5 Thoughts From The Weekend

It was another solid day of watching games–I counted 23 games in all where I watched at least significant portions.  Not sure if my eyes can keep it up.  And the bar food does take its toll.

—It’s clear to me at this point that Michigan’s Denard Robinson is–and will likely remain–the story in this year’s Heisman race.  I’m not sure how ESPN’s Heisman Predictor is coming up with Mark Ingram as its leader, especially after a 47-yard effort against Florida that has Ingram solidly ensconced in second on his own team in total rushing yards.  No. 22 is more likely to stay in that spot than he is to get back to New York.  Anyway, on to Robinson, who has a pretty good chance of hitting some impressive milestones before the season is through.  First, I think it’s realistic that he will produce the first 300 rushing/300 passing game in NCAA history.  There was a point against Indiana where he looked like he could do just that before missing a series due to a re-aggravation of his sore knee.   He may also be en route to 2,000 yards rushing/2,000 yards passing on the season, which of course has never been done.  I’ve heard some tutting about Michigan not being very good (probably true) and the resulting speculation is that a couple losses or more could hurt Robinson’s chances at the Heisman.  But if Robinson achieves these record-breaking numbers, he will win no matter how many times the horrid Michigan defense blows a game.  Voters won’t blame Robinson for the shortcomings of Jonas Mouton and Co.  When a player redefines a position, he tends to reap the rewards. 

Ted Miller asks if Oregon is the new USC and I am inclined to say…yesmaybeso.  When you look at all the ‘regional’ programs that are out there, Oregon might be the only one with the ability to make that jump to the next level to become a ‘national’ program.  How are they doing it?  Well, having a close association with Nike helps give the school an element of ‘cool’ that belies its humdrum location.  Fantastic facilities and a commitment to winning helps.  Having a relatively young coach who runs perhaps the sexiest–and most potent–offense in college football helps.  Being known as ‘Track Town USA’ and having a great track program helps create a climate dedicated to speed.  It helps to have had some level of success in the past 15 years building up to this point.  And then when you take a look at the Ducks’ recruiting lists and see top players committed from places like Arizona and Florida (just a year after getting top players from Texas), you realize that they aren’t just bringing in and coaching up local talent anymore.  Incidentally, if you think Dixon, Masoli and now Thomas are good, wait until you get a load of this guy coming in for Oregon next year.  With USC down and the other Pac-10 schools stalemating each other, this might be Oregon’s time to become a national power.

—Well, I think the first five weeks have made quick work of the notion that the SEC is head-and-shoulders above all the other conferences this year (just think of all the wasted hyperbole we’ve seen in print and heard on air).  Outside of the three As: Alabama, Arkansas and Auburn, there’s not a whole lot for the league to rave about.  Florida is still finding its way, Georgia is a major disappointment, LSU is a mess, Tennessee and Kentucky might as well merge.  For some reason, South Carolina is considered to be good even though its signature win is over Southern Miss.  And things are pretty much the same down Mississippi way.  The SEC title game will likely be Florida vs. Alabama, unless Auburn can spring an upset.  Is anyone going to be especially impressed by the Tide beating these Gators twice?  Should an undefeated Boise State team go to the title game over a one-loss team from this year’s SEC?  Heck yeah.

—No one wanted to believe me when I warned about the dangers of hiring Lane Kiffin.  I warned Tennessee and we saw what happened there.  I warned USC and we see what is happening.  There are some coaches who you just can’t quite picture lifting up a trophy to celebrate a championship.  Kiffin is one of those guys.  The notion is being peddled (mostly by Kiffin) that USC is bereft of talent when, in fact, its roster is far and away the most loaded in the Pac-10 and still in the top five nationally.  There are a lot of guys there who will end up playing on Sunday who just aren’t being taught how to play very well on Saturday.  USC is headed for 6-7 or 7-6 this year and will be rid of Kiffin within a couple seasons.  It would do well to find a coach with no previous ties to the school who has actually proven himself to be a winner in college football.

