Unverified Voracity Scares Spencer Tracy

Submitted by Brian on May 25th, 2012 at 12:52 PM



Tents fingers. The initial returns on Michigan's 2013 basketball recruiting class's AAU season continue to be positive—very positive to some. ESPN's just revamped its class rankings and 2013 looks a lot like 2012:

  • PG Derrick Walton, a "true point guard" who has "an excellent feel for the game" and a "tight handle" rises to the #39 player in the class.
  • SF Zak Irvin checks in at #61. "Has really good length and a great D-I basketball body," he can also shoot. Lots.
  • C Mark Donnal also rises significantly and is now the #65 player to ESPN. He's "ever-improving."

Target Reggie Cameron, a 6'7" stretch four reportedly shooting over 50% from three so far this summer, is #67.

So over two classes Michigan's only non-four-star sorts are the point guard acquired as part of the Trey Burke panic and late riser Caris LeVert. The other six guys (and counting): hyped. I think we can put the last shovelful of dirt on concerns about Beilein's recruiting.

EVERYONE DO EVERYTHING ALL AT ONCE. Two things about the rapidly-morphing future of college football. One: I may owe Patrick Vint an apology after I scoffed at the idea that Jim Delany had a master plan behind his long, uncomfortable hug with the Rose Bowl. Now that the Big 12 and SEC have partnered up to provide a slow-cooked-pork version of the Rose, guess who's coming to dinner?

"I'd say before Friday that idea of a plus-one didn't have much traction, but I think the announcement on Friday's a game-changer," Scott said. "We're pretty far down the path on four-team playoff options, but given the very positive reaction to what the SEC and Big 12 have done, it's possible that (a plus-one) could get some traction."

The Sydney Poiter of playoff options: dignified, old-fashioned, and scary to Spencer Tracy. If they do go to the true plus one system, Vint is basically right and the two champs vs champs games are almost de facto semifinals.

Would this qualify as a diabolical master plan deployed by Jim Delany? I guess you're playing the Pac-12 champ for a spot most years but I'm not sure a steady diet of USC/Oregon/someone else every once in a while is much better than a true four team playoff. After all, the Big Ten's record in the Rose Bowl is horrible. Locking ourselves into it doesn't do much for the conference's title hopes. Sort of locking the Big East and ACC out is not a huge benefit.

If I had to bet I'd still put my chips on a true four-team playoff but I clearly have no idea what the thought processes these guys are using are like.

The second thing. The Big 12-SEC announcement threw college football into yet another realignment tizzy, this one focused on the Big 12 raiding the ACC for most of its prominent football programs. Florida State, Miami, and Clemson are most frequently mentioned. FSU started it, Texas scoffed at it, Virginia Tech denies everything, but now everybody's talking about it and the inevitable Death Star conferences that will emerge.

I still don't know how a 16-team conference even works. The SEC's gone to 14 and this has been enough for Steve Spurrier to invent (and Les Miles to back) the idea cross-division games shouldn't count in the standings. That takes the metaphorical "two conferences with a scheduling agreement" line I've dropped whenever this comes up and makes it literal. The Big Ten equivalent would see the Michigan-Ohio State game have no bearing on the Big Ten title. It's a nonconference game, an exhibition. It's either that or realign the two into the same division. There just aren't enough games to make 16 teams work without doing away (or all but doing away) with nonconference games entirely.

If that was the endgame, I'd be for it. Or if people got creative and implemented either dynamic scheduling—which may be the origin of this blog's "I come up with an incredibly complicated solution to something that may not be a problem" tag—or a relegation system*. The endgame that the current college football people can think up… not so much.

*[The linked post is for 14 teams and is really complicated and (BONUS) mathematically impossible. So don't take it too seriously. A 16 team relegation system could look like a bunch of things, but most likely is groups of eight playing a full round-robin with the eighth conference game either eliminated or given over to a play-in/play-out system.

I do still like the dynamic scheduling a lot, FWIW, but not knowing two thirds of your conference schedule before the season is tough.]

In other expansion news no one cares about. Luke Winn breaks out the graphs to show the relative strength of the new world of basketball conferences. The Big Ten is untouched but a couple conferences get hammered:


Even in this hypothetical world where Pitt and Syracuse are in the ACC, the Big Ten is still the #1 conference by some distance the past couple years.

Ohhhhhh. NHL commissioner Gary Bettman:

“To have imagined that the event would be this spectacular, particularly when you’re there, to imagine that we would own New Year’s Day, which used to be for college football, nobody could have imagined it.”

There was no college football on NYD last year because it was a Sunday, but… is he wrong? Yeah, probably. But the very idea of having another very popular sporting event on New Year's Day would have been inconceivable ten years ago. Now it's not that hard to compete with Northwestern-Vandy, or whatever.

