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Cavalcade of Whimsy - 10 Tweaks to the BCS
Posted Nov 28, 2006

How the BCS system needs changing, the bad call that won't die, the Miami season, and more.

By Pete Fiutak    What's your beef? ... E-mail with your thoughts  
Past Whimsys
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Week 6 |
Week 7 | Week 8 | Week 9 | Week 10 | Week 11 | Week 12

If this column sucks, it’s not my fault … Gordon Riese, the infamous replay official who blew the call on the late onside kickoff in the Oklahoma loss to Oregon, said that replay rules prevented him from saying my September 19th column sucked, when from his vantage point, it sucked.

“Somebody should clean these windows. There's gook all over 'em.”
Awwww, does little Gordon’s guilty conscience feel better? Yes it does! Ah-yes it does!  

Man up, Gordo.

Don’t blame the replay angles. Don’t blame the “rules” of officiating. If you knew Oklahoma should’ve had the ball, you should’ve come out and said it on September 16th to an on-field official. The first rule of officiating is to get the call correct. That's it. Done. Make the right call; that's what you're there for. You were supposed to be an official. If you saw from your angle that it should’ve been Oklahoma ball, that was the only view you needed. You didn’t need ABC or some kid with a feed to overrule what your own eyes told you.
 If you didn't feel it was right to break the chain of command during the game, you should've said right off the bat that you thought the Sooners got hosed instead of discussing it more than two months after the fact and making things even worse. As your punishment, you get to go interview Bob Stoops and ask him if he ran Adrian Peterson too much earlier in the year.

Michael Irvin could always use the excuse that Larry Coker was like a marijuana pipe found in the trunk; he belonged to a friend and forgot to throw him away … A simple request to all Da Insipid former players from Da U who claim to be embarrassed and ashamed by the way the team played this year: Shut Da (bleep) Up.

The current Hurricane players and coaches had a hard enough time this year in a disappointing season without having to hear from a bunch of whiny former Canes about not understanding “Hurricane football.” It's amazing how easy it is to forget how some of the most talented teams in the history of college football laid some of the biggest eggs in the 1987 Fiesta Bowl to Penn State, the 1986 Sugar Bowl loss to Tennessee, and the 1993 Sugar Bowl loss to Alabama.

It was a good thing no one could see all the empty seats through the outdated 1980s-style smoke entrance … If you were one of the 23,308 Miami fans who showed up for the Boston College game, you have the right to whine and complain all you want about the coaching, and you get to thump your chest and start chirping once Greg “I’m going to be (at Rutgers) for a long time” Schiano makes your program a national champion again. Lock the doors to the bandwagon.

We’ll give them all a five-yard start ahead of Trindon Holliday … Mark it down for 2008 must-see TV: the NFL scouting combines. I’d pay to watch Darren McFadden, Steve Slaton and C.J. Spiller run the 40. At the very least, someone, somewhere has to set up a race between these three.

But at least basketball season has started. Oh wait, the SEC is pretty good at that, too … The ACC might have stepped up its overall play and cachet as a conference, but this was a bad weekend in the race to try to even the distance between itself and the SEC. Florida beat Florida State at FSU, South Carolina beat Clemson at Clemson and worst of all, Georgia Tech, the possible ACC champion, lost to a Georgia team that finished in the middle of the SEC pack. Don't think that these losses aren't big in recruiting.

What would you expect from the group that let its best teams slip away to another league? … Whoever made the deals to secure the Big East’s bowl ties needs to be called into the office and told to shut the door. The champion, of course, is in the BCS, but if the Gator Bowl takes Texas, which it’s thinking about doing since this might be the only time in the next several years it’ll get a shot at the Longhorns, then the Big East’s number two team could go to … the Texas Bowl against the worst available Big 12 team? Rutgers, who was in the national title discussion a few weeks ago, could go to the International Bowl against some MAC team or the Birmingham Bowl against a Conference USA also-ran? Act as if someone wants to watch your teams play.

No, that wasn’t Dan Dakich in the Georgia secondary … As the line goes, who was the only person who could stop Michael Jordan? Dean Smith. Who are the only people who can stop Georgia Tech WR Calvin Johnson? Reggie Ball and Tech offensive coordinator Patrick Nix. Of course Nix wanted to get his superstar the ball as much as possible, and of course Ball was looking for C.J. on every play, but there’s no way, no how a top three pick in the draft should only get two catches for 13 yards in any college game. Slip screens, bubble screens, whatever. Just get him the ball.