Bruce Feldman made a good point recently about the great job Bob Palcic is doing as the UCLA line coach this year.  I’ve never seen a more ragtag group of linemen somehow come together and dominate as these guys are doing .  Their transformation reminds me of the climactic scenes from Meatballs.    Anyway, if you looked around the country at who is in the running for the Broyles Award (given to the top assistant) Palcic would have to be near the top.  Other contenders based on what’s been happening on the field: Dana Holgorsen, offensive coordinator for Oklahoma State, Rod Smith, quarterbacks coach for Michigan, Burton Burns, running backs coach for Alabama and, as usual, Gus Malzahn, offensive coordinator for Auburn.

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Chris Huston, A.K.A. ‘The Heisman Pundit‘, is a Heisman voter and the creator and publisher of Heismanpundit.com, a site dedicated to analysis of the Heisman Trophy and college football. Dubbed “the foremost authority on the Heisman” by Sports Illustrated, HP is regularly quoted or cited during football season in newspapers across the country. He is also a regular contributor on sports talk radio and television.

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38 Responses to 5 Thoughts From The Weekend

  1. Solon October 5, 2010 at 1:14 am #

    HP – while it’s probably too early to say with certainty, I’m inclined to agree that the SEC has come back to the pack this year – it really was inevitable, because no conference can sustain periods of dominance for too long – the idea that an undefeated Boise should be considered over a 1-loss SEC champ, or a 1-loss team from any other major conference (perhaps excepting the ACC and the Big East, at least this season) is a bit of a joke.

    Is your argument that Boise is one of the two best teams in the country? Because, while I doubt it, I could see the merit of the argument.

    Unfortunately for them, though, that’s not really relevant – what matters is the two teams that have the most impressive resumes. And there’s no chance that any WAC team that doesn’t play a killer OOC schedule (note – VaTech neutral/away and Oregon St at home do not constitute a killer OOC schedule) will ever accumulate the resume it needs to earn a spot in the title game.

    I mean, please – Ole Miss is the joke of the SEC, losing to a 1-AA team at home and probably 11th or 12th best team in the conference, and they just destroyed Fresno. In other words, the worst team ‘Bama will play in conference is markedly better than the 3rd best team in the WAC.

    There’s just no way that 8-0 v. the WAC, 2-0 against the dregs of the MWC and the MAC, and 2-0 v. marginal top 20 BCS teams trumps (e.g., for Alabama) 10-1 against BCS teams (the worst of which just drilled the 3rd best team in the WAC), 1-0 against the WAC, and 1-0 against 1-AA.

  2. Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 1:25 am #

    Good to see you again. There are a lot of factors involved here and I am busy writing other stuff now, but I think my point was grounded more in the fairness of it all. I just don’t think the SEC is anything so special this year and if a team can’t go through it unscathed, I don’t think it should get a bailout. Take UF. If they run the table in unconvincing fashion from here on out and then nip Alabama at the end and become a one-loss SEC champ, they will have only ended up beating just one legit team(Alabama–I don’t think LSU or SC are anything of note). For that they should go ahead of Boise? I’m not sure.

    Yes, Ole Miss beat Fresno, but that’s hardly a definitive game to prove your point. I mean, Ole Miss (as you pointed out) also lost to JSU. That’s the kind of anomoly that often happens in CFB. So, maybe Fresno losing to Ole Miss the way it did was also an anomoly.

    Finally, I’m giving a lot of thought lately to the idea of what the term ‘best team’ means. Does it mean the team that played the best against the best teams and has the best resume, or the team that actually PLAYS the best with what it has and is the best TEAM, independent of all the other stuff. I think there is sufficient question in this regard to let Boise have its day if it goes undefeated and if there are no other undefeated teams out there. We CAN look at some basic cross sections of the season to this point and see that Boise has been more impressive against a tougher schedule than, say, Ohio State. Why not let the ‘best team’ play the team who has the ‘best resume’ at the end and see what it all means?

