Tuesday, November 15, 2005

My Top 25

1. Texas
2. Southern Cal
3. Miami (Florida)
4. Louisiana State
5. Penn State
6. Virginia Tech
7. Oregon
8. Alabama
9. Ohio State
10. Notre Dame
11. Auburn
12. UCLA
13. West Virginia
14. Georgia
15. TCU
16. Michigan
17. Fresno State
18. South Carolina
19. Minnesota
20. Texas Tech
21. Louisville
22. Oklahoma
23. Florida
24. Wisconsin
25. Colorado

Not much to report here. USC's defense is showing signs of life, partly because their defending quarterbacks like completion-averse Joseph Ayoob (see, Tedford can't turn just any quarterback into a college star) instead of Brady Quinn, the subject of a really boring feature in SI last week. I also expected USC's defense to progress as the season went on and that's coming true. I'm starting to feel more comfortable taking them in the hypothetical Rose Bowl against Texas.

The Horns made mincemeat of Kansas in retaliation for Mangino's whining after last year's game (or possibly because Texas is much, much better.) Speaking of which, I pretty much watch the Sports Reporters to get angry about know-nothing Yankee sports columnists holding forth on their limited view of the world and last Sunday was no exception. (This Sunday, I was also procrastinating on a major brief, which meant that I was working until 11. Lawyer life rules!!!) Anyway, Bob Ryan, Mike Lupica, and Mitch Albom did little to disabuse the notion that they never watch college football games until the bowls, because they whined about Mack Brown kicking a field goal at the end of the first half to go up 52-0 (and acted as if he should have been worried that a bunch of hacks in NYC would be bitching about it the following morning) and then complained that, even though it looks like the BCS is going to avoid controversy this year, it would be great to see a playoff this year so Miami and Penn State could play USC and Texas.

On their first point, I fail to see how a team can be accused of running up the score IN THE FIRST HALF!!! And, as Jim Donnan helpfully put it after Spurrier stuck the knife in in the '98 Cocktail Party, it's the losing coach's job to keep the score down. On the second point, the (Northeast and pro sports obsessed) Sports Reporters illustrated why casual and hardcore college fans have different views on a playoff. For people like Ryan and Lupica who don't watch games until the bowls, they would love to be able to ignore the regular season and then cover an all-decisive playoff. For people who actually watch the entire season, a playoff cheapens what we've spent our whole fall analyzing. Personally, I like the plus-one concept because the sin of omitting an unbeaten Auburn team is worse than the sin of letting a one-loss Miami or Penn State get a second bite at the apple. However, in years like this where the college system appears like it's going to avoid a disaster, would it pain people to admit that the bowl system has merit? And if the BCS bowls also give us Penn State-Miami and Notre Dame-Alabama, how can we complain about that? In short, given that a bunch of sportswriters think that A-Rod's bowel movements are more important than the Alabama-LSU game, why should we care what they think about college football's playoff structure? (And why did I just devote 400 words to them?)


Anonymous said...

If you have the plus one system in a year like this, what happens if LSU gets left out yet wins the SEC championship game and only has one loss. In their bowl game they hypothetically beat ND bad, say 41 14.
Now in your plus one system USC loses a first round game to Penn State and Texas loses to Miami. If either of these teams win it out are you willing to say that it is O.k. that LSU got shafted. There lone loss was to tenn. only a few weeks after the Hurricane. They beat an undefeated Bama team at T-Town and had to win a conf. championship game, something Penn State would not have to do.

A plus one only works if there are three undefeated teams which happens very rarely, despite what the Sportsreporters may tell you.

Michael said...

In your scenario, there would be little controversy because the winner of the Miami-PSU game will have beaten one of the consensus top two teams, along with the one-loss team that beat the other top two team. That list of accomplishments would out-strip anything done by LSU. There's also the inconvenient little fact that LSU lost at home to a bad team.

Anyway, the main point is that it's much better to have controversy as to who #4 is than it is to have controversy as to who is #2. Better to omit 11-1 LSU in 2005 than 13-0 Auburn in 2004.

And one other issue: it's undeniable that, although you can create controversial scenarios in the plus-one system, it's far less likely that there would be controversy in that system as opposed to the current system.

The Armchair Quarterback said...

I just don't see how a playoff would cheapen the regular season. If those games are what get you in the playoff in the first place then how can it make them any less significant?

Michael said...

Because it's no longer imperative to go unbeaten. Virginia Tech loses to Miami? Oh well, we just need to win out from here and we'll get the same chance as the teams that didn't lay an egg on their homefield like we just did. The larger the playoff, the less important it is to be excellent during the season.

SmoothJimmyApollo said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.