Playoff Latest: It Gives You The Brain Damage

Submitted by Brian on April 30th, 2012 at 1:04 PM

…says Bill Hancock! But they're doing it anyway.

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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.

Comments

Erik_in_Dayton

April 30th, 2012 at 1:22 PM ^

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.  

This is my concern.  How many Michigan fans (or OSU fans, Wisconsin fans, etc.) will be willing to fly out to the Rose Bowl to watch a semi-final that will not (in some years) even be in the same state as the final?  This system may set up an even bigger advantage for the Pac-12 Rose Bowl team than they already have. 

M-Wolverine

April 30th, 2012 at 2:23 PM ^

This is going to be like a Final Four or Super Bowl.  You don't have as many dignitaries show up for non-championship games (the NFL has home games), and the Final Four is rotated around. So it's a local event that gets a lot of local fans to try it out. It's not in the same place every year. How many LA fans are coming out to see a non-championship game between Washington and Penn State after they've hosted it for a few years?  They have a hard time filling up now, and that's with tons of fans coming out from those two teams...which will never happen in a playoff because NO ONE who's not local is going to travel across the Country to see a semi-final game when the REAL game is a week or more later. They'll wait and see if they make the championship, and spend their money there.  These games will be more empty than the bowl games are now. 

There's a reason the Final Four, which as 4 teams, is in the same city as the championship game, 2 days later.  Because they want to attract a lot of the same fans. That doesn't work for football. A off-site destination for early playoff games will be a disaster.  There's a reason no one does it in any sport except college basketball...and those games are often empty before the great 8 when you cater to a different crowd each year. Just stupidity.

WolvinLA2

April 30th, 2012 at 3:05 PM ^

As an Angeleno, I can speak for LA. I highly doubt they would have any trouble selling out the Rose Bowl in this scenario. First of all, half the Pac 12 teams are drivable, so those are thrown out. Second of all, people love traveling to LA. Third, and most importantly, almost every Pac 12 or Big Ten team has enough alumni/fans in California that they wouldn't have to rely on local fans to fill the stadium.

Also, I've gone to Rose Bowls even when Michigan wasn't playing, and there are other people like me who would just want to see a semi final game without having to travel. I can't speak for the other cities, but the Rose Bowl would not be a problem, I promise.

M-Wolverine

April 30th, 2012 at 3:53 PM ^

I've been to 5 Rose Bowls, and I think the only one that was sold out was '97, with National Championship and "we haven't been there in so long" WSU implications. Maybe Bo's last, but with the USC-M rematch I doubt it. There's usually seats available, and scalpers are taking it at a loss by gametime. 

And that's with two teams that AREN'T looking to play another game after this one. And maybe Pac-Ten teams will travel....but that's only if they're 1 or 2. (or the 3 playing a Big Ten 2 or 4 playing a Big Ten 1). You could have Wisconsin and Virginia Tech....with the winner looking to play for the championship one week later. You've lost both fanbases for the game. Considering their ticket allotments alone, that's a lot of seats you're going to have to have Angelenos fill. 

The Rose Bowl may be the best off of all the BCS games...but that doesn't mean it'd be a good situation for that bowl either. There'd be a lot of fans dressed as seats.

WolvinLA2

April 30th, 2012 at 4:10 PM ^

Agree to disagree I guess.  All of the Rose Bowls I've been to, Michigan or otherwise, have been packed, but these are all from 2004 on.  I agree there are match-ups that would be worse than others, such as a smaller Big Ten team against an East Coast team without a major following, but most of them won't be that way. 

Bringing up the pro team isn't a good argument because they're bringing a pro team back, and it's a lot harder to fill up a stadium 8 times a year for regular season NFL games than it is to fill the Rose Bowl once every other year or so for a national semi-final college game. 