  3. John October 5, 2010 at 3:45 am #

    I think you have to consider Joe Pendry (OL coach at Alabama) for the Broyles Award, too…he does an incredible job, both last year and this year.

  4. Floridan October 5, 2010 at 6:31 am #

    I think the question you have to ask is how many other teams would be undefeated at the end of the year if they played Boise State’s schedule? And what would Boise State’s record be if they played Alabama’s, Oregon’s or Oklahoma’s schedule?

  5. Ed Newman October 5, 2010 at 7:26 am #

    You might be right about USC and Kiffin, but you’re too quick to bury him. Cheater Pete also lost to UW last year with better talent than Kiffin has now. He’ll have plenty of time to bury himself. You only look petty jumping on him so soon.

  6. Glen October 5, 2010 at 9:49 am #

    Hmmm . . . the SEC has won 4 straight BCS championships.

    Based on the two results-based rankings I have seen, the SEC is the top conference based on 2010 results in each:

    http://www.usatoday.com/sports/sagarin/fbc08.htm

    http://realtimerpi.com/football/ncaaf_conf_Men.html

    Those are facts. What are the facts that say the SEC has tumbled? Or are you using a narrow definition of “head-and-shoulders above”? Because I don’t think anybody ever said the SEC is the NFL and the rest of college football is Pop Warner, just that the SEC is consistently the strongest conference. I don’t see anything in the results from the first 5 weeks of the young season that significantly change that.

    Until the conference stops winning 5 or more bowls a season, one of which is the BCS championship – or at least take an ACC\Big East-style regular season bloodbath, which clearly has not happened – I think you’re just battling a strawman here. Sure, there are a few hyperbole-spouters, but if that’s who you want to take on, then why not quote a couple and show they’re wrong. Most knowledgeable SEC fans won’t come with the hyperbole, though, just with the “proven strongest” label, which I don’t think has been touched yet.

  7. Dave October 5, 2010 at 11:14 am #

    Kiffin – This is what he did at Tennessee, too. You would never know they had 2 first round draft picks on defense and a couple of guys who would play RB in the NFL the following year (one of which would be the guy leading the NFL in rushing… you know, the one who didn’t play for Kiffin, turning him into an undrafted free agent).

    Let me summarize last year for you: Lane finds creative ways to lose games, Lane blames players and officials, team in last 4 games limps to victory over Vandy and Kentucky while getting blown out by Ole Miss and Virginia Tech looking for all the world like they are increasingly sick of Lane.

    Boise over one-loss SEC: You West Coast guys have GOT to stop pushing this theme. You can’t whine about Big12/SEC teams scheduling a couple of out-of-conference patsies, then reward a team for playing a conference slate full of them. I mean, pick a side and stick with it.

    Tell me this – would you take Boise over an Oregon team whose sole ding was an overtime loss to Arizona or a put-it-together-one-time-nothing-to-lose USC team?

  8. Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 11:37 am #

    Ed, I’m not jumping on him soon. I’ve been warning about him for years now. This is just further validation.

    Dave, you East Coast guys have got to stop pushing this idea that the SEC has a birthright to the BCS title game.

  9. Chris October 5, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Dave said:
    “You can’t whine about Big12/SEC teams scheduling a couple of out-of-conference patsies, then reward a team for playing a conference slate full of them. I mean, pick a side and stick with it.”

    Don’t you know HP is a world-class flip-flopper? The only side he consistently takes is west.

  10. Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 11:57 am #

    Here are the facts:

    1. Big 12 and SEC teams don’t play a ‘couple’ OOC patsies. They play more than anyone else. Bama plays Georgia State this year, which is easily the most embarrassing matchup ever concocted.

