My Take...

14 December 2013

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Playoffs? PLAYOFFS? Are You KIDDING ME?

This season, 2013-14 marks the final year of the BCS.

The BCS has been in place since the 1998 season as the consensus method of determining the MNC (Mythical National Champion). Prior to the 2006 season eight teams competed in four BCS Bowls. The BCS replaced the Bowl Alliance which was the "system" in place from 1995–1997. Prior to that we had something called the Bowl Coalition from 1992–1994.

Prior to the Bowl Coalition's creation in 1992, the AP Poll's #1 and #2 teams met in a bowl game only 8 times in 56 seasons. Since the creation of the BCS in 1998 the AP's #1 and #2 teams met 12 of 15 seasons.

All of these rankings - especially during the BCS era - had generated controversy and Oregon was involved in a couple of these discussions.  Most notably in 2001 when Nebraska was voted in to play Miami over Oregon.

On June 26, 2012, it was announced that the Bowl Championship Series will be replaced by a four-team playoff, effective for the 2014–15 season, to be called the College Football Playoff. A good, quick review of the history, as written by Richard Billingsley, can be found HERE.  

"Few things have been more controversial in sports than the National Championship in college football. Over the years the cries of "We're No. 1" have rang far and wide, from the Golden Dome to the Tiger Den, from the Coliseum to the Swamp, from Death Valley to Happy Valley and everywhere in between...."
                                                              --   Richard Billingsley

What are the chances that there will be no controversy in 2014? Right. It won't be around the cry of "We're #1!" so much as "We're #4!" ...

In 1994 the Pac10 and Big 10 had not yet succumbed to the pressure of playoff and more money. They still had their highly-valued and deeply traditional connection to "The Granddaddy of Them All". 

Immediately following that 1994 season and before Oregon's appearance in the Rose Bowl, I had become inspired ... and convinced we needed to move to a more realistic way of "crowning" a TRUE national champion in college football. So much so that I composed my plan and delivered it to a couple radio stations in Eugene, Or. and Seattle, Wa. for their review.

This is a redux of that commentary.....


5 December 1994
To: KJRB; KUGN

Gentlemen --

1994 - CFB Playoff Proposal Put me down as a traditionalist - one that would like the bowl system to remain the way it is.  But recognizing the inevitable - that $$ pressures will force a playoff if public demand can't; I think I have come up with the best solution. Keep in mind several prerequisites ...

 - ALL moneys generated by the three-game playoffs to go into a pool to be divided EVENLY between all Division 1 schools
 - Give players a monthly stipend up to $200 / month (WORK/study$)
 - Develop a more realistic poll system - one like the Sagarin Computer - that would include such things as opponents' combined records, etc.
 - Create a BLUE RIBBON panel (like NCAA roundball) for picking coalition teams.
 - No plan will work without the PAC 10 / Big 10 in the coalition
 - PRESERVE THE BOWL SYSTEM!! as much as possible
With these caveats in mind - what follows is THE DEFINITIVE DIVISION 1 FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PLAN!  GO DUCKS!!!!!!!!

DIVISION 1 FOOTBALL PLAYOFF PROPOSAL

The seven major conferences plus the highest placing major independent each will play in designated bowl games against seeded coalition teams.

 The winners of these bowl games - played on New Year's Day - will enter a seeded 8-team playoff on the last three weekends in January; with 1 playing 8, 2 vs. 7, 3 vs. 6, and 4 vs. 5. Playoff seeding to happen following completion of the January 1 games.
Pac 10 Champ in the Rose Bowl; Big 10 Champ in the Fiesta; Big 12 Champ in the Cotton; SEC Champ in the Sugar; WAC Champ in the Holiday; ACC Champ in the Peach; Big East Champ in the Orange; Highest placing Independent in the Citrus.

Each of these teams to play a coalition team as determined by the Blue Ribbon Panel.  If you have a fairly designed poll then the conference champ highest in the poll would play the lowest seeded coalition team on New Year's Day, etc.