Every year that the semi-final game is here, I'll go with my son, maybe my brother as well, regardless of who's playing.  I'm not the only one like that.  And for every Wisconsin-VT match-up, there will be five USC-Oklahoma or Michigan-Florida type match-ups, which will fill up easily. 

Keep this in mind as well - if the championship game is in the South somewhere, then every SEC fan will travel for the semi-final knowing they wouldn't have to travel for the final.  This would apply to every fanbase which was near wherever the final is that year.  If the final is in Indy or Chicago, every M fan will travel to wherever the semi is since they wouldn't have to book flights or hotels (if the didn't want to) for the final.

M-Wolverine

May 1st, 2012 at 3:41 PM ^

Why pay for airfare for a game all the way out in Cali when the REAL game is a week/month later where you can drive and just buy a ticket? You see Michigan-Florida in the Rose as a strength...I see it as a cross-country disaster.

Though the NFL* was mostly teasing (*bringing a pro team back since 1995), you can't really compare a semi-final game to a bowl game either, where that is the last game of the season, and there is nothing better for those teams.   If the same Wolverines vs. Gators game is the cap to a season, the last game you'll see for a year, then that's a big deal.  If it's the chance to pay more (for a game that most likely won't be in the same region most times...How often is the Super Bowl close to one of the home teams?) for a game for all the marbles later, I think you're going to have fanbases save their pennies for the big game.  

If there was such a plus to it, the NFL would have figured out how to do it by now, and have Green Bay-Giants for the NFC championship at Jerry World!

jdon

April 30th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

forgetting campus games for a minute, they should at least do like the nfl and use venues like ford field or conseco field house.

 

jdon

 

Roachgoblue

April 30th, 2012 at 1:23 PM ^

I can see weather being the excuse. That is all the SEC/ PAC 10 needs to keep a competitive advantage in recruiting and bowl games. It is ridiculous that we play in their home states so many times.

pasadenablue

April 30th, 2012 at 1:28 PM ^

What if instead of sticking with bowls, the Big Ten chooses their home site to be Lucas Oil or Ford Field or some other pro stadium within the footprint?  It'll solve the issue of the "hospitality burden" on a smaller college town, keep the game within driving distance of most schools in the area, and will have be presented in a modern, made-for-TV building.

 

Or if its bowls or bust, why don't we just say that the motor city bowl is our new anchor bowl.  Come to detroit motherfuckers!

MI Expat NY

April 30th, 2012 at 1:36 PM ^

Agreed.  It seems like this plan is a compromise between home sites and completely neutral sites, albeit a onesided compromise.  One way to even it up is to throw out all the current bowl arraingements.  Give the Pac 12 the Rose, The SEC the Sugar, the ACC the Orange, the Big 12 the Cotton, and have the Big Ten's be a new "bowl" in Indy.  If any other school sneaks into the top 2, they can negotiate with one of those bowl sites to be a "host" or the Fiesta or whatever.  

Bowl traditions are dead.  We should absolutely give up the tradition of the Rose Bowl if it's the only way to get a semifinal into the midwest.

 

MI Expat NY

April 30th, 2012 at 10:12 PM ^

Or if we're the #3 or #4 and are pulled into another team's hosted bowl.  But anyway, so what?  How often do the Big Ten and Pac Ten champ square off in the Rose Bowl?  And that's with only two teams pulled out of the bowls, how often is it going to happen if four teams are pulled out?  Almost never.  So lets set something up to get us home field when we DO qualify #1 or #2.  In other years, lets arrainge to play the #2 from some other conference.

Outside the semis there will be no bowl matchups of conference champions.  The classic bowl system is dead.  Pretending otherwise is just being nostalgic.  

thisisme08

April 30th, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^

Your scenario is one I have no seen floated before and I love it. 

The current scenario's are hardly better than what we have now and keeping this outdated bowl system intact for the sake of posperity is just stupid.  Keeping the games at the bowls further enhances the built in geographical advantage southern/west coast schools have.