    2. According to Sagarin, Boise State has a schedule strength to date of 38th, which is superior to half of the SEC teams, and most of the Big 12. So, if Boise is at No. 4 despite playing a tougher schedule than Ohio State and Oregon to date, for instance, what makes you think that playing a tougher schedule than an SEC team will make a difference? It wouldn’t, because SEC homers will just find another reason to justify their teams getting more benefits.

    I suppose you also think LSU is rated appropriatedly. Of course you do!

  11. Ed Newman October 5, 2010 at 12:22 pm #

    HP,

    You’re proving my point. You’ve already bashed Kiffin at every turn. His Tennessee teams did no worse than predicted and showed flashes of promise while he was there, and his USC teams have won 4 of 5 with the only loss to the same team Carroll lost to last year (that’s pretty weak validation so far). However, I agree with you: chances are he’ll fall on his ass and finish about where you predict. But instead of railing on him now when you’ve already made your feelings clear over the last several years, why don’t you wait until he loses a few more before you say told you so. Because despite how poor USC has looked they are still 4-1 and it won’t be the biggest upset in college football if they wind up 10-2 or 9-3 in a transition year. Then you will end up looking like a bitter fool with a grudge.

  12. Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 12:25 pm #

    No, I will not end up looking like a bitter fool with a grudge, I will end up looking like I knew what I was talking about.

    Why would I be bitter and have a grudge regarding Kiffin? He’s just a bad coach who I’m calling out.

  13. Chris October 5, 2010 at 12:35 pm #

    Once again HP replaces an argument he can’t face with a straw man. No one said the SEC has a birthright to the BCS title game. In fact, Dave clearly indicates the one-loss team might be from the Big 12!

    1. The SEC is the only BCS conference to have a team go undefeated and be excluded from the BCS title game.

    2. The SEC is also the only BCS conference that had a BCS champion snubbed by the AP.

    3. If an undefeated Pac 10 team gets excluded or overlooked in the polls I can guarantee a major hissy-fit from our west coast hypocrites. Perhaps that’s what it will take for them to drop their adamant opposition to playoffs or a real conference championship.

    • Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 1:35 pm #

      A real conference title? You mean like the one where all the teams play each other in a round robin as opposed to skipping 1/3 of the teams?

  14. Ed Newman October 5, 2010 at 1:26 pm #

    Really, if USC goes 10-2 or 9-3 you will look like you know what you’re talking about? Just how delusional are you?

    • Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 1:34 pm #

      They are not going to go 10-2 or 9-3. They are going to go 7-6 or 8-5. You are the one who is delusional if you think Kiffin has a chance at winning 9 or 10 games this year. BTW, they play 13.

  15. Dave October 5, 2010 at 1:37 pm #

    HP — Sorry. My comment had an inferred “each,” which I assumed a competent reader would be able to discern in the meaning. My bad.

    I don’t think the SEC has a birthright to anything. I was pointing out that it seems a little inconsistent to rip a team for playing 2 or 3 patsies and praising another for playing 9 of them.

    • Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 2:02 pm #

      And Im’ saying you have to look at the individual season and not automatically assume things. This year, the SEC isn’t that good. Florida is going to play a lot of bad teams, including Miami (OH), which it struggled with, South Florida, Tennessee, Kentucky, LSU, MSU, Georgia, Vandy and Appalachian State. It’s signature accomplishment so far this year is a 25-point loss to ALabama. But you think the Gators should to to the title game over BSU if they win out. I just don’t agree, unless they look really impressive doing it.

  16. Glen October 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm #

    Also bear in mind that Boise St.’s strength of schedule is going to take a nose dive as the season progresses. They have already played their two toughest opponents, or at least their two toughest out-of-conference opponents if you give Nevada the possibility of being better than OSU or VT.

    If the season ended now, their accomplishments are near the top. But as the season goes along, other teams who play much tougher schedules overall should have that taken into account. I’m not saying BSU is automatically in or out vs a 1-loss team from a power conference; the situation will have to be judged on its own merits. But make no mistake, BSU’s schedule will stack up as very weak by the end of the season when compared to virtually any team from the big 4 conferences.

    • Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 2:03 pm #

      Good post, Glen. That’s all I am saying: Decided it on its own merits and don’t automatically assume a one loss SEC teams gets the nod. Nothing wrong with that.

  17. Chris October 5, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    HP said:
    “Big 12 and SEC teams don’t play a ‘couple’ OOC patsies. They play more than anyone else.”

    Non-BCS games per team in 2009:
    Boise St 13
    BigEast 3.75
    Big12 3.17
    SEC 2.92
    Big10 2.73
    ACC 2.33
    Pac10 1.80
    The SEC is singled out, despite being in the middle of the pack.

    Games against teams in the Sagarin top 30:
    SEC 5.67 per team
    ACC 4.08
    Pac10 3.90
    Big12 3.75
    Big10 3.73
    BigEast 3.25
    Boise St 2

    So the SEC plays about an average number of non-BCS games, but plays by far the most ranked opponents. While Boise St plays by far the most non-BCS opponents and very few ranked teams. That’s what makes HP a hypocrite for saying “Hell Yeah” he’d take Boise St over any one-loss SEC team.

  18. Heismanpundit October 5, 2010 at 3:26 pm #

    In the BCS Era, the SEC is 344-44 against non-BCS and 1-AA teams. That’s 388 games.

    Other BCS conferences in the BCS ERA:

    ACC–275 games
    Big Ten–331
    Big 12–419
    Pac-10–263

    Only the Big 12 has played more patsies than the SEC, but not by much. What did I write “Big 12 and SEC teams play more patsies than anyone else”. That is correct.

    Since 2006, the SEC is 150-8 against such teams.

    Facts hurt, huh?

  19. Chris October 5, 2010 at 5:48 pm #

    HP –

    You are aware that the SEC and the Big 12 have more teams? Here are the numbers of non-BCS games per team per year:
    Boise St 10.85
    BigEast 2.82
    Big12 2.69
    SEC 2.49
    Big10 2.31
    Pac10 2.05
    ACC 2.01

    The SEC is once again in the middle of the pack and Boise St epitomizes what you claim to hate the most.

    Setting aside Pac 10 cowardice about conference championships and playoffs let’s look at the rest of the story.

    Here’s the total number of BCS games per team per year, including conference games:
    ACC 10.24
    Pac10 10.11
    Big10 9.89
    SEC 9.71
    Big12 9.62
    BigEast 9.27
    Boise St 1.69

    Games against the Sagarin top 30 during BCS years:
    SEC 5.19
    Pac10 4.47

    Games outside the Sagarin top 30:
    SEC 4.52
    Pac10 5.64

    So while the Pac 10 plays more BCS teams the SEC clearly more than makes up for this by playing more quality BCS teams.

    If facts hurt, I feel your pain.

  20. Brian October 5, 2010 at 8:00 pm #

    “If facts hurt, I feel your pain.”

    My pain comes from hearing your arguments.

    You’re definition of “BCS games” leads me to believe you’re actually meaning Automatic Qualifying FBS teams as last I checked there are only 5 BCS games a year..

    Not to mention you somehow decide to include Boise St. as a league itself (which some would be quick to point out explains the WAC’s existence) when you compare it to all the other AQ leagues.

    Lastly, we have this humdinger:

    “So while the Pac 10 plays more BCS teams the SEC clearly more than makes up for this by playing more quality BCS teams.”

    Or… maybe the SEC plays more ‘cupcakes’ inflating their ratings and can then play against each other.

    Call me unimpressed.

  21. Dave October 5, 2010 at 9:49 pm #

    HP – I never suggested a one-loss SEC team should go ahead of Boise State regardless of context, which would be ridiculous. You did suggest an undefeated Boise should go ahead of a 1-loss SEC, regardless of context – which I find ridiculous.

