Big Lead Sports Bar


Mel Kiper, College Football Expert

One of these days, I'm finally going to activate the Sirius radio I got for Christmas last year. It only took me until this Thursday to make the trek to Best Buy to get it installed (hey, Mondesi is a busy guy!). When I got there, I was greeted by a tent village of video game nerds/entrepreneurs waiting to buy a Playstation 3 on Friday. Of course, the units are selling on ebay for $1200-$1600, so maybe they're smarter than all of us. But I digress...
I really wish I had been listening to Sirius instead of subjecting myself to the double segment of Mel Kiper on The Felix and Oscar (oops, I mean "Mike and Mike") show on ESPN Radio Friday morning. To describe what was running through my head after the Kiper bit, I can only quote Adam Sandler's teach in Billy Madison after an inane, rambling book report: "Everyone is now dumber for having heard that."
I've held back on my BCS thoughts, mainly because they've been so over-covered by every other sports program to this point (as if they don't cover the other things I usually write about). But I finally reached my boiling point on Friday.
The man who is praised for his inside and out knowledge of college football (such as his ranking of WR Mike Williams as the top player in the NFL draft last year), graced us with his thoughts on the state of the college football postseason.
My favorite Kiper comment on justifying the omission of Rutgers from the national championship: "If Rutgers were in the SEC, they would probably lose about 2-3 games."
No kidding? And if my aunt had a weiner, she'd be my uncle.
Kiper might be right. Rutgers might be 9-3 in the SEC. Of course, they might also go 12-0 in the SEC. But here's the neat thing: they're not in the SEC. They're in the Big East. And the last time I checked, the Big East was one of six conferences locked into at least one BCS berth. And college ADs from these conferences all signed off on this agreement.
The venom spewed upon Rutgers is not fair. If these coaches, ADs, and critics have a problem, they should look in the mirror. It is simply the program they agreed to playing out in front of them. The rules are the rules. If they don't make sense, then change the system. But in 2006, you play by the rules in place. So spare me the tears for Texas fans. Go back to losing to Kansas State and then re-organize your argument on how you're one of the top two teams in the country.
A few years ago, people complained about "the Tuck Rule" in the Raiders-Patriots playoff game. The refs made the right call, but it was a bad rule. The same intelligence should be applied here. If any team from a "Power Conference" (as per their inclusion) runs the table, they should have a shot to win the national title. Period.
The Big East bashing has reached record heights in the past few weeks. Yet a glance at the top 10 shows 3 Big East, 3 SEC, 2 Big 10, 1 Pac 10, and 1 Elitist Who Doesn't Have to Join a Conference. Not mentioned in the top 10 is the "always-better-than-the-Big East" conferenecs, the ACC and Big 12. But that's because their conferences are so strong, they always knock each other off, remember? That and the fact that the Big East totally dominated the ACC in head-to-head games this year. Remember Louisville over Miami, WVU over Maryland, Pitt over UVa, Rutgers over UNC? I'm sure you do, because I wrote about it on October 5. Re-reading that article, I can tell you that Kirk Herbstreit has since come around as a Big East fan, but many of his colleagues are still lagging far behind.
I'm always interested to hear the arguments for teams other than Rutgers to make the national championship game. For instance, I keep hearing the case for USC. Wait, is this the same USC that just lost to an unranked Oregon State? Thought so.
Then I hear "Notre Dame could sneak in..." Notre Dame's best wins are over a #18-ranked Georgia Tech and an unranked Penn State. They got absolutely waxed by Michigan, they should have lost to a 4-7 Michigan State team, and they barely survived against a 5-5 UCLA team. They have three games against service academies. I don't know what you see, but to me, that's not too impressive of a resume. And what, they're supposed to leapfrog the loser of OSU/Michigan? So if Michigan loses, they would be behind Notre Dame, who they crushed?
Or how about Arkansas, who opened the season by losing to the above mentioned USC, 50-14? But that was since forgotten, because in happened way back on September 2. And Florida, they're such a great team, they had to block three kicks to survive against 5-5 South Carolina at home?
Rutgers may not be a sexy pick, but they just beat the #3 team in the country, and have a pending meeting with another top-10 team on December 2. If no one had a problem placing Louisville or WVU in the national championship, why would they have one with Rutgers, who could potentially knock off both of them? As you can see, the argument over college football is like a dog chasing its frustrating.
What's really funny is that people love to see the underdog in college basketball (anyone remember George Mason? Anyone?), but on the other hand, will do anything in their power to diminish the accomplishments of a college football underdog. The country is acting like having Rutgers in the national championship would be some sort of American tragedy. Yet George Mason in the Final Four is celebrated ad nauseam for having knocked off Goliath after Goliath. Does this make a lick of sense to anyone? It's just a football game, people. It's not the end of the world. The sun will still rise the day after Rutgers would play in the national championship.
The root of the evil is the system in football. It has spoiled the Texases, the Penn States, the Notre Dames of the world, that get extra points on history alone with certain voters. That was another argument I've heard against Rutgers: "they just haven't been on the national scene long enough..." So I guess Greg Schiano will have to coach until he's 79 to get the respect his program deserves in 2006. Any sport that relies so much on the human element is seriously flawed. That would be like letting Peter King's Fine Fifteen dictate who would play in the Super Bowl. And I doubt Steeler fans would have agreed that Indianapolis would have made a better AFC representative.
The people who run college football are some of the worst on planet Earth. Collectively, they are possibly the biggest group of hypocrites gathered into one industry. Their arguments against a playoff have always been about "missing class time". So explain why they added another week to the season this year? Why do some conferences add a championship game onto that? Why can playoffs work on every other level of college football---do those players not go to class? What about March that a time when a lot of schoolwork is being done?
I'll give you the explanation for my questions: $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$.
The truth is that companies like Tostitos, Allstate, Toyota, Capital One, and Outback really control college football. Without the bowl season, where do all those sponsorship dollars go? Obviously, the powers that be haven't figured out a way to keep everyone happy. So be prepared to live with these inane arguments every week instead of actually playing the games people want to see. And to Rutgers, just keep winning. A bunch of angry New York/New Jersey fans and media will certainly help your cause to be noticed. In the meantime, I'll be busy activating my Sirius radio. I'll miss you, Mel.


