Friday, December 31, 2010

The traditionalists were right . . . it should be Wisconsin versus Oregon in the Rose Bowl

A couple funerals and other concerns, plus all the hectic life associated with Advent and Christmas slowed me down, but I was still able to publish the end of regular season/conference championship rankings. Just think, instead of suffering through meaningless ECU vs. MD or Baylor vs. IL or Toledo vs. FL International games, we could be in the final push of a national playoff. This weekend could be the Final Four of football, were it a 16 team tournament, with two really important games on New Year's Day; or, if it were a 32 team tournament, this New Year's Day could be full of 4 national quarterfinal games. Sadly, we get a watered-down, stretched out set of games that many no longer feel compelled to watch. I suppose, when the money dries up, the NCAA will get in line with the inevitable. Until then, we'll just have to dream about what could have been. . . . Now to the rankings:

1. Auburn (13-0) 15.85
2. TCU (12-0) 14.33
3. Oregon (12-0) 14.17
4. Boise State (12-1) 13.83
5. Oklahoma (11-2) 13.69
6. Ohio State (11-1) 13.67
7. Michigan St. (11-1) 13.42
8. Oklahoma St. (10-2) 13.00
9. Stanford (11-1) 12.75
10. Wisconsin (11-1) 12.58
11. Nevada (12-1) 12.54
12. Virginia Tech (11-2) 12.54
13. Arkansas (10-2) 12.50
14. LSU (10-2) 12.33
15. Utah (10-2) 11.50
16. Nebraska (10-3) 11.23
17. Florida St. (9-4) 11.15
18. Alabama (9-3) 10.58
19. South Carolina (9-4) 10.31
20. Central Florida (10-3) 10.08 (tie)
20. Missouri (10-2) 10.08 (tie)

Yes, according to this formula, TCU should be playing Auburn in the National Championship Game, with Auburn being a prohibitive favorite (at least, based on the numbers). Wisconsin and Oregon should be playing in the Rose Bowl. But a lot of teams got screwed by the current system, as evidenced by those teams in BCS games which are low down or not even on the list (UCONN should still be thanking Santa Claus that they are playing in the Big East).
Better still, imagine a 16 team playoff starting a couple weeks ago:

Nebraska (16) vs. Auburn (1)
Stanford (9) vs. Oklahoma State (8)
Virginia Tech (12) vs. Oklahoma (5)
Arkansas (13) vs. Boise State (4)
LSU (14) vs. Oregon (3)
Nevada (11) vs. Ohio State (6)
Wisconsin (10) vs. Michigan State (7)
Utah (15) vs. TCU (2)

with the winners of each pair of games facing off the next week. Certainly the first round game should be played at the home of the higher seed, but maybe the subsequent rounds could be played at neutral sites in better weather.

As to the gripe that it would dilute the regular season, would it really? Boise is punished for its slip. Nebraska goes from a "shoe-in" to a "by a nose qualifier" (or host in a 32 team tourney), and Oklahoma gets bumped up in ranking by virtue of its win to get an "easier" first round match up (just as South Carolina got knocked out by its second loss to Auburn in the SEC's championship game. Ohio State is rewarded for not playing a 1-AA team (and Michigan State is punished a little bit). Plus, it is open to everyone. 4 teams from non-traditional power conferences made it in. Want in? Play and beat good teams. Want a better seeding for the tourney? Play and beat better teams. Auburn is rewarded for winning a conference whose top teams play good teams. The same is said for Oklahoma (and even OK State). The ACC, Big 10, PAC-10, and Big East need to win those intersectional match-ups and quit playing so many 1-AA teams. Of course, AD's would have a choice: do I trade a chance at a better seed or a birth for an extra home game? Ah well, maybe next year . . . (and, yes, I think TCU may give Wisconsin a game. They are better by the numbers, and I don't think they will be startled by the stage, though with the hoopla surrounding the Rose Bowl, one never knows).


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