Etc.: Buy Smart Football's book. They'll serve beer at the hockey game not featuring Michigan at Michigan Stadium. Softball lost last night; will try to stay alive at 4:30 on ESPNU. I'm disappointed Bob Gassoff isn't in this picture.


MI Expat NY

May 25th, 2012 at 1:17 PM ^

A big benefit of a Plus-1, in my eyes, is that it won't last.  It's just pushing the problem down the line.  A Plus-1 doesn't solve a problem such as last season, had LSU tripped up vs. Oklahoma St. in their "bowl", assuming Alabama beat somebody decent, and Oregon beat Wisconsin.  Who gets into the championship game?  Alabam who lost at home during the regular season to a team with the same record?  LSU vs. Okie State in a rematch? Oregon?  A plus-1 solves nothing.  And the next go around, there will be a renewed push for a real playoff.  Hopefully we have the balls at that point to push hard for on campus semifinals.  

oriental andrew

May 25th, 2012 at 1:35 PM ^

No solution ever really solves everything all the time.  The potential for a 3 loss team to sneak into a larger field and win it all looms, while a team that lost just once all season - in the playoffs - goes home.  I guess if you're a fan of the NFL system, where you've had 5 and 6 loss super bowl champions, that's all well and good.  But I recall a lot of people trashing the Giants after they won a few years back. 

As much analysis on this site (diaries, main page, board) and others have shown, sometimes a +1 works beautifully.  Other times, it fails.  It's also been shown that sometimes a 6 or 8 team playoff would work beautifully and other times fail miserably. 

MI Expat NY

May 25th, 2012 at 1:41 PM ^

Right, but this is really just shifting the current set-up to a different week.  Instead of determining the two "best" teams after the conference championship games, it's determing them after the bowls.  It's not even a playoff.  Some years it will work, just as some years the BCS does.  And I will admit, the chances of it working are improved with the four best conferences having their champions square off.  However, it's still shifting the problem and creating no greater legitimacy.  Boise State still likely can't play for a national championship under this scenario.  Nor, possibly, could a one-loss ACC champion FSU or Va. Tech.  

A plus-1 is just asking to be reworked, and sooner rather than later.  


May 25th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

Last year if you just went by the polls you'd have had LSU, Bama, Okie State and...Stanford? Who lost to Oregon and didn't win their conference. Either way, one of those teams was complaining. And you could say Stanford doesn't have any complaint, they didn't win their conference...until they say "but Alabama got in!!"

MI Expat NY

May 25th, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

I'm not sure it's "better" but it would be seen as more legitimate.  In a playoffs you have to weigh two factors, artificially keeping the "best" teams out because you select too few teams, and chancing a "lesser" team winning the championship because you select too many.  In my opinion, two teams is too selective to be legitimate on a yearly basis.  4 teams may be too few as well, or on the rare year, it may be too many.  My point is that a plus-1 is still simply choosing two teams for a playoff, and I think most people have shown that they'd rather we argue over who should be the 4th (or 6th or 8th) team in a playoff than arguing over who should be the second. 

The thing about trying to crown a champion, absent a full round robin, there's no perfect way to do it.  America wants a college football playoff.  A plus-1 is not that.  It may work from time to time, but that doesn't make it a playoff.  And it won't last, unless by some miracle, the top 4 teams in America also happen to be the champions of the SEC, Pac-12, Big Ten and Big 12, year after year.

French West Indian

May 25th, 2012 at 1:45 PM ^

The +1 is looking pretty inevitable and it appears to be the perfect solution.

With the power conferences slowly getting into alignment they'll provide two teams with solid resumes almost every season.  Although most years they'll be the participants in the title game it will leave just enough slack for a party crasher such as an undefeated Boise State or Notre Dame (or possibly even a strong 2nd place team such as Alabama last year).

Although an official and true playoff appeals to many people, it simply requires too much politicking to ever happen.


May 25th, 2012 at 2:03 PM ^

If you have 4 super-conferences with 16 teams, you have 64 playing to enter an 8-team playoff.  It doesn't have to be called an official playoff.  Maybe the national title can still just be decided by vote and we don't have to have an official BCS 'championship' game.  Just a de facto one.


May 25th, 2012 at 2:30 PM ^

How do you get the Pac 12 to 16 without completely destroying the Big 12? The new stability of the Big 12 has functionally killed the workability of 4 super conferences within the present system.

EDIT: And this is great for the Big 10, since it's partner conference is essentially "landlocked" by the Big 12, there's no reason to add schools that the conference wouldn't normally take as a defensive measure, as the only way we're going to superconferences is if the entire structure of the sport is blown up.

The only way that the Big 10 expands, I think, is if ND asks to come aboard. If that were to happen*, I think we need to push for total realignment, too, in order to restore the meaningfulness of the OSU game. Straight East/West. 


