In CONGRESS, July 4, 2013
The unanimous Declaration of the five united Conferences of America (and the mid-majors and stuff)
When in the course of football events it becomes necessary for one league to dissolve the postseason selection systems which have bound them with another, and to assume among the powers of the earth, or field turf, or grass, or whatever-you-know-the-blue-stuff-from-Idaho, a separate and more equal system to which the Laws of Nature and of Walter Camp entitle them, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them to the separation.
We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all D-I programs start the season equal, that team sports are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are a postseason which is entertaining, properly rewards regular season achievement, is respectful to the cherished traditions of man and Providence, and above all may declare among the nations an unequivocal champion whose commemorative season review may be included unto mankind's Sports Illustrated subscriptions…
From here Jefferson goes on to excoriate George III for a laundry list of tyrannical acts like dissolving elected champions and repeatedly screwing over Kansas State, but you get the gist: we are free!
Prudence, indeed, will dictate that postseason systems long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn that the BCS disposed mankind to suffer by constantly abolishing the forms to which we were accustomed. Having undertaken just such an endeavor, it be our duty to provide new guards for our system's security, seeking out the potential injuries and usurpations within the playoff before we go ahead and pledge to it our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred trophies.
A new playoff thus established, allow me to submit to a candid world the entirety of the BCS era revisited as if it were governed by this gallant new postseason.
Precedents. This is 1998 through 2011 as if determined by the new playoff system as Brian was federally mandated to describe last week. I put together a similar post to check various postseason ideas last December and again in May to check if home or bowl sites would be more compelling, but the system proposed is so radically different than the 4-teamers I was checking it's worth another go-round. Hinton did a four-teamer study for 2006-'11, and Connolly did one too, but both left out the hand-crafted, top-tiered, fat-free, non-playoff bowls, which are the best new idea to come out of these discussions.
The Reason I'm Doing it Again: I'm looking for potential points of controversy that would best be smoothed over or at least anticipated, so we don't have a Whiskey Rebellion.
Articles of Revisitation (the method part you don't have to read unless you're going to comment on the method). This is a seven-game postseason consisting of a four-team playoff whose semifinal round is played within the "Big Six" bowls (the seventh game being the championship). Theoretically the top 12 teams get in but I have a feeling before the money guys affix their John Hancocks there will be plenty of room to put a 14th ranked Michigan in a marquee bowl over a hypothetical 1-loss Won't Sell Out State.
Obviously much of the stuff we’ll run into by going back to 1998 has already been taken care of by realignment and conference championships. However with mega-conferences and uneven divisional splits we have not seen the last of two conference foes and rematches.
To fill in the details they're still working out, I added the Cotton and Citrus to the Rose-Orange-Sugar-Fiesta lineup in order to get six. They're the two oldest non-BCS bowls and have the next-highest payouts already. Both SEC affiliates, if they maintain their traditional conference loyalties, the result could create a bias in favor of the SEC and against the ACC and Pac 12. I’ll be watching to see how this works out.
Nobody cares who won a mid-major (sorry Big East) championship. This makes the years before the Miami-VT-BC defection a bit weird-looking. Tougher non-conference schedules and conference championship games should help to clarify the top in years going forward.
Bowl precedence (ie better matchups) is decided by an unwritten understanding of each bowl’s historical importance, and their historical tie-ins. Close or intriguing matchups are preferable to “fair” matchups, and where possible I’ve shown a preference for teams to play close to home because that helps sell tickets. Where possible, Rose gets B1G and Pac champs, Orange gets ACC, Sugar gets SEC, and the Cotton has first dibs on any former Southwestern Conference team. If there’s a mid-major nobody wants, it goes to the Fiesta Bowl because somebody has to, and they're in the NCAA's doghouse at the wrong time. The Semis rotate but the new guys can get pushed aside for the old affiliations.
Numbers in parentheses are AP rankings so don't treat them like they're meaningful. Rematches are avoided if possible, though I did have one because of context. On with the shew!
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Florida (7) vs. Texas A&M (10)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Arizona (5) vs. Tulane (9)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Tennessee (1) vs. Kansas State (4)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Arkansas (11) vs. Michigan (15)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: UCLA (6) vs. Wisconsin (8)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Florida State (2) vs. Ohio State (3)
Champs: Ohio State/Wisconsin/Michigan (B1G), FSU (ACC), Kansas St (BXII), UCLA (P12), Tennessee (SEC)
Left out: Georgia Tech (12), Nebraska (13), Virginia (14), Air Force (16), Notre Dame (17), Syracuse (8-3)
The new controversy: Right away we have Michigan getting in despite being ranked (by the AP) below three relatively equal candidates, a 1-loss team (AF), and two teams who beat us. The selection committee is going to take heat every year for picking an 11th and 12th team out of a pile of 9-win major conference teams and 1-loss mid-majors. Schedule strength was the main quality I used to choose here (and supreme bias).