    I tried to suggest a scenario where a 1-loss Oregon would have a real argument over a no-loss Boise, given the strength of the Pac-10 this year. You never responded to it. So: does a no-loss Boise get your nod over a 1-loss Oregon or Arizona, regardless of the context of that loss?

    I’m not an SEC homer. I keep trying to point out that your antipathy to the SEC sometimes puts you in inconsistent and perhaps even incompatible positions.

    Look at this it this way: it took awhile for the Big East to take away the ACC’s “best basketball conference” title – which it did, despite the fact that 3 ACC teams have combined for 5 titles in the last 10 years, while the Big East has exactly 1. The ACC’s now seen as a league with 2 giants and 10 dwarfs (which is where the SEC seems headed at the moment). But that mystique was lost on the court, programs 3-12, before it was ever lost in the realm of public opinion.

    And relative to the SEC, it’s happening as we speak. Everyone’s saying the SEC is way down, based mainly on the performance of the East. Alabama, Arkansas, LSU and Auburn still have 5 losses to distribute head to head. Florida and SC, the other 2 ranked teams, add 4 more head to head Ls to this mix. Of those 6 teams, that’s 12 total head-to-head Ls (3 already in the books, 9 more to come). We’re at week 5, and already the SEC has exactly two teams which are even in consideration for Glendale — Alabama and Auburn.

    But I would take either of those 2 with a narrow in-conference loss over undefeated Boise any day of the week.

  22. Chris October 6, 2010 at 1:36 am #

    Brian –

    I think you misunderstood a few things…

    1. BCS games are games between two automatic qualifying conferences. HP and I have both adopted this shorthand and its used in the data source we’re both referencing.

    2. I highlighted Boise St because HP said that’s the team that should be selected over ANY one-loss SEC or Big 12 team. My point is that his preference runs contrary to his strength of schedule argument.

    3. It’s hard to use the “too many cupcakes” argument to sell Boise St over the SEC or the Big 12.

  23. Ed Newman October 6, 2010 at 6:36 am #

    “Setting aside Pac 10 cowardice about conference championships and playoffs let’s look at the rest of the story.”

    I can’t believe this idea persists. The PAC10 is the ONLY conference where the championship is determined in the fairest manner possible. Everyone plays everyone. No schedule quirks deciding things, whereby a team misses Arkansas/Iowa and makes a championship game because they have Ole Miss/Purdue on the schedule instead. You can get on the PAC10 about its reluctance for a playoff, but not its conference championship. ALL conferences should be decided the PAC 10 way. It’s not cowardice. It’s greed on the part of every other conference. Don’t kid yourself that there is any other significant reason for it.

  24. Chris October 6, 2010 at 3:45 pm #

    Ed –

    The Pac 10 has failed to crown a single champion in 8 of the last 18 years. They just call it a tie and then have a beauty contest to see who goes to which bowl, rather than settling it on the field.

    It’s not like the Pac 10 invented the round robin… this flawed system has been used and abandoned by majority of the BCS conferences. And the addition of a 9th game has just added to the ambiguity.

  25. Ed Newman October 6, 2010 at 8:38 pm #

    I really don’t see any big problem with having ties every so often. It gives multiple schools bragging rights and makes those years with a single championship more meaningful. And it was abandoned by the other conferences in the pursuit of the almighty dollar. I don’t recall any conference ever saying we are going to a conference championship game because we are sick and tired of all these ties. They do it because they want the game for its revenue and publicity generation. That it leads to a single champion is merely a happy by-product.

    And having a conference championship game doesn’t eliminate beauty contests anyway. It just pushes them to the divisional level.

  26. Dave October 7, 2010 at 5:36 am #

    And a round robin is designed to leave money on the table in pursuit of some competitive ideal? No – it’s as much a function of logistics for a 10 team league as divisions and a championship game are for a 12 team league.

