree heat than a kid from Michigan. But a fairer comparison would be a 4* from Minnesota would be worth more in freezing temperatures than a 4* from Cali.
Third, no one says that people don't adjust to the climate. A 4* from Cali who's spent four years in Michigan is probably more used to the weather than a Wisconsin kid who's spent four years in southern Florida. Heck, anyone who's had relatives who have moved around the Country knows that they build up tolerance for wherever they're at, and lose it for where they came from.
So I have no idea what you're going for here.
It will be (rightly) rejected by those afraid of snow ruining their profits. Doesn't matter if the teams can play in it, the paying supposed-customers don't want to sit in it, and the paying real-customers (the networks) don't want their uber-expensive programming to get swapped out at the last minute for Heidi re-runs.
Whether that's a valid argument or not is a different question. Them that has the gold makes the rules, and I have come to believe that this is one of theirs.
Yeah, that really kills the NFL playoff games they have in places like Boston and Pittsburgh.
except that a game in, say, Cleveland would require people to travel (unless the home team was OSU)... a Patriots home game in New England requires no such travel commitment
Brian says, "bowls are institutionalized stealing from unpaid student athletes."
I don't get this. Players in bowl games get $500 Best Buy spending sprees, free tickets for their families, trips to Disneyland, etc. They don't get those kinds of benefits from regular season games, and if the semifinal rounds were played at home sites, they might not get the same kinds of benefits.
Of course, all those benefits for players have to come from somewhere, and for bowls, a lot of the money comes from gouging athletic departments. But if you shut down the bowl system and put the money back in the athletic departments' pockets, I don't see how the players would benefit. They're already getting the maximum scholarship packages allowable, fabulous practice facilities, etc. It seems to me the bowl system works to the benefit of the bowls and players at the expense of the athletic departments.
Unless by "institutionalized stealing" you mean players aren't being paid, in which case that's what makes me a little bit queasy about being a college football fan in general. The bowl system isn't any worse in that regard than any fall Saturday in Ann Arbor.
On interesting tidbit I like is the fact the commissioners are not fond of the pre-season rankings. That was always one of the biggest beefs I had with the BCS formula. The pre-season rankings loaded the dice so the whole year you had the top ranked teams "stick" to the top, and the lower ranked in the top 25 "stick" towards the bottom.
"I'm vaguely hoping that Jerryworld pirates the Big 12 affiliation from Glendale and relegates the Fiesta Bowl to the status of the old Cotton Bowl."
Throw the Fiesta Bowl a bone and say that if a Mountain West team ends up hosting, they would get them. It's not a great chance, but it's still better than what the Big East has.
I think the larger question is why throw any of the bowl games a bone?
If I were Delaney/Slive, I'd give the bowls the opportunity to continue to host the non-playoff bowl games in exchange for the bowls providing an identical payout, zero ticket guarantees for the schools to meet, and footing the bill for the school's entourage to travel to the game's location. It's not like the bowls have another option. Personally, I'd prefer to scrap the bowl system and have a contracted intersectional home and home game (Big 10 #1 at Pac 12 #1 in year 1 and the reverse in year 2) at the end of each season for the teams that don't make the playoffs.
I think they should just equalize every conference and hold the tourney in Antarctica.
One consideration working against us for 1st round home games is that it creates another point where splitting hairs between two similarly ranked teams means one team gets majorly screwed. Not only will there be controversy most years between who's 4 and who's 5, but who's 2 and who's 3 are a HUUGE deal if 2 gets to host and 3 gets to travel.
In 2001 there was the whole Nebraska-or-Colorado thing when 2-loss Colorado beat the Huskers in the Big XII championship but Nebraska went to the NC game anyway. In a straight-up 4@1, 3@2 system you could have Nebraska host the rematch, Colorado host the rematch, or have one of them host Oregon while the other has to travel to face Miami at home, or have Oregon host one of them. A selection committee might be able to sort that out, but either way Nebraska or Colorado is probably going to get hosed. Best-case scenario Nebraska goes to Oregon and Colorado (who did have two losses) goes to Miami, and they both just bitch about how they should be ahead of Oregon.
Think too of 2006. I wonder if the people deciding these things would be so quick to shove Michigan aside for Florida if it was about who should host the inevitable game between them instead of who deserves a shot at Ohio State. It was one thing that Michigan's objectively better season was pushed aside because rematches suck, but it would have been quite another if Urban's lobbying was about bringing the game to Gainesville instead of Ann Arbor.
Or think of 2004, when the polls think USC is No. 1 but they really were #3. There's a lot of wiggle with that year -- you could put Oklahoma #1 and have USC host LSU, or USC #1 and host Michigan while LSU and Oklahoma play, or...?
Compromise idea: Why not have the 1 v 4 game at the home of the #1 team, and the 2 v 3 game at a bowl game or neutral site. I'd still rather have two home games, but having 2v3 at a neutral location does alleviate the problem of Team 2 getting a major advantage for being only marginally better.
I think we will see a series of compromises:
 The first compromise will be a hybrid BCS ranking formula and selection committee (see below).
 The second compromise will be to require the three top-ranked conference champions (any conference) and one at-large (can also be a conference champion, or not). Notre Dame and BYU will force language that will automatically get them the at-large bid if they are ranked high enough.