Further: I still believe the vaunted SEC would have a much tougher road when they are playing outside in December in the high teens rather than 85 degrees in Baton Rouge.   

Brodie

April 30th, 2012 at 7:26 PM ^

my problem with saying that the hospitality thing is bullshit is that we're all looking at this through biased eyes... we come from a major conference where all the schools are massive and most of the teams are in or near large urban areas. The same can be said for the Pac-12 (to an even greater degree, Wazzou is the only school not in or within driving distance of a big city) and the rest of the power conferences. But we're not considering what happens when Boise State is #2 and we're talking about hosting a major semifinal on a blue field in a mid-sized city in Idaho the week of Christmas. 

And that's the real issue here... who really benefits from the home game scenario? It's really only the Big 10 and, to a much lesser extent, the Big East. We all know Jerryworld will get involved, so the Big 12 is probably totally unfazed. 

wesq

May 1st, 2012 at 11:06 AM ^

I'd say if you put it to a vote home sites would win.  Hosting a game on campus would be such a celebration of the school I think almost every school would prefer it, even if it means a little less $$ and a lot of congestion.  That is not what's driving this, its fear of playing in cold weather.

M-Dog

April 30th, 2012 at 6:12 PM ^

The point is not NFL stadiums as much as it is that the #1 and #2 conferences should get to host within their footprints . . . not some bowl site 3000 miles away.

If a conference has a college stadium and town that can handle a big crowd (hint, hint) then the conference should have the option of that being the host site.

Everything can not always be about pandering to the bowls, even the Rose Bowl.  They can stand on their own.

maizenbluenc

April 30th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

is as follows: the major bowls know they are going to have a bowl game whether it is a semifinal or the traditional bowl. The B1G and the Big East would have to scramble to contract their "home bowl" with a three to four week lead time across a holiday. That seems logistically daunting without some type of place holder just in case contract in place.

MI Expat NY

April 30th, 2012 at 2:21 PM ^

That's how the old bowl system, outside of conference tie-ins for champions used to work.  I don't think it would be that dramatic of a difference.  If anything the fact that a team would have to be 1-2 would make it easier to have these placeholder contracts.

I sure would prefer on-campus sites than any headache dealing with this though.

Section 1

April 30th, 2012 at 5:19 PM ^

 

What if instead of sticking with bowls, the Big Ten chooses their home site to be Lucas Oil or Ford Field or some other pro stadium within the footprint? 

 

Genius.  We give up the Rose Bowl as the Big Ten's established Bowl of Choice.  And instead, we opt for the Pizza Pizza Bowl at Ford Field.  Outstanding.  That will fool them.  Trouble is, our playing Marshall and Memphis in all of the years when we aren't in the National Championship foursome.  D'oh!

Here is my prediction, right now.  No matter what, all of these brilliant ideas for a national collegiate football playoff will have unintended consequences that will leave many of us confused, angry, disappointed and yearning for the old days of going to the Rose Bowl for a grand New Years' party and a football game against the PAC 8.

Needs

April 30th, 2012 at 1:30 PM ^

Awesome. If this situation comes to pass, the Big Ten is cementing a locational disadvantage for their champions. 4 conferences will get a "home" bowl within plausible driving distances of at least some of their campuses, and in most cases, the majority (plausibility defined completely arbitrarily as 10  hours according to google) if their champion is #1 or #2 (presuming the Cotton Bowl pirates the Big 12).

         -SEC gets Sugar: (South Carolina, Missouri, Kentucky, Arkansas (barely)) beyond 10 hours. Greatest distance is Kentucky at 12 hours 30 minutes.

         -Pac 12 gets Rose: (Oregon and Washington Schools, Colorado and Utah (barely)) beyond 10 hours). Greatest distance is Wazzou at 20 hours.

         -Big 12 gets Cotton: (Iowa State and West Virginia outside of 10 hours, WVU at 20 hours).