    The Pac-10 was 10 points away from a 3 way tie again last year. Can you imagine figuratively flipping a coin (I have no idea what the tie-breakers would have been) to decide which team hasn’t been to the Rose Bowl in forever gets to go to the Rose Bowl? For 2 teams, that’s griping rights, not bragging rights.

    No matter. The Pac-10 becomes the Pac-12, and now the Big 12 gets a round-robin and a purer form of competition, which means naturally their champion becomes more deserving for championship consideration than a Pac-10 champ. Right?

  27. Ed Newman October 7, 2010 at 6:30 am #

    I never once said they were more deserving. If you win the championship, however it is done, then you deserve it. I said it was fairer in that you get to play every other competitor. What angers me is when anyone says the round robin is cowardly or somehow less worthy than a championship game system, especially since, as I said earlier, a championship game is a by-product of a conference money grab.

    To address your three way tie: the big 10 had a 4 way tie in 1990. There may have been some griping at the time but I don’t remember it. Can you say you do? If there was it certainly hasn’t survived to today (I’ve never heard a Michigan fan bitch about how they got gypped out of the rose bowl in 1990. But they do count that year’s co-championship among their however-many-it-is Big 10 championships in their media guide) Besides, when there is a true round robin you’ve got no one but yourself to blame. Beat your opponents and ties never become an issue. With big ten ties what I mostly hear is fans complaining that they should have beat team X, not that they got gypped by the tiebreaker system. After all the system is known to all teams before the season starts.

  28. Chris October 7, 2010 at 7:34 am #

    Ed –

    The Pac 10 and the Big 10 cling to a failed system because of their incestuous and extremely profitable relationship with the Rose Bowl. That’s why I connected conference championships to playoffs in my original comment.

    Ironically this greed has diminished the Rose Bowl. Often it has been a lop-sided extra home game for USC against the Big 10. But if the Pac 10 system is working so well, why do they have to hire a PR firm to improve their image? And why are they adding 2 more teams?

    Since 1992 the SEC has determined exactly 36 divisional champs and exactly 18 conference champs. In that time the SEC has never held a beauty contest to determine the prettier candidate.

  29. Chris October 7, 2010 at 8:01 am #

    The Pac 10 moving from 8 conference games to 9 conference games has not improved fairness. In fact it has increased the number of beauty contests. Determine the champion on the field, but I guess the next logical step is a playoff and here’s the Pac 10’s stance on playoffs:

    “Our presidents have no interest whatsoever in a plus-one model — none,” Hansen says. “It’s a little annoying that my colleagues continue to float this idea as though it has merit. If they continue to push it, and try to push us into a corner … ”

    Will the Pac-10 walk away from the BCS?

    “Yes, no question.”

    How do you spell cowardly? P-A-C T-E-N

  30. Ed Newman October 7, 2010 at 9:40 am #

    Moving to 9 games did increase fairness, though it didn’t increase clarity. Every team now controls its own fate. No longer can you win the league title solely because you had Washington State on your schedule instead of USC. Now you face the same schedule as everyone else. What is fairer than that?

    The SEC may have crowned 36 division champs but who is to say there weren’t decided by beauty contests? In 2007 Florida thumped Tennessee and they had identical in-division records, yet Tennessee was the champion because of a better overall conference record (did they play the same western division foes? No, not even one common opponent). But wait, Georgia had the same conference record as Tennessee and a better overall record and a better ranking (finishing the year @#2), but lost an extra division game. Tennessee went to the SEC championship game. See it all comes down to tiebreakers, ie beauty contests. I’m sure you could find other examples if you try.

    The round robin system is not failed. If you are talking about a failed BCS system (without a playoff), then I won’t argue.

    The PAC 10 is adding more teams for the same reason as everyone else: money. Especially the kind of money that you get from having your own network like the Big 10 and the Yankees. The PAC 10 sees itself falling behind in money, and if that happens they will fall behind in success on the field as well. So they are knuckling under and joining the crowd. Even if they weren’t, a PR firm would be a good idea since the PAC 10 doesn’t have the major networks shilling for them since they have the problem of playing their games too late and too far from the east coast population centers.

