November 06, 2003

...and with a "doink" on the crossbar, TCU beats Louisville and moves to 9-0. But where does an undefeated team in an inferior conference belong in the BCS picture? Should they win out the season, do they deserve a chance at a national championship?

posted by Ufez Jones to football at 10:16 AM - 12 comments

No. And this is yet another reason why a playoff tournament should be enacted.

posted by scully at 11:16 AM on November 06, 2003

What terrapin said. Four teams, three games and one Nat'l Champ. It wouldn't remove the arguments, but it would knock them down a few notches to the battle for fourth. It wouldn't extend the season and it wouldn't eliminate the bowls.

posted by 86 at 11:26 AM on November 06, 2003

I expected the answer that TCU doesn't deserve a chance at the Sugar Bowl, even if they do win out, but that's one of the most frustrating aspects of college football. The point is that basically a team from a conference other than the Big XII, Big East, ACC, Big Ten, or PAC-10 will never, under any circumstances, win a national championship. It's systematically impossible right now. In all other college sports, there's room for the cinderella story to make a run and get their title. In football, it just can't happen. This to me is the single most important reason that the BCS is fucked. And does the NCAA not realize that a three or whatever game championship tourney would equal more games which would equal more television revenue? Dumbasses.

posted by Ufez Jones at 11:52 AM on November 06, 2003

I don't think an undefeated season from outside the BCS necessarily means a national championship appearance. But it definitely rates a spot in a BCS bowl.

posted by rcade at 12:29 PM on November 06, 2003

There was a very interesting comment on yesterday, apparently, the Fiesta Bowl was taking a very definite interest in Northern Illinois before they lost. I don't think being outside the BCS is going to stop a good undefeated team. Bowls are concerned about prestige and traveling fans, and I think Northern Illinois had that with quality wins over Maryland, Alabama, and Iowa State. Plus Northern Illinois has a fairly large fan base being in the Chicago area. Now TCU on the other hand has a schedule that reads like a list of non-conference patsies for BCS conferences. Tulane, Navy, Army, Vanderbilt, Arizona, Houston, SMU. If TCU wants to be considered a player in the major bowls, it should seriously consider toughening up it's non-conference schedule, like the MAC. The MAC big teams played very high level programs like Ohio State, Oklahoma, Kansas State, Purdue. Kansas State can get away with playing patsies on it's non-conference schedule because it WILL at some point play quality opponents in the Big 12. Any non-BCS team that thinks it's man enough to step up it's game needs to do it in it's non-conference schedule because most of that teams games in-conference will be disregarded by pollsters because the level of play is so low. Given TCU's schedule this year, I have no problem if they end up in Nowhere bowl. Play some real teams, get your damn AD on it, and then when you win those games, and you're still out of a BCS bowl, come complain again.

posted by patrickje at 01:01 PM on November 06, 2003

thanks for the analysis. i wouldn't know what to say on the topic but that seems like a good look into logic on the issue.

posted by gspm at 02:11 PM on November 06, 2003

Patrickje, You are essentially right but it's not quite as easy as "get the AD on it." College football schedules are made years in advance of being able to assess the strength of the team that year. You better bet that Maryland didn't expect a loss or even a tough game when they originally scheduled No. Illinois. You also better bet that if No. Illinois tried to create a schedule like you like right now they'd be doing it for 2007 or '08 or later. The AD and the coach might be facing a 5-7 year or some other firable type result if they can't get another Michael "The Burner" Turner in the hizzouse that season. The logistics of improving your schedule make it unwise to try and jump up a notch, because a 10 win season isn't enough to get prestige recruits to come play in your second class stadium and second class conference and a 4 win season can set you back 10 years. If you're not in a major conference, it is extremely difficult to claw your way into the elite. I may not be thinking of everyone but since 1980 what teams have managed to climb to perennial nation title contender status? I can think of Miami, Va Tech, Florida and Kansas State. Of those four only Miami did it without a major conference backing them. So there you go 1 school out of 117(?) since 1980. That's as good a reason as any to scrap the bowl system for a playoff.