*(which it won't, b/c a significant portion of ND alums would storm South Bend Torch and Pitchfork as they've convinced themselves, in typically idiotic domer fashion, that joining the Big 10 would mean the "regionalization" of ND)


May 25th, 2012 at 2:21 PM ^

I'd be fine with the Plus 1. It's at least as good a playoff scenario for the Big 10 as the semi-final model. Now that the league has given up on home playoff games, southern California at least has the benefit of large alumni bases out there. Yeah, we'll be playing a functional road game, but that was likely to happen in the semi-final system as well.

I've not been a big sanctity of the Rose Bowl guy (not many outside of Park Ridge), given what the BCS has done to the game, but this situation would profoundly raise the importance of the game, lead to consistently good matchups, and emphasize winning the conference title. Plus it would return New Year's Day to being a great day of meaningful college football, with the minor bowls in the noon slot, the Rose Bowl at 4 and the SEC-Big 12 game at 8. It actually preserves tradition while incorporating a national championship game. 


May 25th, 2012 at 1:56 PM ^

So what's the problem with "two conferences with a scheduling agreement" scenario?

This is the only pragmatic way to acheive a 3-round (i.e. 8-team) playoff.

If the answer is OSU-Michigan becomes an exhibition...well, we've already taken a huge step towards that, where the OSU game has less consequence in the standings than all our Legends games.  Having it be a non-conference exhibition isn't a really a huge change.  The only way for UM-OSU to play in a game with any sort of stakes associated with it (other than pride, which is no different for non-conference) is in the conference title game.  So yeah...put them in the same freakin division already!  Problems solved.


May 25th, 2012 at 2:08 PM ^

well, in a 16 team conference you will have one cross over game to the other division in your conference. the B1G conference and the PAC12 just signed an agreement to play one out of conference game per year against each other and are looking at having the rose bowl be a league champ matchup. so, arent the B1G+PAC12 just the equivalent of a 24 team conference right now? one crossover, league champs play?

MI Expat NY

May 25th, 2012 at 2:09 PM ^

4-16 team conferences aren't going to happen unless we throw everything out and start over. The only possible scenario short of that involves the Big 12 imploding, a possibility that is getting more remote by the day.


May 25th, 2012 at 2:29 PM ^

I mean, you could be getting the Bama/LSU equivalent if you're matched up against the SEC...just ask Oregon how that goes.  If you're in the playoffs, you're playing a good team. A Big Ten team has to be a better team to beat them. You want to argue "but you have to go to their place to do it", yeah sure, that's unfair, but USC at the Rose Bowl is no more or less unfair than LSU at the Sugar Bowl.  If you're saying we should be matched up against the crap that is the Big 12, then agreed, that would be easier.

And it shouldn't shock, but Bettman can't read very well. Or is delusional. Or both. Dominating?


The ratings maxed out at 2.9 (with Detroit/Chicago), and were down to their lowest 2.4 last year.

Now everything was down because of the weird day last year, but the Rose still managed a 9.9 on ESPN (And had a 13.8 when it was on ABC the last time).


  This Year Last Year Change
Winter Classic 2.4 (Rangers-Flyers) 2.8 (Capitals-Penguins) –14%
Outback Bowl 5.0 (Georgia-Mich. St.) 7.6 (Florida-Penn St.) –34%
Rose Bowl 9.9 (Wisc.-Ore.) 11.7 (Wisc.-TCU) –15%
Fiesta Bowl 9.0 (Stan.-Okla. St.) 6.7 (Okla.-Conn.) +34%


How in any way is that dominating?  "Oh, but those are really important bowls..". Well, with all three on at the same time, You can see the Outback did a 5.0, the Cap 1 did a 2.5 (down form 3.7 the previous year), and even Gator Bowl did a 2.2 (actually up 20%).  


Combine them all, and the importance of the Winter Classic to College Football on New Year's Day (or closest equivalent) aren't even in the same ballpark. What IS he talking about?


May 25th, 2012 at 2:38 PM ^

The truth is that hockey is a niche sport in the US, particularly on national television. Game 7 last year drew the highest rating for a hockey game since NBC started broadcasting hockey early in the 2000s and it still only did a 5.7. 

The Winter Classic has garnered a lot of media attention. That may be its biggest accomplishment. It's hockey's version of the NBA on Christmas Day, reminding casual viewers that the league has started up again.


May 25th, 2012 at 2:46 PM ^

Don't disagree.  And I'll say this -- the advent of HDTV probably spared hockey's further decline.  Hockey in HD is actually pretty good.  Hockey on traditional TV was ... meh. 

Now hockey live?  Love it. 


May 25th, 2012 at 2:55 PM ^

Having the majority of their playoff games on the NBC sports network doesn't help anyone either. I know they've improved who get's it compared to when it was still under the Versus banner, but they're still getting killed by TBS and TNT in terms of availability

03 Blue 07

May 25th, 2012 at 2:36 PM ^

For the win. I loved Bob Gassoff. I bet he would have been an awesome guy to hang out with, as an aside. You could get away with a lot if he had your back.