To… Rose Bowl CEO Mitch Dorger and the other Pasadena big wigs
From …The college football world
Cc … ABC drooling executives who hear the cash register ringing
Subject … Michigan vs. Notre Dame rematch in the Rose Bowl



P.S. LSU vs. Michigan, if you please.

The C.O.W. airing of the grievances followed by the feats of strength
You’re not getting a playoff in any form any time soon. Accept it and go on with your life.

In lieu of a playoff, the BCS really is a decent way of comparing apples to oranges. but it’s hardly a perfect system that they’ve stuck us with and needs plenty of work. If the powers-that-be (a.k.a. college presidents) really don’t want any sort of way to figure things out on the field, they might as well get their quirky grand design to actually work once and for all to make the darn thing more fair. Here are ten suggestions for how the whole thing can be better.

10. Start the BCS formula right off the bat
Granted, you need half the year to get the computer formulas humming with enough data to properly process (more on that later), but the whole dog and pony show should all start up after the first game. Even if the rankings appear off and messed up, there should be some sort of measure for all 119 teams to go by. It’s all about knowing your place in the world. Give that 2-0 Conference USA team a chance to enjoy a spot high up in the rankings.

9. One easy computer formula with accurate "what if" projections late in the year
The computer guys yell at me about this as they try to describe how a sampling from several sources and formulas make it fairer and more exact ….whatever. Do you think Florida fans, players and coaches have any idea how the Colley Matrix formula works? They shouldn’t have to. Everyone should know exactly what’s at stake every time they take the field.

8.  Human polls should be out of the mix entirely, but …
… since I can’t have that, the human voters have to be less important than a fair, clear-cut formula that determines who deserves to be playing in the big money games as opposed to who everyone thinks should be in. To all the talking heads who dispute this, name the starting quarterbacks for Wake Forest and Oregon State. Do that and I’ll start to believe that you pay enough attention to college football to have an informed opinion on all 119 teams.

7. A team should be rewarded more for beating a good team on the road, penalized more for losing to a bad team at home, and destroyed for losing anywhere to a D-IAA team
It’s only fair. Ohio State should get more credit for beating Texas in Austin than Kansas State should get for beating the Longhorns in Manhattan. Alabama should get nailed to the wall for losing at home for Mississippi State, and New Mexico shouldn’t be close to a bowl game after going 6-6 with one of the losses coming at home to Portland State.

6. No conference title, no national title
So sorry for putting this in every column in some way. It’s funny how many out there assumed a rule was put in place to prevent teams that didn’t win their own leagues from playing in the BCS title after the Nebraska fiasco of 2001. It just makes sense that only conference champions should have a shot at the title, and I can't believe how much time I have to spend convincing people of that.

5. Ditch the conference limit …
The rule of only two teams from the same league getting into the BCS is there to spread the wealth around, but if a BCS bowl wants Wisconsin or Arkansas (if it loses to Florida) because they might be the best available teams, they should be in. 

4. … and get rid of the special rules for Notre Dame and the little guys
Quit kissing up to Notre Dame. If they don’t like the rules that are in place for everyone else, too bad. What are they going to do, quit? If the BCS bowls don’t like the rules and need a way to get the cash-cow Irish into the mix, then too bad. The same goes for the mid-majors. Don’t like the term mid-major? Then prove you belong at the big boy table by earning your way in. Boise State did it this year by finishing in the top eight just like Utah showed a few years ago that it could get high enough up in the rankings to go to the Fiesta.

3. Top ten are in. Period. End of story.  
If you’re going to create a system to rank teams, and if you’re going to argue that whoever’s ranked one and two at the end of the year are the two best teams, then apply that logic to the entire system. Would the world be a lesser place if an ACC team didn’t get in this year? If Louisville loses to Connecticut and Rutgers loses to West Virginia, does any Big East team deserve a spotlight game? If you make the top ten, you should be in one of the top bowls.

2. Strength of schedule should mean everything 
It’s absolutely insane that this isn’t the number one deciding factor in the BCS formula. Outside of record, shedule is the one area that truly defines how good one team is compared to a team from another part of the world. Is it fair that Wake Forest, having played the nation’s 95th toughest schedule, could be in over a Florida team that played the nation’s hardest slate? Wisconsin is ranked seventh in the BCS helped immensely by the nation’s 85th toughest schedule, while Texas played the ninth toughest schedule and LSU the 15th.

