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marton
2009-10-20, 11:11
Great article on how teams take the easy road to beating the BCS system.

And another example of why I like Pete Carroll so much.


On Sept. 5, while Florida feasted on Charleston Southern and Texas opened with Louisiana-Monroe, the Oklahoma Sooners played a strong BYU team on a neutral field.

That’s when Sam Bradford sprained his shoulder while being sacked, an injury that derailed OU’s title hopes.

A week later, while Florida annihilated Troy and Texas blew out Wyoming, Southern California played at Ohio State.

That’s when freshman Matt Barkley was himself sacked and hurt. He was forced to sit out the next game, which the Trojans lost. Now they’re behind the national title 8-ball.

That’s two tough games, two season-changing injuries and two more examples why as long as the Bowl Championship Series exists, there is no good reason any power team should risk playing a rugged non-conference schedule.

Check out the BCS standings. Florida and Texas are ranked No. 1 and 3 respectively, despite playing weak non-conference teams. Both know if they win out, they’ll play for the title anyway.

This isn’t scheduling cowardice, it’s, in fact, what passes for BCS intelligence.

If you’re a big-name program, it’s foolish to prove yourself outside of the mandated league games. A monster showdown might be fun to play in, but it isn’t proportionately rewarded by either the voters or the computers. All it does is open you up to a loss, an injury or an emotional letdown.

You’re best served staying home and playing patsies.

This column isn’t about who should or shouldn’t be No. 1 or whether this team could win the games on that team’s schedule. There’s plenty of places and time for those debates.

It’s about how despite the BCS’ claim that it, unlike a playoff, protects the “sanctity of the regular season,” it has actually cut down on the exciting games the sport was built on.

And as coaches increasingly figure out how to rig this silly system, the trend toward the dull has only just begun.



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“Is the goal to find the team with the best record or the best team?” USC’s Pete Carroll asked reporters after the first BCS standings found his 5-1 Trojans in seventh place, hurt by computers that left the Trojans in the teens.

Carroll should know the answer by now. Sometimes they are one in the same. The one certainty in this uncertain system is that the most likely road to the title game for a big-name team is an undefeated record. Auburn, in 2004, is the lone exception.

“We’ve told our kids that we need to win them all,” said Texas coach Mack Brown of the blueprint for winding up in the BCS title game.

What is the easiest way to “win them all?” Play the weakest competition imaginable; and do it on your campus.

The Longhorns’ non-conference schedule features UL-Monroe, Wyoming, UTEP and Central Florida. It’s an embarrassing slate for a team of its stature, but it’s also one reason UT walked into the Oklahoma game Saturday in excellent health, high confidence and with backups having gained valuable experience.

All of that was enough to leave with a 16-13 victory over the battered Sooners.

Both Brown and Florida coach Urban Meyer are staunchly anti-BCS, but as long as they are stuck with this system, they’re going to try to figure out how to beat it.

While Bradford and Barkley were getting injured against physical non-conference opponents, quarterbacks for Florida and Texas, Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy, were watching long stretches of blowouts from the safety of the sideline.

Last offseason Brown brought in a bunch of BCS gurus to Austin to break down how the system works. He didn’t lack for familiar examples. In his own Big 12 he’s watched both Kansas (2007) and Texas Tech (2008) rise to No. 2 in late-season BCS standings, despite playing laughable non-conference schedules, essentially turning the season into two or three serious games.

If you can “win them all” the BCS doesn’t care about the “all.”



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Brown, and just about everyone else, is scheduling with this in mind. The Horns’ future opponents are only modestly more challenging than this season. UT will play three weaker teams and add a single major conference opponent per season, none of them true heavyweights – UCLA, Mississippi and Cal.

Meyer, meanwhile, knows that as long as his Gators win the Southeastern Conference, even with one loss, he’s probably in the BCS title game. The non-conference is meaningless to the Gators’ title hopes … unless they lose. So why risk it?

UF hasn’t played a non-conference game outside the state of Florida since the BCS was created and had only two outside Gainesville in the past five seasons. The only major non-conference team on the long-term schedule is fading Florida State. The Gators will play South Florida in 2010 and 2015, but other than that, it’s straight sisters of the poor.

“I don’t plan on changing the way we schedule,” Meyer said last summer.

Why would he? Why would anyone? This isn’t just what the BCS rewards, it’s what it demands.

In the 1980s, pre-BCS, there were annually between 15-20 non-conference games featuring two preseason ranked teams. This year there were just four.

There was a time when scheduling a Football Championship Subdivision team (formerly I-AA) was unheard of; now teams regularly play two of them.