posted by pastepotpete at 02:47 PM on November 06, 2003

Hmm, I'm not saying I disagree with a playoff, and who knows when the BCS re-evaluates itself in 2006, maybe a whole different type of system will be introduced. I'm just saying how current non-BCS teams can help themselves. Of course, it's hard since as pastepotpete mentioned, schedules are set years in advance. And a lot of name programs like K-State, Texas, and others won't agree to a home-and-home type arrangement (where one year they play at opponent and one year at home) with a no-name opponent. The two programs to really look at as a model for how to break into the BCS are: Marshall and Fresno State. If you remember Fresno State was red hot two years ago before losing out in the WAC to Hawaii and Boise State. And Marshall just keeps tripping itself up, either getting blown out by a strong non-conference opponent, or losing in the MAC. But these teams both possessed the momentum necessary to carry them into the BCS if they did complete a run. There are high level college programs that will play good non-BCS opponents. Wisconsin, Colorado, Purdue, Nebraska et al. The AD or coach or whoever runs the university athletic department, needs to figure out if they really want a good football program. Hire a good coach, and start learning the fine art of schmoozing, so they can start getting a good non-conferenece schedule. After you have a good coach, and play some name teams, recruiting becomes easier because the team will play some games on national TV (I ♥ ESPN), and maybe you get a little better, then you can try and upgrade your facilities and recruiting gets better again. I'm not saying it's easy, but universities need to commit if they want a good program. Teams in the BCS do have it much easier, because they will always play quality opponents. Non-BCS teams play in conferences with many crappy opponents. Sad but true, it will always be easier to run the table in the MWC, as compared to the SEC, Big-10 or Big 12.

posted by patrickje at 03:35 PM on November 06, 2003

Breaking into the BCS isn't the solution. Breaking up the BCS monopoly is. There's no way the Division I-A non-BCS schools should continue to allow a system in which a minority of the teams lock up all the opportunities for football revenue. Also, teams in the BCS don't always play quality opponents. Every year, most of the biggest names begin their years paying money to patsy opponents (like my alma mater, the University of North Texas) to pad their won-loss record.

posted by rcade at 03:48 PM on November 06, 2003

I see what you're saying patrickje, but these are college sports, not pros. The fact that building a program takes so long and is so difficult sucks for schools that play in non-major conferences. The fact that in backetball and baseball you can have one or two really good wildcard seasons and win a championship as a Cinderella story is what makes those NCAA tourneys so much fun. Hell, even the team that finishes last in the basketball season can make a run in the conference tourney and get an automatic bid. That kind of potential magic doesn't exist in college football and I think it's a shame. I'm not advocating that TCU go to the Sugar Bowl even if they do win out. Many of their wins have been very close and could have gone either way (like the game last night that should've gone to O/T). I'm just saying that they are an example of a team that feasibly could be a contender but is shut out by a system that favors those schools that play in the 5 or 6 biggest conferences.

posted by Ufez Jones at 03:51 PM on November 06, 2003

not to come to the BCS's defense because I hate it too (but I like tradition and prefer keeping the bowls intact)... but part of the reason that the big 6 conferences are where they are and make and deserve the money that they make is because a hell of a lot more people care about them and tune in on their TV sets to watch them. If NIU or TCU made a BCS bowl it would probably be the lowest rated BCS bowl ever. Not to sound narrow minded, but I simply don't care to watch either team, and neither does most of America. This is pretty much the only argument in favor of the BCS and distribution of money though. Everything else points to the need to get rid of it...

posted by Bernreuther at 04:04 PM on November 06, 2003

I say why not let them go to the Sugar Bowl if the complete the season undefeated? Beating Oklahoma looks unlikely for anyone and even if they did what have we gained? Two one-loss teams claiming a national championship because the ball bounced in one teams favor on one day? No matter what the system, someone will always be left out. How many years are we saddled with controvery for a champion versus not anyway? And when that controversy exisits, how many teams are involved. That's someting I would like to look at.

posted by 8ighteenAcres at 09:13 AM on November 10, 2003

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