College Football 2013, Coming To A Close

Will Truman

Will Truman is the Editor-in-Chief of Ordinary Times. He is also on Twitter.

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49 Responses

  1. Chris says:

    I watched the national championship game last week! It ended on an amazing missed field goal returned 100 yards for a touchdown.

    Oh, and A&M has begun to regress to the mean this year. A great quarterback only gets you so far when you have safeties smaller than the average SEC kicker, and not much faster either. Missouri is a revelation, though. They had always flirted with real success in the Big 12, but never quite broke through. They joined the SEC with perhaps the most talent the school has ever had, and at a time when the SEC East is awful. The third best team in the SEC East right now that Aaron Murray is hurt is… Vanderbilt. Van-der-bilt. Florida lost at home to a Division II… er, FCS team that didn’t complete a single pass. Georgia has been inconsistent this season (and pretty much every season since ’82), Tennessee and its coaching carousel is awful, and South Carolina is South Carolina (they will always be 2nd or 3rd in the division, because of the laws of physics).

    But the SEC West might have the best 3 teams in the country.

    I was kinda hoping for a Baylor-Bama national championship.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Chris says:

      I wish I could find it, but alas I cannot. They recounted last season and imagined Texas playing against A&M’s schedule and determined that UT actually would have had a better record than they had in the Big 12 and their schedule (though not quite as good as A&M) in the much-vaunted SEC West.

      I don’t mind saying that the SEC is the best conference in the country. My analysis database bore that out (though with Pac-12 not far behind). What I object to is the circular logic that the SEC teams are awesome because they beat everyone in the SEC and only lose to SEC teams. Point out the out-of-conference schedule being awful and that’s okay because the SEC schedule is so strong so it’s only fair that they play Louisiana-Monroe and Western Carolina. Because look at all the SEC teams that those SEC teams beat!

      If there is one advantage to the 4-team playoff – which I remain opposed to – it will be to either bear this out or refute it. Except that the SEC will cry fowl when two non-SEC teams are included when everybody knows that they would have gone undefeated everywhere else… which is probably how we’re going to get to an eight or nine team playoff.Report

      • kenB in reply to Will Truman says:

        probably how we’re going to get to an eight or nine team playoff

        That’s the best outcome IMO — take all the AQ conference champs plus a couple at-large teams. Then you basically guarantee that the theoretical “best team in the country” at least had a chance to play for the championship, regardless of which conference it was in.Report

      • I remain opposed to a playoff of any sort, but if we’re going to have it I think that the 8+1 model is ideal. My selection would go as follows:

        – The champions of the three mathematically superior conferences, using a rolling average over three or four seasons. The champion from these conferences would get in regardless of record (even if it was one of those situations where an 8-4 team won a conference championship game).
        – The three highest ranked conference champions excluding the above three. There would be a 10-win requirement or something here, in case there is no obvious #6.
        – Three at-large. Only two teams per conference allowed maximum, except for whichever conference won the championship the preceding year.
        – The top five conference champions (the three from the first category and the two of the three from the second) cannot be put in the +1 “play-in” game.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I remain opposed to a playoff of any sort.

        You’re also against the BCS, though, right? I assume? (I hope? It is a playoff, after all…). So… what? Do you want there to be a National Champion? Do you want people to agree on who that officially is, even if they won’t necessarily agree that the system identified the right team for that honor? What system for that do you want in place? Or do you just want to go back to having a couple of polls come out when all the games are done, and that’s as much process that there is for indentifying which team deserves to be thought of as the champion of college football?Report

      • Perhaps it would be more accurate to say “I oppose a post-season tournament.” I don’t mind arranging #1 and #2 to play one another. Nor did I really oppose the “plus one” plan which took the top two ranked teams after the bowl games. The main problem I have with the pre-BCS era (which, to be fair, I have mostly read about rather than followed as a fan at the time) was the Rose Bowl preventing #1 and #2 from arranging games against one another when one of the top two teams was in either the Big Ten or Pac-10.Report

      • The main problem I have with the pre-BCS era… was the Rose Bowl preventing #1 and #2 from arranging games against one another…

        You’re too young, Will. Go back to the days when well-known coaches whose team was firmly ensconced in the No. 1 position could dictate to the bowl selection committees that certain teams couldn’t be the opponent.Report

      • I’d consider that to be a poll problem. If the #1 team won’t play the #2 team or the #3 team, then the #1 team really shouldn’t be #1 because they obviously lack confidence in their superiority.

        The harder egg to crack, and the reason why the BCS or something like it was ultimately necessary, is the bowl obligations. I mention the Rose Bowl, but I don’t think that was the only one.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will Truman says:

        I remain opposed to a playoff of any sort,

        Yeah, they’ve been experimenting with that for decades in all the other football divisions and it’s obviously not working well.Report

      • Stillwater in reply to Will Truman says:

        Yeah, they’ve been experimenting with that for decades in all the other football divisions and it’s obviously not working well.

        Other sports too, right? From what I understand, they’ve been experimenting for quite a while now with playoffs which has revealed some favorable results. Not that all the data is in yet, acourse.Report

      • The FCS is actually an example of doing playoffs wrong* and a cautionary example, in my opinion. Unlike with the FBS, I don’t oppose the existence of any playoff for the FCS. But I look at the FCS and that’s one of the things that worries me, rather than makes me think that it would be good at the FBS level.

        Can’t speak for the lower divisions, though. Maybe they do it right. But their situation is very different than FBS or even FCS.Report

  2. kenB says:

    I think comparing the strengths of different conferences is only slightly more sensible than arguing about who would win in a fight between Batman and Spiderman — there’s not nearly enough information to determine a reliable answer. Our judgments are mostly formed by bias, reputation/historical performance (not too helpful in college football given the personnel turnover), and vast overgeneralizing from a tiny number of early-season inter-conference games. The most frustrating part of the 2011 SEC Bowl was that the Powers That Be pissed away the opportunity to add a useful datapoint for the cross-conference comparison.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to kenB says:

      Exactly. The SEC has the reputation it does because it’s earned it. The thing is, though, that it is incumbent upon them to keep earning it. that means playing their best team against someone else’s best team, rather than just assuming that they have the two best teams.Report

  3. Kazzy says:

    Is it really reasonable to attempt to crown a national champion in college football? Disparate conferences, disparate schedules, small sample sizes… It feels like an exercise in futility. Is Alabama really a lesser team because they had a miraculous play happen against them while Ohio State picked off what would have been a gamewinning 2pter? Let conferences crown champions, play your bowl games, and whoever wants to put stock in whatever ranking they like, let them do so.

    This shouldn’t be read as a traditionalist rant, mind you. I like the BCS because I prefer analytics to nonsense — which is what voting polls are. But practically it seems silly to try to crown a champion among 80+ contenders each playing only a dozen games.Report

    • Will Truman in reply to Kazzy says:

      One of the reasons I am not very enthusiastic about a playoff post-season tournament is the extent to which it will detract from every other level of success. One winner, 120-something losers. One of the things that makes college football special is that the system sidesteps this.

      That said, our view is quite unpopular with just about everybody. So I’ve shifted to what kind of playoff system I would prefer over what other kind of playoff system.Report

      • kenB in reply to Will Truman says:

        the extent to which it will detract from every other level of success.

        I understand this point, but I don’t think I agree with it. Take March Madness — there are teams whose season is made just by getting into the tournament, and others who are thrilled to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. And they get the opportunity to see just how far they can go.

        Personally I’d prefer the old bowl system to what we have now, because the determination of who exactly is #1 and #2 is so contentious — better to leave it totally up for discussion than to select just two teams rather arbitrarily out of the top X to play it out.Report

      • I hear ya, and though that does detract against the “One winner, 120-something losers” bit, it is still representative of derailing the importance of the season. Nobody cares who wins a conference title, exactly. In one-bid conferences, it doesn’t even get you to The Dance (the post-season conference tournament does, typically).

        That said, football and basketball are two different sports. I don’t really have a problem with the basketball tournament. At the very least, it’s an all-important post-season that everybody has reasonable access to (not that it’s controversy-free, who gets in and who doesn’t).Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        The preference that’s consistent with this concern would seem to be to just not to have a champion. That’s perfectly fine position as Kay suggests (it’s not mine, but it’s perfectly reasonable – I’ve toyed with it myself), but I can’t tell if it’s yours. I’m unclear what your position is and why you hold it.

        But right now there’s certainly not a system that doesn’t produce a winner (maybe two) and 120 losers. The process that we have makes the postseason an irrelevancy for all but two teams. Going back to just having polls after all the bowls would at least make whatever bowls that worked out to matter, matter. But again, do we really want that? I want a system that lets as many of the teams that have a plausible claim to “really” be the best team – who can plausibly claim that the voters have it wrong and if given the chance, they’ll beat the team thought to be the best – a chance to do so at the end of the season. This makes 4 or 8 or maybe eventually sixteen teams winners by the in-it-at-the-end metric you suggest. Going from two to four is a step in the right direction that way as far as I am concerned. Better for all but four teams to be left out of the process than all but two. And certainly there’s some number of teams we can feel okay about leaving out of any championship process, right? That’s unless you’d rather there just not be a champion, which, again, is reasonable.

        I basically just still don’t understand what your position actually is, Will, or what the considerations are that lead you to it. I understand some of the considerations, but those don’t lead to a position that’s consistent with what you have said about your position that I can see. So that means there must be other considerations you haven’t mentioned, and/or that I don’t really know what your position actually is, which as I say is my sense anyway.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        …I’d also say that IMO, having a post-season process for crowning champion is actully good for the significance of conference championships. In system with no post-season process or just one game, winning your conference isn’t going to do anything to get you into that process. In a system with a decent number of championship participants, winning a conference could help get you involved in it. It also provides clarity about who’s in or out. Compared to a system with no real process that only ends in a lot of arguing where anyone can make whatever claims they want, I think this having a minimally extensive championship process (say, eight games) raises the importance of conference championships and other bowls, because it’s clear that’s what you’re playing for if you don’t get into the tournament.

        I think conference championships are still strongly valued regionally, and I don’t see why this or that change to the national championship process will change that. They’re not individually valued nationally and I don’t think anything is going to change that, but I also don’t that really should. College football is way too popular nationally and inter-regional rivalries are far too intense that we should just sit back and be satisfied with a bunch of regional championships. Not having a national championship process just seems like leaving a lot of fun in a sport we all (well, lots of people) love on the table.

        It seems obvious that there should be a national championship process in college football to me, and if there’s going to be one, it seems obvious (to me) that it should be a good one. Just one game, one versus two, is not good process IMO. Way too exclusive and limited. Get as many of the teams that are plausibly the best together that’s feasible (I think eight’s what feasible) and have them play a seeded tournament. I can’t fathom why we wouldn’t want that. I promise you, here in Big Ten country, we’ll still care who wins the league, and the rest of the country will still make fun of us for it. That’s not going to change no matter what we do.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        eight teams, not eight games. I’m skeptical sixteen teams would work out, but I’d be willing to look at proposals.Report

      • When Boise State played Oklahoma a few years back, and pulled off a win, it was absolutely huge. Boise State beat Oklahoma! Holy cow! Fiesta Bowl champs!

        In a playoff system, that’s round one, and chances are they lose round two to Michigan to LSU. All roads lead to failure. Either a failure to make the playoffs, or losing in them. So you look instead to other metrics of success.

        We won the Fiesta Bowl! We made it to the Fiesta Bowl! We won conference! We won the conference and got to play in the Liberty Bowl! We got to a bowl game for the first time in six years! We won our first bowl game in twelve years.

        A lot of these markers would still be there in the event of a playoff, but the more focus there is on a playoff, the less everything else matters. Even in the four-team system, they’re moving away from things that I think should matter. Heaven forbid they go the route of the FCS.

        Playoffs suck the oxygen out of a season. I don’t think you have to take it to the opposite extreme (“No champion!”) to resist that mightily. Or to notice what happens once playoffs are instituted: They expand.

        I’m not opposed to there being a champion. I’m opposed to the notion that a post-season tournament is the only way to properly determine a champion. And I’m worried about the effects on everything else as we go that route.

        I’m not unwilling to compromise on this. I consider “Plus One” to be a reasonable compromise. I would actually consider a four-team playoff such a compromise if it weren’t for some of the circumstantial structural problems and if it were done differently. There are even circumstances beyond four where I could be brought on board, but I am very skeptical that’s the route everything would go and I would rather not go than go the wrong route.Report

      • I’d also say that IMO, having a post-season process for crowning champion is actully good for the significance of conference championships.

        I don’t see that at all. Especially given that winning your conference is not a criterion in the four-team system and certainly would not be one for an eight-team or sixteen-team system. The notion that conference championships are more relevant because they allow you to advance to the playoffs brings us straight back to the logic that national championships are all that matter, which is logic that I do not agree with. Conference championships should – and in my view do – matter even if you have no chance at a national title. Because it’s not all about the national title.

        Meanwhile, in the FCS, some of the conferences don’t or didn’t even bother trying to sort out conference champions. The CAA had two divisions but no conference championship game. Who cares? Playoffs. The Big Sky Conference has 13 teams and no real way of sorting out conference champions unless someone goes undefeated. It’s not a priority. The priority is getting teams into the playoffs. (Except for the SWAC, which doesn’t participate in the tournament but has its own championship game, and the Ivy League, which also abstains from the tournament.)Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

        If you think that NCAA football is vile and corrupt now, just wait until coaches start get fired for not being able to make it past round 2 of the playoffs.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        The Big Ten didn’t have a conf. championship game until the year before last. To the extent this is about preserving what had previously been the focus of Div. I / FBS college football, I think you’re overplaying the extent to which it hasn’t always been a big discussion about who’s the best in the country first, and what’s what in the conferences a somewhat distant, though still significant, second. To the extent this is about reorienting college football back to regional concerns from a national, I honestly think that just makes for a less compelling fan experience, simple as that, especially given that everyone can always continue to get as excited about conference championships and other bowls as they like, and have continued to throughout the BCS era, when those things have been pretty much divorced from the national title process.

        And as for only ending in failure. Really? You honestly think BSU wouldn’t have loved to add a chance to continue to go on and play for the national crown to what they were able to do that year after their Fiesta Bowl win? Because they might not have won, or because it would have made the Fiesta Bowl or the conference championship seem like less of a big deal, or etc.? Obviously you’re entitled to an opinion that is equal in value to 1/(all college football fans) and I can’t take that much from you, but beyond that I can’t see whose interests you think you might be representing here. Certainly not those of any programs or fan bases who think they might ever be in a position to make a run at a national title if they can gain access to half a chance.

        Look, I’m as big a fan of the Rose Bowl tradition in particular as anyone out there (well, probably not, but I’m a fan). There’s no doubt that the BCS has made the Rose Bowl’s significance to college football’s stretch runs. But this in no way has diminished my enthusiasm. It’s a matter of deciding what you care about as a fan and sticking to it. Interest in regional championships and bowls will always depend on regional and traditional interest. I don’t think those interests are sustained because there isn’t a bigger competition happening at the national level. There’s been a national game for more than a decade, and programs and fans have had to get themselves up for being involved in them despite their not being part of the championship process. Making the championship process better and fairer isn’t going to significantly impede fans’ ability to get up for whatever postseason play their teams get to be part of. Wishing for a less compelling national title process to tamp down fan interest in it in order to keep interest in regional contests relatively higher isn’t fair to the majority of fans who see this as a national sport, which is what it is. It’s not fair to take a position that would significantly lessen the appeal of the sport in order to buoy an organisational system that is being transcended by the sport’s own popularity – not when those structures will roll on with not negligible importance. It’s up to you to maintain your interest in them even as the sport grows; you shouldn’t seek to hold back the development of satisfying structures that give the majority of fans the kind of true national competion they justifiably want for their sport.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        …significance to college football’s stretch runs…

