Saturday, December 31, 2011

2012 Wish List: Uniforms

Throughout the offseason, I figure we'll be getting on here and posting about things we would like to see in the 2012 football season.  None of it is in any ranked order, except for perhaps the order in which it comes to mind.

First up, though, is team uniforms.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Dear ESPN, don't complain about the schedule.

I should have posted this one last week when it came out.  But in case you haven't heard, Virginia Tech added the great powerhouse of Austin Peay State University to their 2012 schedule.


Who?  Read on to find out.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Still here, but slowed down.

Not a lot of updates here, for good reason.  Even though the bowls have started, there's not a lot going on in college football that generates enough interest to talk about.

Yeah, we've had some crazy bowl finishes, but not a lot of people are actually watching those bowls.  And there's no future impact in terms of what the next game could be from bowls, so there's no analyzing conferences and  rankings.

The news of the past day is that Matt Barkley is coming back to USC.  Okay, that's interesting, but it makes sense.  He finally has a chance to compete for titles, and he's not losing out on as much money due to the new NFL CBA.

There's been some coaching changes, and they will be more in January.  Ohio State got hit by the NCAA.  The only thing I can say on that is remark on how arrogant that university is for not sitting out on their own this year.  Why punish a new coach for the sins of the old one?

So, there will probably be some more posts as we get into the meat of bowl season, and into the BCS bowls, but then we'll be calming down for the offseason.  I'll post something as it catches my eye or if I have a strong opinion to share.  But we'll also be gearing up for next season, our first full season blogging.

Until next week, Merry Christmas.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Happy Bowl Season!

It's amazing how Bowl Week has turned into two weeks, and ESPN doesn't even count the BCS Bowls as part of the "week."

It's just as well, because I don't see any bowls that I could write anything interesting about until maybe December 22nd, and that's the MAACO Bowl - Boise State vs. Arizona State.  I really don't have anything interesting or insightful, I just know who both teams are, and both probably should be in better bowl games.  No, I don't think Boise belongs in a BCS bowl, I just think that their conference should get some better tie-ins.  Arizona State looked like a team that started strong and then fizzled out.

The Independence Bowl on December 26 looks like the first game between two big conferences as we get Missouri (in their last game as a member of the Big 12 before moving to the SEC) and North Carolina (long and forever an ACC member).

It's not until December 28 that I start seeing bowl matchups that consistently look interesting.  So I'll be back sometime next week to break them down.

Is this a sign of too many bowl games?  Perhaps.  But bowl eligibility lost some of it's meaning when the regular season was expanded to 12 games.  How many 5-6 teams earn that 6th win in the 12th game, when they wouldn't have had that option before?

So it looks like I'll still be in college football withdrawal for a few more days.  Although maybe there's a chance that some of these early games will still be tense in the final minutes.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Now it's just ridiculous

Mountain West is requesting a BCS automatic bid.

It's official.  These conferences have absolutely no grasp on reality.  The only schools the MW has had that could play up to BCS standards will not be in the conference next season.

The BCS AQ slots are already diluted by the Big East which is going to be even worse with its new Frankenstein patchwork of a conference.

What's sad to say is that with all of the heat the BCS is taking - or feeling like they are taking - regarding being a motivating factor behind massive conference realignment, they would probably accept the MW's request.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Strength of Schedule

When people don't like certain rankings or bowl matchups, they offer point to a team's schedule and ask who they beat.  Like many other aspects of college football, that's not a fair argument.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The Football Final Four

Another article by Dan Wetzel that provides a playoff alternative.  This time, it's explaining the "plus-one" format.  Honestly, that's the only playoff idea that will gain any traction at this time.  Knowing how all of the people involved like money, it'll expand as the year go on.  After all, look at FCS -- didn't they increase from 16 playoff teams to 20 in the last couple of years?