All this despite the expanding of the season that offered more opportunity for real games.

Carroll, for one, tries to schedule only major conference opponents and doesn’t want to hear that retreating is the smartest policy. He believes the thrill is still in the challenge. USC is one of just four schools to have never played a FCS team.

He joins Stoops as part of a small group of coaches who still seeks out two or three powerful non-league opponents each season, fallout be damned.

OU is set up with dates with Ohio State, LSU, Cincinnati, Notre Dame, TCU and Tennessee over the next eight years. Carroll, whose team took two long trips to the Midwest this season, has future series with Notre Dame, Virginia, Boston College, Texas A&M, Syracuse and Hawaii and is looking for more.

It means every year those two national challengers are voluntarily walking a gauntlet, making chasing a championship exponentially more difficult.

They’d be best served joining Texas, Florida and the rest of the crowd that are playing by the rules the BCS has created – line up the weaklings as their fans’ eyes glaze over in boredom (while still charging full price for tickets, of course).

Apparently Pete Carroll and Bob Stoops still believe in the sanctity of the regular season.

It’s the BCS that doesn’t.
http://rivals.yahoo.com/ncaa/football/news?slug=dw-bcs102009&prov=yhoo&type=lgns

la Tuque
2009-10-20, 12:46
Marton: Playing the devil's advocate here: doesn't that make a good case for keeping the Interlock?

marton
2009-10-20, 13:19
Marton: Playing the devil's advocate here: doesn't that make a good case for keeping the Interlock?
I don't see your point.

There is a playoff system in the CIS, no BCS-like ranking will ever determine who plays in the Vanier.

Unless you mean that if it's OK for Florida and Texas to beat up on weaker teams it's OK for the Q to do the same? Which would be a no-no.

Anyway, I'm all for interlock games. I just don't want to see strength mismatches like we saw last week. I still believe no one wins in those games.

Sasky Boy
2009-10-20, 15:19
That is such an incredibly dumb article. It willfully ignores the Gators in conference schedule. What a load of junk. So overrated USC played over-rated ND and OSU. Wow. UF and TX know how to play the system? Well I say Pete knows how to play the media.

Let's just say this: when it is all said and done, when we look at the total schedule, who will have the tougher road? UF or USC? Gimme a break. Let's talk about the fact that Pete is against a playoff and against going head to head vs. any top team. Just teams with top reputations and a lack of talent.

Who wrote it? How about the fact that Carroll has not even played an away bowl game in forever, and is consistently playing a dud from the Big 10...he wins it big, finishes with 1 or 2 losses, everyone ignores that he has one quality win at best (while UF has 4), and they get pre-ranked in the top 5 the next year because he keeps the illusion up.

thejumpoff
2009-10-20, 19:18
Pete Carroll is entitled to his opinon. I offer a simple answer as to why USC doesn't get to the BCS game...Pete, when your team loses to the likes of Washington and last year to Oregon State, perhaps that is why his teams don't make it. Instead they get to play the Big 10 champ, open a can of whupp ass...and complain and cry about not getting respect. Win your games!!!!! (or just ask Utah last year to win all the games and get shafted).

ps. Playing Notre Dame does not count. The Irish aren't any good and Viriginia is horrible.

Rids
2009-10-20, 21:43
It would be interesting to see the BCS (or anything system) look at strength of schedule more like they do for the NCAA basketball tournament. For NCAA Basketball we've seen an increase of non-conference games that actually hold an interest for watchers early in the season. Wouldn't mind if Florida even stayed in their home state and played Miami, Florida State and South Florida. Even if they added a little Florida Atlantic or Florida International to soften the schedule it would be ok as long as two of the non-conference games were a little tougher than they set up for this year.

This year I would've loved to see Texas play Houston but who knew that would show up on paper as an interesting match up this year.

Sasky Boy
2009-10-21, 00:16
but the key here is that you have an impossibly flawed system. problem are inherent. the most reasonable solution to every person (99%) is a playoff. Without at least a 4 (preferably an 8) team playoff, everything is messed up. So the key is a playoff!!!

Right????

So who is anti-playoff???

PETE CARROLL!!!

Bottom line is that Pete would rather bet on going for an easy schedule and 0 losses, and he is pissed b/c his strategy fails. They do lose 1 or 2 and then they don't have the schedule to compete with the SEC. Too bad, so sad. Support a playoff USC!!!

Again, let's see who plays the tougher schedule as of December 10 or whenever!