        …decrease over time.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        Last thing I’ll say is that, if there were to be an eight-team playoff, I have a hard time imagining that, even if it’s not part of the formal formula for selection (though I think it would be, if not as an automatic selection criterion), conference championships wouldn’t be a significant part of the case of many of the teams vying for inclusion in the tournament. You’ve made clear that that there’s no winning with you on that whole part of the discussion, since if it were excluded that would clearly diminish conference championships, but if it were included, that would only advance them as an instrument of the national title process, and since you’re apparently interested only in raising interest in conference championships relative to the national process, you’re still not interested, because obviously having a compelling, sizable national process raises its status relative to conference championships even if in the process it also raises the status of both absolutely, while keeping the national championship process stunted and uncompelling keeps conference championships relatively important (perhaps).

        To me, this seems like choosing the lose-lose square in a prisoner’s dilemma matrix when you’re able to look at the square, know what your partner is going to do, and know there is a winning move available – like preferring prison for both to freedom for both, just so long as you can make sure your partner gets stuck in the hole longer than you. That *may*(sic) be a little dramatic, but that’s how it seems to me. I realise you have your reasons.Report

      • Michael, I already listed what my playoff preference would be. In the comment that got this whole subconvo rolling. Yes, I’m against a playoff either way, but not reflexively 100% against any playoff for whatever reason I can find. If we have a playoff, I want conference championships to be a factor. I just don’t find conference championships as a factor being a compelling argument for conference championships being more important.

        Would an 8-team playoff take conference championship into account? I would have thought so a few years ago, but the four-team doesn’t and Obama said “take the top eight!” (not that it’s Obama’s call, but I think it’s indicative of a greater attitudinal shift). But if we can keep it at eight, taking mostly conference champs still be better the alternatives. I just don’t think it’s a foregone conclusion. Especially the part about staying at eight.

        The FCS playoffs started with four in 1978, eight in 1981, 16 in 1986, 20 in 2010, and 24 next year. That’s without the financial incentives that the FBS would have to expand. And with fewer participating teams.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:


        But I’m not asking what your playoff preference is. You may not be reflexively 00% against a playoff, but you are against a playoff – that’s what got this whole convo rolling. So, I’m asking, given your complete druthers, what would you want in place for determining a national champion?

        I don’t see how it matters at all what Obama said, normatively or positively, but “take the top eight” is going to end up involving taking conference championships into account one way or the other, even if it doesn’t do so formally. It will always be a big part of any national that they’re a conference champion, the more so the stronger the conference? But that’s a side issue, since you’ve said even if it does, that doesn’t really move you much anyway, since it just adds value to the conference championships by virtue of making them relevant to the national competition, and you want to preserve their value independent of that.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        a big part of any national contender’s resume, that is.Report

      • As I said, I consider Obama’s comments to be a part of an attitudinal shift. I don’t really see conference championship itself being a factor in an eight team playoff except insofar as there is a correlation between conference champion and good enough team for a playoff.

        Much of my opposition to a playoff comes from a skepticism about how it will turn out, and how it will shift the attention of the sport. Exacerbating things already happening that I don’t like. However, I could very easily see changing my mind, once instituted, if my concerns do not come to fruition. If there isn’t a push to 12 or 16. If every conversation during dead time I watch in some Conference USA or MWC game (I root for some major conference schools and some not-major-conference schools) doesn’t turn towards playoff seeding. If they do try to retain the value of conference championships. If they do try to include teams from the lesser conferences.

