BCS: Where Money Talks and Hypocrisy Walks
By John Feinstein
Monday, June 29, 2009 1:19 PM
The latest example of the hypocrisy of the Bowl Championship Series came last week, when the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee met to consider a proposal made by the Mountain West Conference for an eight-team playoff, the kind of championship tournament the NCAA stages for every other sport (including football, at every level except division I-A).
Let's keep in mind that the theme of this article is "name-calling." Count the number of times that Feinstein doesn't make an argument, but instead shouts like the worst sort of purple-faced sports radio caller. Let's also keep in mind that I-A football is unlike all other NCAA sports in two important respects: it doesn't have a massive playoff and it is worth more economically than all the other NCAA sports put together.
After summarily rejecting the proposal, the oversight committee sent forth Oregon President David Frohnmayer to dispense with the usual lies.
So we have hypocrites who tell lies...
First, Frohnmayer claimed the proposal had been given serious consideration. And surely the Yankees have given serious consideration to cutting their payroll in half in the interest of bringing parity to baseball.
Let's see, the idea of the Yankees agreeing not to spend the hundreds of millions of dollars that they generate from being the most popular baseball team in the Milky Way is ludicrous because we would not expect a major entity to act in a manner totally at odds with its own self-interest. So what is it that you are asking the 66 teams the compose the major BCS schools to do? Oh yeah, give away a massive economic advantage that they created so they can share their wealth with teams whose fan bases are comparatively tiny.
Then he went into the BCS presidents' spiel about there being nothing wrong with the BCS -- sort of like when your stockbroker tells you your portfolio is doing just fine even if it's down 70 percent -- and then becoming self-righteous about their position.
You know, a quote would be good here. I smell a whiff of overstatement. And if you're keeping track, we have self-righteous hypocrites who tell lies.
Guys such as Frohnmayer -- who is really no different than the rest of his BCS cronies -- really believe they can throw out any statement they want and they will go unchallenged because they have a bunch of degrees on their office walls. That's why, even though complaints about the BCS are getting nearly as weary as the entity itself, the topic must continually be revisited.
Please do. I need the material in the summer.
After a pompous, arrogant and obnoxious pummeling of the "pundits and broadcasters" who have had the nerve to criticize the BCS -- does President Obama fall under the category of pundit or broadcaster? -- Frohnmayer claimed there were two "fatal" flaws in the arguments for a playoff. In doing so, he referred to those proposing an "NFL-style" playoff system in a blatant attempt to link a playoff with professionalizing college football. Excuse me, but what would be wrong with the "style" of the division I-AA, II or III playoff systems? They all work just fine.
We are now up to self-righteous hypocrites who tell lies and administer pompous, arrogant, and obnoxious pummelings.
Uh, Frohmayer probably referred to an "NFL-style" playoff because that's what a college football playoff would look like if people like Feinstein had their way. John, you know that 12-team playoff that you're pining for with the top four seeds getting byes? Where else can we see such a playoff? I wonder?
The first of Frohnmayer's "fatal" flaws was the claim that the pundits and broadcasters (and presidents of the United States) were completely ignoring the academic calendar. Seriously? Let's walk through this one more time: A college football tournament, whether it was the proposed eight teams or 12 or even 16 would require far less missed class time than the NCAA basketball tournament does in March. Most, if not all, of the games could be played in January, virtually all of them between semesters. Teams would miss less class time during the tournament than they miss during the regular season. Final words to Frohnmayer and the other 66 BCS presidents on this issue: Shut up.
The self-righteous hypocrites who tell lies and administer pompous, arrogant, and obnoxious pummelings need to shut up.
A I-A college football team has 85 players on scholarship. A Division I college basketball team has 13 players on scholarship. I wonder why college presidents would be more concerned about extending the college football season? Also, John, this may surprise you, but some schools start their semesters very early in January, so those teams would not be playing their games in between semesters.
To bring up academics as a reason for not having a tournament is patently dishonest on every level. Let's forget the fact that the significant percentage of football players at national championship contenders will never graduate. Let's pretend that it matters -- and, to be fair, it does matter to some players. Having a playoff will not for one second affect their chances of graduating if that is one of their goals.
The self-righteous hypocrites who tell lies, administer pompous, arrogant, and obnoxious pummelings, and are also patently dishonest need to shut up.
Really, there is no possible academic implication for a marginal student playing football throughout the month of January after having already practices and played from August through December? For the record, I'm not a huge fan of the academic concerns professed by college presidents as a reason not to have a playoff, but Feinstein is acting as if these presidents are arguing that Dred Scott and Plessy had overlooked merit. Frohmayer is not making a particularly outlandish claim here.
The second of Frohnmayer's fatal flaws was the "complete lack of a business plan." Please. A business plan would take about 15 minutes to concoct, and it could be put together by my daughter's fifth-grade class. The TV networks would fall all over themselves to get the contract, or contracts. The potential burden of fans having to travel for three weeks -- if you went with 12 or 16 teams, it would make sense to play first-round games at home sites -- doesn't seem to be a problem for fans whose teams make the Final Four. If a real national championship game was played next year in the Rose Bowl, does anyone think there would be an unsold ticket?