Also, I am little drunk so these opinions are not exactly perfect I have to think. Thought I would get a jump on the weekend. ;)

la Tuque
2009-10-21, 04:18
I don't see your point...
I don't anymore either... :)

marton
2009-10-21, 05:10
Also, I am little drunk so these opinions are not exactly perfect I have to think. Thought I would get a jump on the weekend. ;)
On a Tuesday night? Never too early I guess. :)

The feeling I get of Carroll is not that he's complaining, or pissed or whatever. Anyway, he would be hard pressed to be taken seriously after dropping a very winnable Pac 10 game every year. I think he makes choices and assumes them.

I feel he plays it the way he wants to, the hell with the consequences. The day he stops choking that conference game is the day he will get a chance to fight for the National Championship. Until then, Rose Bowl it is.

Sasky Boy
2009-10-21, 11:25
I think you have a point. The article is so biased that it makes Pete seems like an infant, but that is not fair. He is a great coach. He just irritates me b/c he is a major voice preventing a playoff movement.

No Rose Bowl this year tho Marton ;) ;) :D

thejumpoff
2009-10-21, 12:19
It would be interesting to see the BCS (or anything system) look at strength of schedule more like they do for the NCAA basketball tournament. For NCAA Basketball we've seen an increase of non-conference games that actually hold an interest for watchers early in the season. Wouldn't mind if Florida even stayed in their home state and played Miami, Florida State and South Florida. Even if they added a little Florida Atlantic or Florida International to soften the schedule it would be ok as long as two of the non-conference games were a little tougher than they set up for this year.

This year I would've loved to see Texas play Houston but who knew that would show up on paper as an interesting match up this year.

Florida, FSU and Miami, FL used to play each other to win "the unofficial state championship"...I recall the good old "Wide Right, I, II and III" vs.Miami, FL.

thejumpoff
2009-10-21, 12:22
but the key here is that you have an impossibly flawed system. problem are inherent. the most reasonable solution to every person (99%) is a playoff. Without at least a 4 (preferably an 8) team playoff, everything is messed up. So the key is a playoff!!!

Right????

So who is anti-playoff???

PETE CARROLL!!!

Bottom line is that Pete would rather bet on going for an easy schedule and 0 losses, and he is pissed b/c his strategy fails. They do lose 1 or 2 and then they don't have the schedule to compete with the SEC. Too bad, so sad. Support a playoff USC!!!


Also, I am little drunk so these opinions are not exactly perfect I have to think. Thought I would get a jump on the weekend. ;)


The problem with a 4 team or 8 team playoff is thenumber of teams. I would love to see 12 (11 conference champions and 1 wild car). That way, the BOise State, TCU now have an equal shot of winning. Keep the bowl games (but eliminate a few of them) so that there is some merit to playing in a bowl game. In my view, 6-6 teams from the SEC who finish in 7th place, do not belong in a bowl game.

Dr. Evil
2009-10-21, 13:24
It's a joke....Florida Gators might as well play a couple of high school teams to pad their record a little more.....Troy, Charlstown Southern....last year they played powerhouses Citadel.....it's a freaking joke....I mean they pad their stats and record against these teams and then talk about a national championship....they should be embarassed. It's one thing to play a team that is having a bad year because that happens in every league....but when you go out of your way to play Troy and Charlstown southern because you know you can put up 60 or 70 on them....brutal.

Sasky Boy
2009-10-21, 16:01
It is a product of not having a playoff. The reality is that 1 loss is all you can afford these days. Obviously any of these teams can beat better teams, but it is a matter of pressing your luck. Those low end games are NOT about putting up huge points. No chance. That are all about have a safe week without having to take a week off and fall out of a groove.

It is a joke that UF plays those teams, and it is amazing that they will probably play THREE top five teams this year! They should play 75% of the available top 5 teams! If you count the orange and blue game (toughest game of the year) ;), they play 80% of the top 5!!! Insane schedule in terms of its highs and lows!

The even more interesting things is that between those high and lows, they play teams like UGA, UT, ARK, KY, USC, FSU, etc...depending on the year, most of those teams could WIN other conferences. This year, I don't think USC (CA) could even beat UGA or AUB, not to mention UF, AL, or LSU.

AGAIN....it all comes down to not having a playoff....and the Big10 and Pac10 are the biggest opponents of a playoff. Folks should ask why?

marton
2009-10-21, 16:09
AGAIN....it all comes down to not having a playoff....and the Big10 and Pac10 are the biggest opponents of a playoff. Folks should ask why?
No need to ask. Answer is simply $$$.

They share revenues of the game providing the biggest payday... the Rose Bowl.