         -ACC gets Orange: ok this is one outlier. Apart from the Florida schools, the next closest school is Clemson at 12 hours. BC is the greatest distance at just over 24 hours. 

         -Compare, however, the Big 10's situation. Where the closest school (Nebraska) will be 23 hours away from its "home" game, the most distant (PSU) will be 41 hours driving time away. Literally the closest Big Ten School will be about the same distance away from its home game as the most distant school in any other conference.

If we're going to take "home" bowls seriously as part of a playoff, there needs to be an option in one of the cities in the Big 10's footprint.

Mr. Yost

April 30th, 2012 at 1:47 PM ^

Your idea makes SENSE! That's the biggest thing.

Let the CONFERENCES decide where they want to play their BCS game in their footprint and have the other conferences take a majority vote on it or something.

Like you said...

SEC - Sugar
Pac-12 - Rose
Big XII - Cotton
ACC - Charlotte (where the Panthers play)
Big East - *Big East doesn't matter because they have teams everywhere* I'd say Orange Bowl to keep that bowl or go to St. Louis (where the Rams play)
B1G - Lucas Oil Stadium

steeltownblue

April 30th, 2012 at 7:44 PM ^

There's about 68 billion Michigan alumni in Los Angeles (even more for Sparty because they recruit intergalactically).  I don't think it would be hard to sell out a semi where Michigan is involved.  Other teams tied to other bowls might struggle. 

That said, I prefer school-hosted semis, then rotating regional footprint semis.  I would like to see some SEC and PAC12 teams playing in the cold. 

Zone Left

April 30th, 2012 at 1:34 PM ^

Home games are the only workable solution, it just may take time for the powers that be to see it. The teams that would sometimes benefit from a multiple bowl scenario are:

  1. USC (Rose Bowl)
  2. The SEC West (Sugar Bowl)
  3. Miami (Orange Bowl)
  4. Texas and Oklahoma (if the Cotton Bowl gets a game)
  5. Arizona and Arizona State (Fiesta Bowl)

Everyone else rarely benefits at best. I don't think there's a team out there that can sell a 50K+ ticket allotment to 2 games in 2-3 weeks--especially after they travel to a conference championship game. The cost is too prohibitive year after year. After a couple of seasons, you'll get one or two ACC title game level crowds, schools will get sick of paying for 2 bowl game ticket packages, and things will revert to home games.

French West Indian

April 30th, 2012 at 1:38 PM ^

...the whole idea of a Super Bowl-like championship makes me want to vomit.  I love college football.  And I even like the NFL enough to watch it regularly...but the Super Bowl is literally the shittiest game on the planet.  Way too much hype.  Excessively long commercial breaks.  Ear-splitting halftime entertainment. No thank you, please.

Damn, I really wish that I had gotten into Harvard now so that I could act all Ivy League haughty and feign disinterest in any kind of football other than the Yale game.

Cope

April 30th, 2012 at 1:42 PM ^

I like 8 team tournament. Each of the six major conferences champs- sec, big ten, big 12, pac 12, big east, and acc, plus two at large selections.
Let the at large selections be the two highest nonchamps in the polls or a selection committee like NCAA basketball. Makes the conference schedules relevant and gives strong conferences and small schools a chance.

Blue Durham

April 30th, 2012 at 6:24 PM ^

but this is a step in that direction, and I do think tha given the number of conferences etc., an 8-team playoff has just become inevitable.  And thus, I am for this current proposal.

Of all of the post-season formats, the current one is by far the worst.  Before the BCS, interest in most of bowls was higher, because if the cards fell just right, a 4th or even 5th-ranked team could win the the national championship depending on the outcome of all of the bowls.

readyourguard

April 30th, 2012 at 1:48 PM ^

Choosing the 4 finalists by way of a selection committee scares the hell out of me. Is there any more scientific way of doing this?

Is there going to be a clause where you MUST win your conference to be eligible for one of the 4 spots?

If this comes to be, would the conference championship games become a short lived thing of the past?

Would the semi final games still take place on or around January 1?

How long is the break between semi-final and final?

(somewhat rhetorical questions that are flying around my food-craving brain this afternoon).

Needs

April 30th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

I actually like the committee approach better than the hybrid poll-computer system we have now. In attempting to reduce rankings to numbers and formulas, all the current system does is obscure the rationales by which teams are selected. Most mathmeticians who've looked at the computer formulas have dismissed them as effective. We know that coaches are unable to watch the vast majority of teams they vote on. The Harris Poll is composed of a random list of people affiliated with college football. Both human polls try to counter their unreliability via a version of the law of large numbers, ie if we get enough voters, irrationality will be weeded out. As we saw last year, however, the BCS system does little to force voters beyond a rationale of "that's what I think."

Going to a small committee, which is free to take into account various poll rankings, strength of schedule, etc., actually forces those choosing to state a rationale for "why team A rather than team B." That doesn't happen now. And by forcing statement of an overt rationale of what represents "quality," a committee, as we've seen with the basketball tournament, can actually change the sport for the better, in encouraging teams to take on more challenging schedules as a means to get into the tournament. 

Working against the committee approach may be the idea that it's easier to rationalize why team 69-74 didn't get in rather than teams 5-7. Perhaps.

Rasmus

May 1st, 2012 at 9:06 AM ^

Is there going to be a clause where you MUST win your conference to be eligible for one of the 4 spots?

You're forgetting about Notre Dame and now BYU (not to mention Army/Navy). I'm thinking they will compromise on this, with three slots reserved for conference champions and one at-large slot. Since an unbeaten mid-major with decent strength of schedule would also be a conference champion, they wouldn't require the at-large spot. Of course, it could be filled by a fourth conference champion, but not necessarily.

TrppWlbrnID

April 30th, 2012 at 2:07 PM ^

 i can't really hate the orange bowl for its money grab and love the rose bowl for its tradition, they are both serving the same role. therefore, i support the idea of the #1 and #2 teams' conferences choosing the location of their semi-final games, whether it be bowls or domes or whatever.

imagine if that happens and say, wisconsin gets a #1 seed and plays Florida or something and the conference chooses to play the game at Lambeau or Soldier Field....

ish

April 30th, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

how is playing in the rose bowl an advantage for michigan?  what if it was the #1 team and usc was #4?  still a home game for usc.  or UCLA.  and probably even oregon and stanford.  if there aren't home sites, then it doesn't matter where michigan has to play.  the SEC will retain its advantage because it will always be playing a home game.

Sons of Louis Elbel

April 30th, 2012 at 2:20 PM ^

Look, if we're going to get a game in the B10 footprint, a dome makes no sense. The whole idea is to even things up by making SEC teams play in bad weather on occasion. If those games "can't" be in Ann Arbor or Columbus (total BS, as Brian points out) at least put them in, e.g. Chicago or Cleveland. (I don't care that no one wants to go to Cleveland, especially in December. They'll deal w/it.)

Zone Left

April 30th, 2012 at 2:26 PM ^

I don't buy the weather argument as an advantage for the Big 10. Both teams play in the same weather and even northerners don't have much experience playing in snow. 

The better team typically wins regardless of where the game is played. The advantage is in playing near home in front of a largely pro-Big 10 crowd instead of playing a neutral site game in the Rose Bowl in front of 85,000 USC fans.

M-Wolverine

April 30th, 2012 at 3:44 PM ^

It's the cold. Snow bogs down everyone pretty much the same, but the temp is handled better by people who have experienced it. It's not a big factor in bowl games, but early games down in Florida or such where it seems oppressively hot for one team, it's what they're used to for the team down there. Likewise, if it's cold, everyone's cold, but you have more reaction from a guy from down south than you do from a kid who walks to class every day in it.