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Michigan State (9) vs. Florida (10)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Florida State (1) vs. Wisconsin (4)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Marshall (11) vs. Penn State (13)
Champs: Wisconsin (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Nebraska (BXII), Stanford (P12), Alabama (SEC)
Left out: Minnesota (12), Texas (13), Mississippi St (14), Southern Miss (15), Pac Ten champion Stanford (22).
The new controversy: The Pac Champ isn't even invited? I'm sure a semifinal and the #1 overall Seminoles are enough of a consolation prize for the Rose Bowl. But I have to wonder if the conferences will sign on to something that could possibly leave their 3-loss champion out of it entirely. There are years in packed mega-conferences when a handful of great teams all beat each other up. Do the Big Five get auto-bids then?
1:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Nebraska (9) vs. TCU (13)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Florida (7) vs. Oregon (8)
8:00 pm: Cotton Bowl (SEMI): Oklahoma (1) vs. Washington (4)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Virginia Tech (6) vs. Notre Dame (10)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: Oregon St (5) vs. Purdue (14)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Miami (2) vs. Florida State (3)
Champs: Purdue/Michigan/Northwestern (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), Washington (P12)/Oregon State, Florida (SEC)
Left out: Kansas State (11), Texas (12), Georgia Tech (15).
The new controversy: The rematch or fairness problem arrives. Miami beat FSU, but lost to Washington, who lost to 2-loss Oregon, who lost to Wisconsin and Oregon State, who lost to Washington. With that inbred mess of 1-loss teams, who plays Oklahoma in the first round, then? Do we avoid the rematch or try to rank them?
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma (10) vs. Tennessee (8)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Texas (9) vs. LSU (12)
8:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl (SEMI): Oregon (2) vs. Colorado (3)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Florida (5) vs. Maryland (6)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: Illinois (7) vs. Stanford (11)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Miami (1) vs. Nebraska (4)
Champs: Illinois (B1G), Maryland (ACC), Colorado (BXII), Oregon (P12), LSU (SEC)
Left out: Washington State (13), South Carolina (14), Virginia Tech (15).
The new controversy: The question of who gets to die by Hurricane is neatly dispatched, aye, but if the selection committee is supposed to be fair, why are we seeing LSU and Florida and Miami all hosting at (basically) home? Because that guarantees more ticket sales. You knew this would happen when they eschewed home sites so that southerners could go on pretending snow is just a myth; now see it in action.
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl : Texas (9) vs. Michigan (12)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: USC (5) vs. Oklahoma (8)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Miami (1) vs. Georgia (4)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Penn State (10) vs. Washington St (6)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Ohio State (2) vs. Iowa (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Kansas State (6) vs. Notre Dame (11)
Champs: Ohio State/Iowa (B1G), Florida State (ACC),Oklahoma (BXII), Washington St/USC (P12), Georgia (SEC)
Left out: Alabama (13 but ineligible due to NCAA violations), Colorado (14), West Virginia (15), Florida State (16).
The new controversies: The Rose Bowl features a pair of Big Six Bowl-eligible teams from the same conference who didn't play each other in the season, a situation that repeated itself with MSU-OSU in 2010 and with Michigan and Wisconsin in 2011. Can you do that? Does BTN then have first dibs on the friggin' Rose Bowl The second controversy is the inclusion of so many teams from one conference. Indiscernible teams with head-to-head wins tend to get bunched in polls, and selection committees are liable to do the same thing. What happens when on conference has the 10-11-12 and the next the 13-14-15? Here the B1G has four representatives, five if you count ND.
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Tennessee (6) vs. Ohio State (7)
4:30 pm: Orange Bowl: Kansas St (8) vs. Florida State (9)
8:00 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): USC (1) vs. Michigan (4)
Champs: Michigan (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Kansas St (BXII), USC (P12), LSU (SEC)
Left out: Purdue (12), Iowa (13), Washington State (15)
The new controversy: By this point certain bowls are getting to host way more often than others. Should they rotate? Among the old BCS or include Cotton/Citrus in that rotation? The count so far is Rose and Orange 3, Fiesta, Sugar, and Cotton 2, Citrus zero.