        Things like that can happen, and change my mind. It’s my belief that they generally won’t that fuels a lot of my opposition to playoffs. So I say that I “remain opposed to playoffs in any event” in large part because of that.

        To go back to your original question, my preference for how to determine a national champion is to pick a couple of the best teams and let them go at it. If we get a split title, then so be it. But since these teams are going to play in bowl games anyway, let’s try to arrange them so that #1 plays #2 to the greatest extent possible (with some exceptions, if #2 is on probation, didn’t win their conference, or already played #1). Which lends me to prefer the BCS than what came before it, and not support a playoff.

        Yes, I am against a playoff regardless (though open to some compromise). Where it makes a difference, one versus another, is how much support I would have with a playoff once instituted. I mean, starting next year, I would prefer a post-season different than the four-team playoff that we’ll have, but I will either come around or lament the playoff depending on how things shake out.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        So basically, you want the BCS, more or less because a playoff would be fantastically fun and everybody would be excited to talk about it.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will Truman says:

        Playoffs suck the oxygen out of a season.

        Is that why nobody likes the NFL?Report

      • Because, among other things, a playoff would make the regular season less fun (a prelude to the playoffs).Report

      • Ahh, yes, the NFL. Where a 9-7 New York Giants team gets to be “The Champions” because playoffs. They didn’t win their four-team division, but by-tod they’re champions!Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        To me, the BCS is a grotesque monstrosity of exclusion. If all but two teams are going to excluded from proving their superiority to the other top teams on the field in an organized way, I’d rather no one be afforded a clear claim to champion. Make them earn it or don’t give it to them, and let everyone, or as many as possible, who have a reasonable claim to be able to beat the teams at the top, give it a shot. Pretty simple.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:

        I have a deep hatred of the New York Football Giants because of what they consistently do to the Packers in the playoffs, but honestly, any team that can go through the playoffs winning one and a half times as many games as the top-seeded teams to get to the Super Bowl, all on the road, and then beat the other Conference Champion, more than deserves the title of Superbowl Champion in my book. The NFL’s playoff byes have to be the dumbest feature of any post season system I am aware of*.

        * Other than the brand-new One-Game Playoff Series(TM) just introduced by baseball.Report

      • J@m3z Aitch in reply to Will Truman says:

        Will, you can criticize the NFL all you want, but they are the country’s most popular pro sport, so they must be doing something right.

        And I agree with Michael–the BCS is just a nasty fishing cartel designed to tilt the playing field against the Boise States and TCUs. There’s not one damned thing to like about it.

        Far better to just go back to the old system, but in a money-driven world that’s like suggesting the Israelis should just resolve the conflict by leaving the Middle East.

        And on the theme of money, Michael there ain’t no way we’ll ever stick with an 8 team playoff. It’ll end up at 16, if not more (but more does get harder), no doubt in my mind.Report

      • Yes, the NFL is quite popular. So is college football – especially for a college-level sport – with no playoffs.

        I have no problem with the NFL having playoffs. I’d actually probably insist on them, because you can clearly define who should and shouldn’t be included. Put the teams in that have a legitimate claim to being one of the best throughout the season and exclude everyone else. Of course, that’s not what the NFL does, and likely not what college football would do, either (and for college football, it would be a much, much harder thing to do anyway).

        Without getting into my biography too much, I am willing to bet that I spend more time rooting for the “excluded” than most people here. I am a big fan of the mid-majors. I actually watch their games, having an alma mater that has been in that group. (I also do have some “major conference” favorites.) It is true that most fans of the mid-majors do support a playoff system of some sort, but I file that away under “be careful what you wish for.” The new four-team playoff excludes them. History indicates that an 8-team playoff would as well (remember the 8-team BCS? Excluded every year but one). A 16-team playoff would include them, most likely one of them, as well as (IMO) throwing the regular season out of whack with the inclusion of three-loss teams and leading everything towards becoming too playoff-centric, in my view.

