Thursday, August 11, 2005

Further evidence that Georgians are better than Floridians

The Florida College Sports blog takes on an admirable task - showing how badly the BCS has failed at its mission (although it's my position that its mission is impossible) - and ends up simply showing that they need a fact-checker in the worst way. In the interests of provoking a border war, let's play count the mistakes:

1. The BCS didn't exist until 1998. Before that, it was the Bowl Coalition and the Bowl Alliance. I can't remember which came first, but it's interesting to see that all the names were picked to create some perception of consensus. "Hey, they gang's all here! No need to criticize us now!"

2. I'm pretty sure that there was no Bowl Alliance in 1994. Nebraska was obligated to go to the Orange Bowl, Penn State was obligated to go to the Rose Bowl, and if unbeaten Alabama wouldn't have been upset by Florida in the SEC Championship Game, they would have been headed to the Orange Bowl. That year simply illustrates that the old bowl system was worse than the BCS and its Alliance/Coalition buddies.

3. Texas was 8-4 after upsetting Nebraska in the '96 Big XII Title Game, so I'm pretty sure that they weren't a candidate for the Sugar Bowl. Virginia Tech was indeed 10-1, but no one took them seriously because of their soft schedule and two-loss Nebraska had their way with them in the Orange Bowl. The controversy in '96 was that unbeaten Arizona State and once-beaten (and almost unbeaten; thanks, Tai Streets) had to play in the Rose Bowl. If the BCS would have existed in 1996, then the two unbeaten teams - FSU and ASU - would have played in the title game and Steve Spurrier would still be without a national title. To summarize, '96 showed that the BCS would be an improvement because it would bring the Big Ten and Pac Ten into the fold.

4. Another problem with this article: the writer has no idea how the BCS and its predecessors work. He argues that Tennessee got the slot opposite Nebraska instead of Florida or Florida State because Peyton Manning would bring in TV viewers. I was unaware that ABC had a vote in the human polls or ran a computer poll. John Saunders must work in mysterious ways. No, Tennessee got that spot because they played a tougher schedule than Florida State, they had fewer losses than Florida, and they lost earlier in the year than either of them. Blame pollsters for recency, but don't blame the BCS for that.

5. 1998 - Again, Florida State lost earlier than Ohio State and that got them to the Fiesta Bowl. Blame the pollsters, not the BCS. Also, FSU's last game was a home win over 9-1 Florida in which they allowed something like one complete pass in the second half, possibly Doug Johnson's finest hour. (That was also the game that Dougie threw at Bobby Bowden during warm-ups. In retrospect, why were any of us surprised that he was a miserable failure as the starter for the Falcons?) The big screw-up in '98 would have been if UCLA and Kansas State wouldn't have been upset on the final weekend, as that would have created the 2004 disaster (three major unbeatens) in the first year of the BCS.

6. 1999 - Does the writer forget that one-loss Nebraska was close to nipping unbeaten Virginia Tech for that Sugar Bowl bid? Or that Michigan almost certainly would have taken that bid if they wouldn't have blown a 20-point lead against Illinois, since they would have been 10-1 with the #2 schedule in the country? Ditto for Alabama surrendering a last-gasp touchdown against Louisiana Tech, as they would have been 11-1 with the #1 schedule. (Thus, Mike DuBose would have become the first coach without verifiable brain waves to lead him team to a national title game.) The point is that unbeaten Virginia Tech could have been deprived of that Sugar Bowl slot very easily by a one-loss team, again illustrating the stupidity of a two-team playoff in a sport with 117 teams.

7. 2000 - Gee, if we're suddently treating head-to-head as important, then shouldn't Washington have been the opponent for Oklahoma, since they beat Miami who beat Florida State? And is it that hard to go to and realize that Oregon State won the Fiesta Bowl 41-9, not 51-3?

8. The post-hoc criticism of Nebraska playing in the 1/1/02 Rose Bowl really annoys me. Yes, they lost their last game 62-36, but how can you advocate Texas or Tennessee playing in the game since they also lost their last games, Texas to two-loss Colorado and Tennessee to three-loss LSU. Again, the BCS did the best it could with an impossible task. Nebraska had a much better average margin of victory than Oregon and they had a better record than Colorado, despite the head-to-head result. Yes, Tennessee or Texas could have made matters simple (and Tennessee or Florida would have been the best opponent for that Miami team,) but they didn't and we were left with the best of the rest. Blame Fulmer and Brown.

9. 2002 was clean, but if John Navarre looks off of Braylon Edwards and finds Tyrece Butler open on the other side of the end zone, then what happens? You have one-loss Georgia, one-loss Ohio State, and one-loss Iowa, not to mention two-loss USC that had played the toughest schedule in the country. Who plays Miami then?

10. LSU's home loss to Florida was worse than USC losing to 8-6 Cal? And do we forget that Oklahoma did have a bad loss, but before that, were being referred to as one of the best teams in recent memory? Does 65-13 over Texas ring a bell?

11. Oklahoma barely scraped by against overmatched opponents? What about USC beating 4-7 Stanford by three or 6-6 UCLA by five? The rest seems reasonable, although I would add that Utah was 11-0, beating the hell out of everyone they played, also failed to get a shot at the title.


peacedog said...

Did he change his post? I'm not seeing the full reason for your point #1 (the first part anyway).

#2 I don't recall one, but I don't recall either way. I do vaguely recall some rapid name changes.

#5 what? I never heard about this. DJ threw a pass at Saint Bobby? That's fantastic.

Michael said...

1. The post is designed to criticize the BCS, but it didn't exist until 1998 and even its predecessors didn't exist until '95.

2. I need a Florida fan to remind me about the specifics, but I think he hummed one past Bowden at midfield.

peacedog said...

1) Sorry, I guess I misread the point. I got the impression he had talked about them erroneously. Like "The BCS in 95" or something.

2) I'm asking EDSBS

I'm a Realist said...

One of the criticisms of the bowl alliance / bowl coalition was the fact that the Rose Bowl did not participate. The hype around the BCS involved having the Rose Bowl in the mix, which meant the PAC champ & Big 10 champ would be available for a #1 vs. #2 matchup which hadn't been an option before. Penn State can blame the Granddaddy for their number 2 ranking in '94.

peacedog said...

I have this picture of DJ - played by a raven haired James VanDerbeek, humming a ball at Bobby and then growing "I don't want your life!". Man, it's giving me the giggles.

paulwesterdawg said...

my rambling thoughts on this are here:

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