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Texas (6) vs. Georgia (8)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Louisville (7) vs. Boise State (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Oklahoma (2) vs. Auburn (3)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Iowa (11) vs. LSU (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: Cal (5) vs. Michigan (13)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): USC (1) vs. Utah (4)
Champs: Michigan/Iowa (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC (P12), Auburn (SEC)
Left out: Miami (13), Tennessee (14), Wisconsin (15)
The new controversy: Undefeated Utah is given the nod over the warring Texas/Cal factions; undefeated Boise State is (boo hoo) left out. The Fiesta Bowl gets stuck with them and Petrino's 1-loss Louisville (a game previously played at the Liberty Bowl), but this keeps everything else aligned nicely. To make it interesting the Big XII should offer a two-year trial membership to the victor.
1:00 pm: Sugar Bowl*: Georgia (8) vs. West Virginia (11)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Oregon (6) vs. Auburn (7)
8:00 pm: Cotton Bowl (SEMI): Texas (2) vs. Ohio State (4)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: LSU (10) vs. Virginia Tech (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): USC (1) vs. Penn State (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Notre Dame (5) vs. Miami (9)
Champs: Penn State/Ohio State (B1G), Florida State (ACC), Texas (BXII), USC (P12), Georgia (SEC)
Left out: Alabama (13), TCU (14), Louisville (15)
The new controversy: Man can't we just have Texas play USC? But this is a Rose controversy really, since by nature of winning their head-to-head Penn State is now the 3rd seed and places out of the Rose Bowl. Wait…how can a Big Ten team win its way out of Pasadena? Or do you say the hell with seeds and put the Big Ten champ and the Pac Ten champ in the Rose Bowl. My solution: put OSU against Texas in the Cotton Bowl, and now both undefeated teams are essentially playing home games.
*Note the Sugar Bowl that year was moved to the Georgia Dome for Hurricane Katrina--hindsight says the WVa.-Georgia game was a hit so let’s keep it.
1:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl: USC (8) vs. Boise State (9)
4:30 pm: Cotton Bowl: Oklahoma (7) vs. Auburn (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Ohio State (1) vs. LSU (4)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Wisconsin (6) vs. Arkansas (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Michigan (2) vs. Florida (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Louisville (5) vs. Notre Dame (11)
Champs: Ohio State (B1G), Wake Forest (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC/Cal (P12), Florida (SEC)
Left out: West Virginia (13), Virginia Tech (14), Wake Forest (15)
The new controversy: Notre Dame started the season ranked #2, beat no teams that ended up ranked except #25 Penn State. But what do you do with a 2-loss Notre Dame team? The question is moot so long as they're scheduling like 2012, though many of their regular opponents are very up-and-downy. Also I guess Wisconsin and ND could flip games—the question here is are we honoring the Citrus's affiliation or is that gone now?
Poetry to be replaced by Mizzou
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Missouri (7) vs. Florida (9)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Kansas (8) vs. Hawaii (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): LSU (2) vs. Oklahoma (3)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Virginia Tech (5) vs. West Virginia (11)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: USC (6) vs. Illinois (13)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): Ohio State (1) vs. Georgia (4)
Champs: Ohio State (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC/Arizona State (P12), LSU (SEC)
Left out: Arizona State (12), Boston College (14), Clemson (15)
The new controversy: That 4/5 split can get down to razor thin—do you favor a Pac12 co-champ (relevant now only for Big XII) or a clearly better non-champ and end up with two conference foes in final four?
Selfishly, this robs us of Lloyd's last stand against Tebow.
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: Texas Tech (8) vs. TCU (11)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Alabama (4) vs. Utah (7)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Florida (1) vs. Texas (3)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Ohio State (10) vs. Cincinnati (12)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Oklahoma (2) vs. USC (5)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Penn State (6) vs. Boise State (9)
Champs: Penn State/Ohio State (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), USC (P12), Florida (SEC)
Left out: Oklahoma State (13), Georgia Tech (14), Oregon (15), Virginia Tech (22)
The new controversy: Some years simply conspire to ruin any hope of a cut-off. Said Hinton:
Valid Complaints. This was a year of torches and pitchforks under the BCS, and would have been under anything short of at least a six-team field; really, you can make a compelling argument here for at least eight teams, maybe nine. There is no tidy, fair or convincing way to solve that kind of logjam with a four-team bracket.
Undefeated mid-major, or any of a million compelling one-loss top programs? Bama gets left out of the playoff in favor of Pac Ten champ USC (who then gets to play near home—oh the unfairness!) and those two play each other so at least only one can be bitching at the end of the season.
1:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Georgia Tech (9) vs. Penn State (11)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: Oregon (7) vs. Ohio State (8)
8:00 pm: Citrus Bowl (SEMI): Alabama (1) vs. Cincinnati (4)
Champs: Ohio State (B1G), Georgia Tech (ACC), Texas (BXII), Oregon (P12), Alabama (SEC)
Left out: Virginia Tech (12), Miami (14), BYU (15)
The new controversy: Boise State's best season ever just happens to fall at the same time as two other mid-majors' which means they're punched out of the playoffs like LaGarrette Blount (OH SNAP!). After two seasons in a row of this, fans are declaring the new playoff system a disaster and call for an expansion to six teams. NCAA officials declare a six-team playoff would bring ruin to college football, and swear on their souls it will never happen so long as they're in charge.
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: LSU (11) vs. Virginia Tech (12)
4:30 pm: Fiesta Bowl: Oklahoma (9) vs. Boise State (10)
8:00 pm: Sugar Bowl (SEMI): Auburn (1) vs. TCU (4)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Ohio State (6) vs. Michigan State (7)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl (SEMI): Oregon (2) vs. Wisconsin (3)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl: Stanford (5) vs. Arkansas (8)
Champs: Ohio State/Michigan State/Wisconsin (B1G), Virginia Tech (ACC), Oklahoma (BXII), Oregon (P12), Auburn (SEC)
Left out: Nevada (13), Missouri (14), Alabama (15)
The new controversy: We get to see that Michigan State/Ohio State game we missed in the Big Ten season in the "Bitching that we're just as deserving as Wisconsin" bowl.
Will the committee try to get the Michigans of the world into prime bowls,
or are they there to prevent that from happening? (Upchurch)
1:00 pm: Cotton Bowl: South Carolina (10) vs. Kansas State (11)
4:30 pm: Sugar Bowl: Arkansas (7) vs. Boise State (8)
8:00 pm: Fiesta Bowl : Alabama (2) vs. Oklahoma State (3)
1:00 pm: Citrus Bowl: Michigan (13) vs. Clemson (14)
4:30 pm: Rose Bowl: Stanford (4) vs. Wisconsin (9)
8:00 pm: Orange Bowl (SEMI): LSU (1) vs. Oregon (6)
Champs: Wisconsin (B1G), Clemson (ACC), Oklahoma State (BXII), Oregon (P12), LSU (SEC)
Left out: USC (5 but ineligible), Michigan State (12), Baylor (15)
The new controversy: Michigan State beat Michigan but lost to Wisconsin (their 2nd loss on the season) in the Big Ten Championship and dropped out of the Top 12, thereby no longer being eligible for the…yeah this doesn't get "fixed." A similar argument in reverse is over the Stanford/Oregon thing, where Oregon won their head-to-head and a there-but-for-the-grace Pac12 championship game, but Stanford was ranked several spots higher. However the Citrus Bowl is a more likely destination. The difference is Oregon won their conference; Michigan State won their division because their blowout loss to Notre Dame wasn't counted in the division standings while Michigan's close loss to Iowa counted the same as MSU's blowout loss to Nebraska. N.E.way long story short the Spartans are still korking coupons about the whole biz, even if it's a Citrus Bowl bid now.
Things to discuss at the next Constitutional Convention:
- Rate the relative importance of SOS, conference champion, head-to-head, total wins.
- Will proximity to the bowl site be a consideration for the committee's hand-picking?
- Will the NCAA leave room for them to put major draws in places to up the takings at the risk of favoring those programs?
- Conference foes who haven't played each other—can they play in bowls?
- What's more important: a fair seeding system or better/more traditional matchups?
- Which bowl gets the semi each year? Should they rotate, favor certain ones, function on a system (preferably no—anytime you hamstring the committee you're lessening the good a committee can do)
- Can it be expanded to six teams? Perhaps this is something to be constantly reviewing and if it proves necessary after, say, 10 years, do it.
- At least the BCS had a hard number (and pollsters with obvious agendas/incompetency) to blame. How will the committee justify its razor-thin decisions between 4 and 5, and 12 and 13? I vote for lengthy, judge-like written "opinions" made public to publish. Minority can write opinions too.
- Auto-bids for major conference champions?
- Backbone? Sparties are gonna Spart, even when they're not justified. Can they agree not to make sweeping changes in response to last year's slights?
- Billeting troops—this should not be allowed. If any of our lawyers want to create a 4th Amendment case against bowls having power to choose hotels for the schools (aren't they technically billeting government-subsidized "troops?" You can use Kellen Winslow's testimony…) you will win a cookie. Or two cookies if it goes to trial.
Happy 4th of July.