1. Aw screw it. Give us a freakin’ playoff you doorknobs
Hey D-I presidents, the D-IAA minor leagues are mocking you by calling their playoff the NCAA D-I Championship. Somehow, some way, schools like Appalachian State, UMass and New Hampshire are still conducting classes, keeping the integrity of college football intact, and are functioning as living, breathing universities even though they settle it on the field in a 16-team tournament.

16 is way too many to get in, and I despise rematches, but there’s no sane, rational reason against finally giving everyone what they want. It remains the biggest mystery in all of sports
Three teams to watch out for in the bowl season …
1. TCU. There’s no hotter player in the country at the moment than QB Jeff Ballard. The defense is playing as well as it did earlier in the year when it shut down Texas Tech, while the running game has jelled into something special. It’s too bad it might not play anyone of note in the Poinsettia Bowl.  
2. Virginia Tech. The Hokie linebackers will either stuff the West Virginia running game or wreak havoc on the Texas backfield if, as expected, they get to go to the Gator Bowl.
3. Miami. The layoff will get the team healthier, and with the pressure off after the Coker firing, the team should finally play up to its talent level.

Provocative musings and tidbits to make every woman want you and every man want to be you (or vice versa)
- NC State had better go mega-star for its head coach. With Butch Davis going to North Carolina and Miami certain to be better with whatever A-list coach it gets, the Wolfpack can’t afford to go with an up-and-comer.
- Isn’t it convenient how it’s all about just getting the win now at Florida? Wasn’t Urban Meyer supposed to get the offense back to Spurrier levels right off the bat?
- Doug Flutie has been terrific so far as an analyst both in-studio and when he gets a chance in the booth. He’s able to explain trends and tendencies in games better than any of the coaches-turned-analysts outside of Bob Davie, and he's able to come across as a smart, knowledgeable player more than the other ex-jocks. The NFL booth will snap him up by next year.
- John David Booty looks like a beefed up Drew Rosenhaus.
- Dan Hawkins went 2-10 in his first year at Colorado. Dirk Koetter got canned after going 40-33 in six seasons at Arizona State. Chris Petersen is taking Boise State to its first ever BCS game. Just wanted to point that out.
- Larry Coker gets $2.5 million to go away. Let that sink in for a moment.
- Fine, so I was dead-wrong with my belief that Nevada was going to give Boise State a nasty time. I’m still sticking with my original call made weeks ago that UCLA, not Notre Dame, will be the bigger challenge for USC.

C.O.W. shameless gimmick item … The weekly five Overrated/Underrated aspects of the world
1) Overrated:
Staying on for the bowl game ... Underrated: Interim head coach
2) Overrated: Mark McGwire for the Hall of Fame … Underrated: "Needing more evidence"
3) Overrated: Throwing the ball when you’re trying to come back … Underrated: Darren McFadden and Felix Jones not getting the ball in their hands no matter where they are on the field and how much time is left in the game
4) Overrated: NIU  RB Garrett Wolfe’s 1,900 yards ... Underrated: Chadron State RB Danny Woodhea’s 2,740 yards
5) Overrated:
My goal of a washboard stomach in 2006 ... Underrated: The entire tray of my sister-in-law’s oatmeal chocolate chip bar of bliss
Sheer hubris run amok … The three lines this week that appear to be a tad off. .Can't get over .500. I will this week being 16-17 so far. Here’s the official kiss of death for three teams … 1) Colorado State -3 over Air Force, 2) West Virginia -8 over Rutgers, 3) Oregon State +8 at Hawaii

My Heisman ballot this week is … I haven’t turned it in yet: 1) Troy Smith QB Ohio State, 2) Darren McFadden RB Arkansas, 3) Colt Brennan QB Hawaii
Sorry this column sucked, but it wasn’t my fault … 
Despite offers from other places, I’m very happy doing my column at (take your pick of Arkansas, West Virginia, Rutgers, Tulsa, or Cincinnati) and plan on being here a long time. I’m happy here, my wife’s happy here, and I’m going out to recruit this weekend for more items for the column. It's full steam ahead ... wait, my agent’s on the line.  How fast can I get to Tempe?   

And finally, set the dial to poignant … Get better Johnny DuRocher. The Washington quarterback’s career is over after a golf ball sized tumor was discovered in his brain during a checkup following a concussion suffered in the Stanford game. In some ways, Johnny, consider yourself lucky. In 1990, doctors found my brain tumor after I hit the deck while playing a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles video game. Yes, you can go on with your life and do stuff like write columns full of pretentious drivel after having your head cut open. Good luck, and be happy it's 2006 and not 1956.