And ESPN seems to be in step with this idea, as the Gameday crew debated on the Dec. 3rd edition.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

The Heisman Trophy race

Every year, during the second half of the season, discussion on ESPN switches back and forth between the races for the national championship and the Heisman Trophy.  I pay quite a bit of attention to the national championship discussion, but don't bother so much with the Heisman Trophy.

I respect the Heisman Trophy, and think it is a very prestigious honor.  I even watch the show most years if I am able to.  Yet, I have a fundamental problem with an award for the best football player in a sport that is very much a team effort.

Friday, December 9, 2011

The ESPN Effect

I've been thinking about how there's any possible way to measure various college teams in a manner that's just close to fair, and I keep getting stuck on ESPN. 

On one hand, they're great.  With several channels and media platforms (several of which have only come into existence during the past decade), I can usually see any game that I want, many of which would not have been available a few years ago.

However, they still control what I see.  They pick the channel and time of games based on what they think will generate the best ratings.  And since not all channels and platforms are created equal (I'm looking at you, ESPNU and ESPN3), they control to an extent the ease in which I can see certain games.  (Not all cable or satelite systems offer ESPNU, and sometimes I'm in a place without an internet connection fast enough for ESPN3.)

Plus, they have a more of a vested interest in some conferences over others.  Sometimes it's hard for me to comprehend their deal with the SEC.  Basically, they spent a lot of money on a long term contract, but CBS still gets their choice of the best games.  As a result they pimp those teams and games a lot, even when not on an ESPN network.  Meanwhile, ESPN is the exclusive TV home to the ACC (they sublicense the two regional broadcasts), but doesn't seem to pimp them out as much.

They have also shown to change the course of a football season.  The big season opener between Virginia Tech and Boise State last year was originally scheduled to be in October until ESPN threw a lot of money at both schools to move it to Labor Day.  That game certainly would have played differently in the middle of the season.  Maybe VT would have won, but then they wouldn't have had the same motivation going forward and might not have gone 9-0 in the ACC.

For off the field action, SportsCenter is the main source of sports news.  They're not just controlling what stories I see, they are controlling the emphasis placed on those stories.

And this coverage is what is largely guiding people who vote in polls - either they watch ESPN or work for them.

I feel that ESPN basically manipulated the polls into getting the LSU-Alabama rematch for the title game.  They were guided by ratings.  The first LSU-Alabama game was the highest rated college football game of the season . . . and it was on CBS.  ESPN wanted to replicate that on one of their channels.

I'm not anti-ESPN, and I don't think they have malicious intent.  But they are not just an innocent unbiased bystander in college football.  We just need to keep in mind the influence that they wield.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Maybe this should be the next step in realignment.

If teams want to switch conferences, how about we find some new conferences that might actually make sense?

The Big East: A Conference of Desperation

I never gave much thought to conferences until Virginia Tech got stuck in the mess trying to move from the Big East to the ACC. I just went to the home games and watched whatever away games came on TV.  I was happy when they won, and sad when they lost. I didn't realize how much we gained by joining the ACC until we started playing in the conference and had much more interesting matchups.  In fact, it seemed to elevate VT's level of play, because the first year in the ACC was the year that the 10 wins per year streak began.

As the Big East evolved following the 2005 alignment, it became clear that the conference was viewed by many as a stepping stone towards a greater status.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What the 2011 NCAA Playoffs could look like.

Based on the playoff proposal, here are several versions of what the 2011 playoffs could look like.

A playoff system - our proposal

Here it is - our thoughts on how college football can implement a playoff system.  It's a system that Tony and I came up with staying up late one night about a year and a half ago discussing football.  Over the course of the last two seasons, we've tweaked it a bit.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Bowl Games - 2011-2012 Edition

The full list of bowls is available.

And, if you're into that sort of thing, here's the page that lists all of ESPN's announcers on TV and radio for all of the bowl games that they cover.

(Link courtesy of Tony in the comments section of the Week 14 wrap up.)

Here's to hoping that LSU blows Alabama out.