    I do agree with the pac 10 that a plus one is not the answer. At minimum an 8 team playoff is needed. So I also disagree that the PAC 10’s rejection of the plus one option is cowardly. It’s just a rejection of a bad option. A complete rejection of ANY playoff system is cowardly (or at the very least greedy), but I am not aware as to whether the PAC 10 has taken such a stance.

  31. Chris October 7, 2010 at 1:59 pm #

    Ed –

    The Pac 10’s rejection of even a plus-one option was the final rejection of any option. Let’s not pretend the Pac 10 is receptive to other types of playoffs. Don’t you see how cowardly it is to say “I’ll walk away from the BCS if the other conferences even talk about about playoffs”? It sounds a lot like “I’ll take my ball and run home to mommy.”

    I see your point about what might happen with divisional play, but Tennessee had a better record against common SEC opponents in 2007 and Florida had already lost to LSU. I’ve never heard anyone say Florida didn’t get a fair shake in 2007.

    Let’s be honest… from a practical standpoint the Pac 10 has never ended in a tie since the teams must be ordered for the bowls. Since it is a beauty contest, it probably comes down to how the teams did outside the conference and is unlikely to involve any common opponents.

    The fact that the Pac 10 is already making plans to do something different tells me they agree that round-robin doesn’t work. One thing’s for sure – the new Pac 10 solution will still avoid playoffs.

  32. Ed Newman October 8, 2010 at 1:57 pm #

    The fact that you haven’t heard complaints about Florida is exactly what I was saying about the big 10’s 4 way tie and ties in general. In conference tiebreakers rarely cause much grief. Most are forgotten as fans tend to focus on why their team lost to someone they should have beat. For the BCS (and the poll system before that), there is no tiebreaker written down, its all just opinion,and it has no rules. That’s where long term resentment resides. Just ask any Auburn fan.

    As for the PAC10, I’m not a real follower of their BCS playoff stance so if you say they’ve rejected all playoffs I’ll believe you. But I suspect they’ll have a championship game in conference as soon as they get to at least 12 members. And its not because they think the round robin doesn’t work. There just really isn’t any other choice once you get to that size, unless you increase the number of games in the season. It’ll be more interesting to see if they use the Big 10 round robin once Utah joins (you don’t play everyone in conference every year) or whether they’ll show HUGE cajones and go to 10 conference games and have a pure round robin.

  33. Chris October 8, 2010 at 6:44 pm #

    Ed –

    I always find your opinions well thought out, even if I disagree. You say the long term resentment about the BCS is that there is no tiebreaker written down. Isn’t that the case for the Pac 10’s current system? They use BCS rankings to resolve their very common ties.

    There’s little doubt that the Pac 10 avoids determining the winner on the field because they view it as a step closer to playoffs and away from the cash-cow Rose Bowl.

  34. Ed Newman October 8, 2010 at 9:18 pm #

    Thanks for the compliment. It seems like you aren’t afraid to back up your opinions either.

    I’m not sure you know the PAC 10 tie break procedure. Assuming this blog is right

    http://www.fanblogs.com/ncaa/007866.php

    then the head to head match-ups are first, records versus the best conference opponents second, BCS standings third, and finally last to have gone to a BCS game is eliminated. It seems pretty fair and it certainly is written down.

    I still don’t understand your connecting the way the conference champion is determined with a playoff. They’re totally separate issues. The PAC10 could theoretically have a championship game and still vehemently oppose a playoff.

    I say theoretically because until they get to 12 teams the NCAA prohibits them from having a championship game. So the fact they don’t have one now says NOTHING about their desires. They may really want a championship game now, but by rule they can’t have one. They might just really be against accepting a sub par team into the conference.

    http://sports.espn.go.com/ncf/news/story?id=1622429