IF THE SYSTEM WERE IN PLACE THIS YEAR THEN THE FOLLOWING MATCHUPS WOULD TAKE PLACE JANUARY 1 (Using the final 1994 Sagarin Computer Ratings - below in parenthesis; Winners are in Bold)

Rose Bowl Fiesta Bowl Cotton Bowl
Oregon(11) v Ohio St(8) Penn St(1) v Utah(16)* Nebraska(2) v Kansas St(15)*
Sugar Bowl Holiday Bowl Peach Bowl
Florida(4) v USC(13) Colorado St(18) v Alabama(7) Florida St(3) v Michigan(14)
Orange Bowl Citrus Bowl  
Miami(5) v Tennessee(12) Notre Dame(19) v Colorado(6)  
* Auburn and Texas A&M would replace Utah and Kansas St in the plan if they were not currently on probation.

Playoff Bowl sites would then rotate between either the above sites or possibly others such as the Astrodome, Kingdome, LA Coliseum, etc. or perhaps those existing bowl sites that were not selected above could be used.  The January 1 winners would continue as the "home" team at the above sites ...

This would work best if ALL conferences went to the SEC plan and have 12 teams with a Conference Championship game. Teams would play each team in their division plus 3 games from the other division in their conference and 3 intersectional games.

Leave it to the "experts" to work out the details!!  This will work -- Let's get on with it!

-- Randy Stewart, QuackerBacker


In November of 2010, Austin Murphy and Dan Wetzel (co-author of "Death to the BCS") wrote an article in Sports Illustrated highlighting the problems with the BCS system. In the article, they pointed out several inequities in and corruption of the system; noting that a preliminary investigation by Congress was being encouraged, for example, by Boise St.
Sports Illustrated Cover - November 15, 2010 Also in 2010 it came to light through an exhaustive internal report that "Fiesta Bowl CEO John Junker’s payola scheme that lavished his cronies with cash and graft and golf"  would later lead to his removal.

This all helped add to the momentum for change. The issue may not be fully resolved but we are moving in the right direction... Oh. And by the way? Only the Oregon-Auburn game was at all interesting during the BCS Championship Game Era [Evidence HERE]. Other candidates would certainly be Ohio St-Miami and USC-Texas.
Eight teams in a playoff seems about right to me. Placing strong emphasis on Conference Champions and strength of schedule - including OOC (out of conference) games.  This, then, would not devalue the regular season.

So the BCS is dead. R.I.P.

POST SCRIPT

n 2001, Jim Mora issued what will remain forever as one of the greatest melt-down press conference comments of all time.
"Well, I’ll start off by saying this: do not blame that game on the defense, OK? I don’t care who you play — whether it’s a high school team, a junior college team, a college team — much less an NFL team.

When you turn the ball over five times — four interceptions, one for a touchdown, three others in field position to set up touchdowns — you ain’t going to beat anybody I just talked about. Anybody. All right?

And that was a disgraceful performance in my opinion. We threw that game. We gave it away by doing that. We gave them the friggin’ game.
 In my opinion, that sucked. Ah. You know? You can’t turn the ball over five times like that. Holy crap! I don’t know who the hell we think we are when we do something like that. Unbelievable. Five turnovers. One of them for — We’ve thrown four interceptions for touchdowns this year. That might be an NFL record! And we’ve still got six games left, so there’s no telling how many we’ll have. That’s pitiful! I mean, it’s absolutely pitiful to perform like that. Pitiful!"
What’s that? Ah — Playoffs? Don’t talk about — playoffs? You kidding me? Playoffs? I just hope we can win a game! Another game.

... and for a slightly DIFFERENT SLANT:

Yes. Let's go win another game ...

(UPDATE: The victory over Texas in the Valero Alamo Bowl was sweet.)

Go Ducks


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