Week 14 wrap-up

The regular season is over, on to bowl games!

Saturday, December 3, 2011

The Big East season is done.

We can finally say something definitive about the Big East.

Cincinnati, Louisville, and West Virginia are co-champions.  The highest ranked of those three in the final BCS standings will go to a BCS bowl.  (Likely WVU, and likely to the Orange Bowl, who has the last pick, against the ACC champ.)

Rutgers and Pittsburgh join them as bowl elligible.

Syracuse, South Florida, and Connecticut are staying home for the holidays.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Conference championships preview

Here's what we can look forward to this weekend in college football.

Pac-12:  UCLA at Oregon

UCLA is only in because USC is still sanctioned.  Otherwise, we'd be getting a rematch of a game that Oregon lost just two weeks ago.  As it stands, UCLA will either go to the Rose Bowl with a win, or no bowl with a loss.  Either way, their coach is fired.

SEC:  LSU vs. Georgia

An undefeated team against a team that started 0-2 and had fans calling for the coach to be fired.  There could be an upset here, but LSU wouldn't care, since they have enough of a stranglehold on the #1 spot in the BCS rankings that they're virtually assured of a trip to New Orleans.  Then again, so is Georgia if they win, but on a different day.

ACC:  Virginia Tech vs. Clemson

A rematch of a home blowout for VT.  They feel they've learned from that and developed as a team.  They also see an outside chance at getting to New Orleans.  Besides, VT is no stranger to ACC title game grudge matches, having revenged losses to Boston College two years in a row.  Clemson has been on a downslide the last few weeks, and has actually managed to hurt the ACC as a whole.  If they had won their last two games, this would have been a matchup of two top six teams, and the Orange Bowl would have been guaranteed a top five team for once.

However, the Orange Bowl can still get a heck of a matchup if West Virginia comes out on top of the Big East, and VT wins this game, and that old rivalry can be renewed once more.

Big Ten:  Michigan State vs. Wisconsin

There are two Big Ten games that I really enjoyed watching this year, enough to put in my top five games of the year perhaps.  One was Ohio State-Michigan.  This was the other.  It had a crazy enough ending to be regarded as legendary.  Can they repeat that legendary performance in Indianapolis?

Mike London - ACC Coach of the Year

Even though he's the coach of my team's rival, I still have to respect Mike London, this year's ACC Coach of the Year.  I first became aware of him during his final season at the University of Richmond (my wife's alma mater) shortly after he took that team to the FCS National Championship (something that my wife does rub in my face every once in a while when I start going on too long about "what-ifs" for VT to get to the title game).  I was bummed when he left, but was even more bummed when he went to UVA, of all places, because Mike London is the kind of guy that you just can't hate and want to see do well.

Just check out the piece ESPN did on him during College Gameday and you can see how hard it is to not like the guy.

Of course, he can win any game he wants to, except during the last weekend of November (unless the ACC moves the rivalry game to a different weekend).  So, congrats to him for making the VT/UVA game actually matter on the way to the ACC title game.  That's a decent two year turnaround after Al Groh basically ruined the program.

I like that the ACC rewards teams that show a drastic improvement on and off the field, instead of just rewarding one of the coaches that reaches the championship game (although some years that could also be the case).  There are a lot of good coaches in the ACC, but each of them faces different obstacles each year.  As such, they can receive different rewards.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

"The BCS formula is an exercise in nonsense."

Dan Wetzel of Yahoo! Sports wrote a very informative article that basically sums up a lot of what I feel about the BCS and have been trying to state in various posts here.

Mr. Wetzel has also co-written a book called "Death to the BCS", which proposes a 16 game playoff.

I think my favorite line came from Steve Spurrier: 

“I don’t know why we vote. I guess we vote because college football is still without a playoff system. I really believe most coaches do not know a whole lot about the other teams.”
And then there's this Rick Reilly article that sums up the anti-rematch argument.