Again, Feinstein fails to grasp that there are differences between college basketball and football. The early rounds of the NCAA Tournament are played in smaller venues, which means that huge traveling hordes don't need to follow their teams. For a three-round playoff, Feinstein wants to make 40,000 Ohio State fans travel to Orlando one week, then New Orleans the next, then Pasadena the week after that. Now Ohio State fans will do it because they're batshit crazy, but there are differences in the number of people who are having to traipse all over the country. Has Feinstein perhaps missed the gaping maws of empty seats NCAA Tournament regional semis and finals that are played in domes?
One more nugget from Frohnmayer: In an attempt to be funny, he commented that, as successful as the BCS has been, he hadn't heard from fans at Auburn and his own school about being left out of past national championship games.
OK, even I'm calling bullshit on this one, Frohmayer. You really think that Auburn fans aren't a little sore about 2004?
How about Utah, David?
Remember Utah, the team that went undefeated last season and thoroughly thrashed BCS power Alabama in the Sugar Bowl? How about Boise State going undefeated this past season and not even playing in a BCS bowl? How about Boise State's 2006 team, which won one of the great games in history against Oklahoma (they're in the BCS, right?) in the Fiesta Bowl, that also wasn't allowed to compete for a national championship?
Right, the Utah team whose own coach voted fifth going into a Sugar Bowl in which they played Alabama without their best player. The Boise State team that lost that lost the Poinsettia Bowl. Another Boise State team that won an overtime classic against a good, but hardly overwhelming Oklahoma team after playing an absurdly easy schedule during the regular season. All of these teams were eligible to play for the national title, but no one - not the computers, not the media, not the coaches, and not the Harris Poll voters - saw them as being serious contenders to be one of the top two teams in the country before the bowls. And bonus points to Feinstein for not using the best example of a non-BCS conference power that could have legitimately played for a national title: 2004 Utah.
Finally, there's the now well-worn claim that college football has the "most meaningful" regular season in sports. Again, this is complete hyperbolic trash. First, how can you call a regular season meaningful when the decisions on who will play where in the postseason are made by computers and frequently biased voters.
The self-righteous hypocrites who tell lies and administer pompous, arrogant, and obnoxious pummelings need to shut up before they spew more hyperbolic trash.
What exactly does the voting method for the post-season have to do with whether the regular season is meaningful? And what's wrong with computers. Last I checked, you like college basketball and the Tournament selection committee tends to rely on the RPI pretty heavily.
The American Football Coaches Association's recent decision to keep secret coaches' ballots in the final poll screams deceit. All polls in all sports -- including Hall of Fame ballots -- should be made public.
I can't disagree here, but again, the NCAA Tournament is populated and seeded based on the workings of a committee that convenes in private and does not even publish the methodologies that it used to create brackets. I'll look forward to your column calling the NCAA Tournament fraudulent because of the lack of transparency in putting teams in various spots.
Are the BCS apologists trying to say that the college basketball regular season has no meaning? Every game played the last three weeks of the season is analyzed, re-analyzed and broken down to determine how it will affect seeding, the bubble and who is in and who is out.
Earth to John: the college basketball regular season goes on for over four months. If only the last three weeks are relevant, then you have made my point for me. You're supposed to be arguing against the BCS, remember?
You want meaning in a regular season? Give the first four teams in a 12-team playoff a bye. Give the next four a first-round home game. Let the last four scramble to avoid playing in the New Mexico Bowl.
And now you've hit on the problem with college basketball. Duke and North Carolina wage their epic battles every spring so the victor can play in Greensboro while the loser has to travel all the way to Philadelphia. Oh, the mighty stakes when the regular season is about seeding!
Of course, Frohnmayer and his partners don't care about or want to hear any of these arguments. That's because they don't believe any of what they're saying either. They just know they have a system they're comfortable with, one that ensures that Utah or Boise State won't ever compete for a national championship. They care about power, and they care about money.
The self-righteous hypocrites who tell lies and administer pompous, arrogant, and obnoxious pummelings need to shut up before they spew more hyperbolic trash that they don't believe as they're saying it.
John, do you remember when you were in college? Do you recall following Duke basketball way back when? You may recall that the ACC was eight teams at that time. If you care to take a gander, it now has 12 members. When you were in college, Miami, Florida State, Boston College, and Virginia Tech were blips on the college football map. Through good coaching and management, those programs built themselves into powerhouses (well, at least three of them did and the fourth tagged along because it is in a big TV market) that were attractive to the ACC. What is stopping Utah from turning itself into a shiny apple that the Pac Ten will want to pluck?
They don't care about the truth. They certainly don't care about their student-athletes. And they certainly don't care about any opinions other than their own.
Uh, right. They're rational actors seeking to create good results for their own schools. What a f***ing disgrace! Hurry, comb through your thesaurus to find more names that you can hurl! That's surely the way to show that you have the best arguments!