        There is a tension between wanting to include all of the teams with a legitimate claim, and wanting to avoid bringing in teams that don’t deserve to be there. I am willing to admit that I tend to err on the side of the latter. In part, at least, because virtually every playoff system in existence errs on the side of the former.Report

      • Michael Drew in reply to Will Truman says:


        I’m not sure Will cares about the sport’s overall popularity or success. Clearly he’s very concerned with regional competition, since he apparently thinks even in a completely corporate (in the organisational sense) league like the NFL, division championships still ought to be of paramount importance, even when the clear imperative of the league is to mange overall competition so that the product is most compelling.

        On eight-to-sixteen, this may hurt my position with Will a bit, but I don’t see any reason to look at the possibility of that development as being some kind of nightmare once we’ve countenanced the eight. OTOH, I do think it gets unwieldy past ten given that teams need a week recovery. And it’s still going to take plenty of advocacy just to get to the eight from four, so I’m not sure how quickly sixteen really follows. It well could, but I think it wouldn’t be the end of the world if it did.

        I should be noted that, for all the contentiousness of this discussion, there’s clearly some grudging common ground around an eight-team playoff. Will’s just making a big show out of demonstrating his purist’s-grudging-resistance-to-change cred. And good for him. 😉Report

      • Trumwill in reply to Will Truman says:

        FTR, I don’t think NFL divisions should be as important as I do conferences. I do long for the old days of MLB, though. Remember Major League? The whole movie was geared towards what? Winning the penant! Because the penant was the ticket to the playoffs. I do miss that. Not to the point that I would actually limit the NFL or MLB to four divisions and a four-team playoff. I just seriously object to a team coming second out of four in their division getting to be champions because they hit a hot streak at season’s end.Report

      • Trumwill in reply to Will Truman says:

        I have a theory, and it is this: the AD’s believe that a real football playoff (of 8 teams or more) would be insanely profitable. The only problem is the divergence between the top five and bottom five conferences in the FBS. They don’t want to share that pie. They don’t want to have to argue whether Sun Belt champion Louisiana-Lafayette gets a spot or not in the playoffs. They want a playoff that includes just those five conferences.

        So recently there has been a whole lot of talk about splitting off. Ostensibly over player stipends. I don’t think it actually has much to do about player stipends at all. I think it’s that, if they could just shed the “dead weight” then they would be more free to come up with more profitable ways to run the sport. It’s just that by framing it as being for the players they have a better public face to put on it than “We want more money and we don’t want to share.”

        This could be entirely wrong. It’s mostly intuition. I look at the playoffs and the potential windfall they would bring, and I ask myself “Why haven’t they?” Tradition? Concern for student athletes? I am skeptical of that. I think it has to do with all of the complications over allocation (of playoff slots and money). So they hew as closely to the status quo as they can.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Will Truman says:

        I do long for the old days of MLB, though.


        The Cardinals becoming “champions” in ’06 with an 83-78 record (781 RS, 762 RA) was a travesty.Report

      • I look at the playoffs and the potential windfall they would bring, and I ask myself “Why haven’t they?”

        How about pressure from the NFL? Depending on when the games are scheduled, they add some degree of competition for eyes watching NFL football in December and January. Perhaps more importantly, it stretches the season for the best college teams (and best college players) from 13 to as many as 16 games per season — that many more opportunities to blow out a knee, or turn what was a minor injury into a bigger one with longer-term consequences by playing hurt during those additional games. In effect, the NFL’s farm system would be “using up” more of the scarce player resource.

        I’m sure the NFL could get one of the networks to bite on “Saturday Night Pro Football”. Or do something tricky to expand the roster space for development players who come out of college early.Report

  4. Michael Drew says:

    Pretty big news in the coaching carousel.

    Very unconfirmed, it looks to me, though.Report