 The selection committee picks the at-large team (if needed) and does the seeding. In the 2001 scenario, Nebraska would get the at-large bid and the selection committe would decide how to seed it. In 2006, Michigan would get the at-large, and in 2011, Alabama. The selection committee would decide whether to have an immediate rematch, or let the two teams earn it. In 2006 and 2011, I think almost certainly it would have been the latter, while in 2001 it might well have been the former.
"but I don't think the kids are going to be down with that particular sickness. With their hippin' and their hopping, they don't know what the jazz is all about. /shakes fist at lawn"
Caused such laughter that passers by had to ask what all the hubbub was about.
Excellent work as always!
From a DC bar waiting on the Nickelback show. Perhaps Pop Evil will open the show?
Vegas odds take into account a warm weather team like Tampa going up to play in GReen Bay or Philly, as they should. Playing in cold weather favors the home cold weather team although scientifically it should not. For this reason alone Delaney should continue to fight for home site games.
so Delaney should go tell the other conferences to accept home games because it will give us an advantage over them
yeah, that's going to work
[delete double post]
The Orange Bowl is upset. So? What is the Orange Bowl going to do, defect to lacrosse? No. They can only steal money from college football. They'll deal.
Or sue. This is what the NIT did, and why I've always thought the people who said "the BCS is a monopoly but playoffs would not be" are drooling, jibbering morons. The NIT filed an antitrust lawsuit against the NCAA claiming unfair trade practices (teams were required to go to the NCAA tournament if chosen) and they must've had a case because the NCAA paid them upwards of $50 million to shut up, bought out the NIT in a settlement, and created an even more monopolistic situation than before.
I wouldn't rule out the notion of a lawsuit from the bowls, which is probably why the NCAA/BCS is so sensitive to their ideas.
Would they really have a case though? All the NCAA has to do is give teams the option to opt-out of the playoff. No one's going to give up the prestige, exposure, and money that comes with playing in the semifinal/NC games for the Orange Bowl. So even though the option technically exists, no one would use it.
The best thing I read here is the move toward eliminating pre-season rankings. They're complete hypothetical projections that weight "good" teams vs. "bad" teams. It's much harder to climb from 25 to 1 than it is to drop from 1 to 10 and climb back up again.
Additionally, having the semifinals at home just makes sense. I don't get why you'd put them in existing bowl locales. I'm not going to fly to LA for the Rose Bowl if I'm going to have to fly to Dallas (or wherever) for the NC game. That's going to force fans to choose between the two, and I wager many would hold off on the semifinal in hopes of making the championship and traveling there. The infrastructure excuse is just an excuse, but I agree with the idea of staging the game in nearby pro football stadiums / equivalents. Why not just have the #1-4 and #2-3 semifinals in the same stadium where they play their championship game? Those are all neutral sites within the footprint, and you know they can handle all the hooplah.
While I agree with your point, whether official or not there will always be people projecting team quality based on starters and depth. The difficulty in moving has less to do with the initial rankings than with who teams play in their opening couple of games. Think about our upcoming opener. Lets say that our 2012 preseason ranking is somwhere between 5 and 16 and we beat Alabama. That preseason ranking means zip. The problem is that too many, far too many, schools line up one or more cream puffs for their first couple of games, so a win is not a reset.
If I had my way, every one of our nonconference opponents would be a top ten. Champions find a way to win regardless of their competition. If I had Brandon's ear, I'd tell him to schedule the toughest non-conference opponents possible every year. So that when we win the big ten championship and go on to play for a national championship, there is no question that we played the best, beat them, and won. Leaders and best right?
I realize how unlikely it is that ever happens, but I'd rather win a national championship once every couple of decades by beating the toughest competition, than winning every 3-5 year because we used our schedule to only play a few good teams.
Yeah, I understand that. People want to see preseason rankings so it gets sports pages clicks during a time when there's not a lot of action going on otherwise. I don't mind that so much as I don't think they should be counted for ranking purposes. Ultimately I'm in favor of not having actual rankings that count toward the championship until the BCS releases theirs now. Unofficial rankings before then are just fine.
I also agree with you on the difficulty of the nonconference schedule. It'd be nice to build in a game against a non-B10 superpower every year.
because if they dont have them now, we'll never ever have home site playoff games.
Delany had better not let us get screwed by having our "home" game be 3 time zones away while LSU gets to mosey on down the street to theirs
Similar to how the numbers were laid out when discussing the Dallas opener with Bama, Brian and a lot of folks are forgetting the real money in this: TV. You are going from giving them 1 meaningful game in the current system to 3. That should mean triple the post-season money pot minimum. You could play the games at high school stadiums and it would still be a massive financial success.
When the conference commissioners get a whiff of the money they'll be printing from media rights in this expanded format, they'll really wonder why they cared about preserving bowls or bowl related traditions in the first place. They'll only be thinking about ways to create more playoff games.
The bowls are great for players because it rewards them for their sacrifice, great for coaches because they can sell a season as better than it was by playing in one, and for AD's who get to hang out and waste money having fun for a week. They are worth keeping around because we all love football, but they are in no way worth stunting the greater good of an actual playoff.
If money is paramount concern, it's obvious the future is with on-campus playoffs and a bid-out neutral site championship game. For all the financial rape the bowls have brought, they should be eternally grateful anyone cares about them and their place in this new system. You could give them the semis to keep them relevant and it wouldn't matter much how many tickets they sold.
With the hippin' and the hoppin' and the bippin' and the boppin'.