Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Tommy Tuberville, Whiner Extraordinaire

Presumably fresh off noting that Democrats can't win Presidential elections or an African-American can't win an Oscar, Tommy Tuberville now complains that SEC teams can't make the national title game without a playoff. Uh, Tommy...

Whadya know, it is possible for an SEC team to play for the national title! And you know what else is funny, Tommy? Those SEC teams made the national title game in years in which they played major conference opponents on the road! (Florida '96 and Tennessee '98 actually played good opponents on the road, at that.) Imagine that! They didn't need eight home games to make it to the title game!

We should all sympathize with Tuberville's situation, since most fans would react in an irrational manner if our teams went through the SEC schedule unbeaten and didn't get the chance to play for the national title. I also agree with Tuberville that turning the bowls into a four-team playoff is a great idea. That said, Tommy's whining isn't going to endear him to anyone, especially since his complaint is so demonstrably false. It sucks that his team happened to go unbeaten in a year in which the pre-season #1 and #2 also went unbeaten, but that had nothing to do with the SEC being impossible to navigate. Also, a team whose biggest road tests this year are at Alabama and South Carolina, both of which look like 8-4/7-5 teams, shouldn't be complaining about a murderous schedule. Now, if Auburn makes it through the schedule unbeaten and then has to play 11-1 Florida in the SEC Title Game, then Tuberville will have a legitimate argument, since USC, the Michigan/Ohio State winner, and the Louisville/West Virginia winner won't face the same challenge.

Tuberville also ought to look in the mirror and recognize that his own decision to limit his offense ensures that games are closer than they should be and they make a loss more likely. Teams like South Carolina and Alabama can pose a threat when you play them with one hand tied behind your back because you don't understand risk/reward properly.


Anonymous said...

I'm sure it's fun to rip the guy apart and call him a whiner, but he is dead-on correct.

Unless you have a different AP report than ESPN his quote is ""We all understand in our conference how tough it is. In our conference, that's about the only chance we'd have to make it."

That's a lot different than you insinuating he said no team from the SEC will ever or has ever won a national championship.

You also didn't mention that the LSU team that won a BCS got pounded at home by Florida. And everything else was pre-BCS.

Let's be honest, in today's environment you have a much better shot at winning all of your games in the Big 12 or Pac 10 than you do in the SEC. Unless they play two top 10 teams in the out of conference schedule, it's hard to argue that point.

You seem to have a built-up ire for Tuberville, which is cool with me because I'm not a huge Auburn fan either, but I think that's the only point he was trying to make. And I'm glad someone is saying it and not giving a rat's ass what the school President thinks.

Michael said...

You left out the first sentence of the paragraph. Here's the quote from the ESPN article:

"I've about had it with this playoff deal. We all understand in our conference how tough it is. In our conference, that's about the only chance we'd have to make it."

I read that to mean that an SEC team can only make the national title game if there is a playoff.

Tennessee won in the first year of the BCS and Florida made the title game twice under the Bowl Alliance format, which was identical except for the fact that it didn't include the Big Ten or Pac Ten.

I agree that it's harder to get out of the SEC than the Pac Ten or Big XII, but empirically speaking, it's not impossible and an SEC is usually going to win the strength-of-schedule tiebreakers with teams with common records.

Finally, I don't think it takes great balls to not care what the school president thinks at Auburn, since the football coach is probably more powerful when the team is winning.

Anonymous said...

I read the quote to mean that Tuberville feels the conference is so tough that it's incredibly difficult for someone to go undefeated in the SEC. The best team in the country in a given year could actually be a one-loss SEC team left out of the BCS title game. It sort of goes with what Spurrier used to say at Florida: Give me a playoff that won't punish me for a loss here and there and I'll schedule Michigan, Texas and Nebraska OOC every year. And let's face it. More times than not, a one-loss team like LSU in its championship year isn't gonna be given that opportunity to play for it all.

Or the "we'd" in his quote could actually refer to only Auburn. Maybe it doesn't, but it certainly could, since Auburn has already run the table once and gotten left out.

it's not impossible and an SEC is usually going to win the strength-of-schedule tiebreakers with teams with common records.

I think Tony Barnhardt pointed out today that, right now, Sagarin ranks the SEC below not only the Big 10 but also the Pac 10 for strength of schedule. (That's probably because of Auburn-Washington State, LSU-Arizona and Tennessee-Cal.)

Anonymous said...

Isn't Sagarin still relying on his preseason ratings? His base ratings tend to favor the Big Ten.

Michael said...

I wouldn't place too much credence on Sagarin's rankings right now, since he'll be the first to tell you that his system only works once the teams have played a larger volume of games and the program can draw connections between the various teams.

As for Barnhart's point, he's either not thinking very hard or he's simply not capable of thinking things through. He cites the fact that there are four SEC teams in the AP Top Ten, but that's actually an argument in favor of the computers because they computers recognize that Georgia isn't a top ten team right now. Top ten teams don't win by the skin of their teeth against Ole Miss or Colorado. AP voters rank teams based on inertia: "Georgia was highly-rated before the year and they haven't lost a game, so they ought to keep going up."

Sagarin probably has the SEC behind the Pac Ten right now because the bottom of the SEC is weak and that's hard to argue with. Both Mississippi teams are terrible and Kentucky, Vandy, and South Carolina are all questionable. The bottom of the Pac Ten is bad, especially Stanford, but not quite as bad as the bottom of the SEC, or at least that's how things appear to Sagarin.

Anonymous said...

Auburn now sits at number 4 in the BCS, if they win out their regular season and
1. USC loses
2. Arkansas loses one game or less
Auburn will be set up to play the Ohio State-Michigan winner for the national title but will NOT win its conference and NOT even play in the SEC championship game. How ironic is this, the person crying the loudest over the BCS system is going to benefit more from it than anyone else in its history.

Michael said...

In that scenario, they probably get jumped by Tennessee or Florida if either of those teams win out and win the SEC. Texas could also jump them by winning out, as could Cal if they are the ones to beat USC. Auburn has the fewest opportunities to impress the voters, possibly because their schedule just isn't that tough with Georgia and Alabama having down years and Tennessee off the schedule.