Anonymous said...

Actually, you can still have up to a 16-team playoff AND keep all the bowl games as they are.

I actually thought it all out one day, but in a nutshell with little detail, have the playoff start the last week of November or first of December, and how far you make it in the playoffs determines which bowl game you play in. All teams that don't make the playoffs but are still decent, play in Car Quest Bowls and crap like that.

All teams that make the playoffs are guaranteed at least a New Years day or later bowl with the last two remaining teams going to the new BCS Championship game.

The teams that get eliminated later in the tourney will go to the more prestigious BCS Bowls (Orange, Fiesta, Rose, Sugar), while the ones that get knocked out in the first round go to the three other non-BCS New Years Day bowls (Cotton, Outback, Gator).

Also, try and abide by any traditional conference ties that these bowl games have.. but only if possible.

And starting the tourney in late-november would leave time for a week off in mid-December for finals.

Anonymous said...

enjoy the sirius.......the nfl channel is awesome......but youll be tired of listening to adam scheins voice on the afternoon blitz after about 5 minutes......

Anonymous said...

Great post! First, get that satelite installed so you don't have to suffer with Bert and Ernie. They are a joke and so is Mel Kiper. Historically he gets a few draft picks correct and he lives off that every year.

Until a playoff system is installed we'll continue to hear the arguement that Rutgers or Boise State don't belong. Louis Lipps is right. Pick 16 teams and turn the bowls into a week-by-week playoff system. The smaller bowls are used in the early rounds with the major bowls saved for the quaters,semis and finals. Those bowls not included would play the same role they do now and that is to fill a few hours of TV during the holidays.

But this sounds too logical and until the hipocritic college presidents change their minds it'll never happen. So don't look for any changes anytime soon.

Bic said...

People think that since Rutgers has never been good then they're never allowed to be good.

And I must say, this was a great post. I emailed this to my friends who are gonna have to eat their puke after they see those stats along with the schedules that the one loss teams play. A few of them are PSU fans and one is a Notre Damer.

Anonymous said...

Ooops, bad timing Mondesi ... Cincy 17, Rutgers 3, third quarter, and Teel just threw his third interception. Third that I've seen anyway.

mondesishouse said...

Rutgers may have embarrassed themselves, their fans, and the entire state of New Jersey tonight, but I stand by what I wrote. If a team is included in the Power Six conferences and goes undefeated, they deserve a title shot.

If anyone feels bad, it should be WVU, who I think will go on to beat Rutgers. If they don't suffer those injuries to Slaton and White in the 3rd quarter of the Louisville game, I think they're in the national championship, no questions asked.

Anonymous said...

An OSU - WVU match up in the title game would be great.

Doubtful they'll climb back up high enough to make it now though.

Too many poseur points going to place like ND & FL.

Anonymous said...

What I wrote had nothing to do with Rutgers and where they end up.

I still think that WVU is the best team in the Big East. Louisville got a few turnovers and beat them.

Regardless... there can be a playoff that still preserves the traditional bowl games.

Anonymous said...

Oh, I'm not disagreeing with your basic point, Mondesi. That was spot-on. I was merely pointing out the unfortunate timing of the diatribe for Rutgers. It was like the old S.I. jinx. Maybe it's the newe MondeS.I. jinx? :-)

Sean said...

The NCAA could definitely do a playoff system if they wanted to. Division II and Division III have a very nice system. They could shorten the regular season from 12 games (I know it will be tough for everyone not having the Florida-Western Carolina game) and do what Louis Lipps wrote.

I'd love to see a WVU-OSU title game but it looks like more people (pollsters) want to see Michigan play OSU again.

Anonymous said...

I'd have no problem with that. It was a damn good football game, worthy of a championship game. In fact, during the game I was asking people, If Michigan loses close here -- say, 3 or less -- what earthly rationale could you provide for dropping them in the polls? If you lose close to No. 1 in any sport, why should you be punished for it? Logically, you're SUPPOSED to lose to No. 1, aren't you? And really you can extend that to any team losing to a team ranked above it. Why should you be punished for losing to a team you're SUPPOSED to lose to, as long as you make it competitive? Now I can see dropping the WINNING team if it looks lethargic against a lesser opponent.

What I can't see is the infatuation with Notre Dame and its Little Sisters of the Poor schedule. I don't root much generally, but I will enjoy seeing Southern Cal kick the crap out of the Irish.

Anonymous said...

I agree with everything except your inclusion of Penn State on the list of teams that are spoiled. That's highly inaccurate, considering that PSU has had four teams go undefeated and not win the national championship, because the voters preferred someone else.

Jules said...

Yes, everyone would surely enjoy watching a Big East team get worked in the title game. There is not one team in the Big East that could compete in the title game. Everyone beats up on the out of conference schedules of other one loss teams. Every Big East gae is nothing but a shoot out.

Anonymous said...

Penn Stae didn't get those four national titles because the WHOLE COUNTRY hates Penn State, not just Pitt Whaaaaaaaa we didn't win four national titles because nonbody voted for us. WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH