Sunday, January 24, 2010

The best quotes of Bill Hancock & @insidethebcs

Below is a summary of the some of the best quotes, I have gathered from either Bill Hancock (Executive Director, BCS), Ari Fleischer (former Bush press sec. and PR spin guru hired by the BCS), the BCS's social media outreach sites ( and, and other BCS related entities (president of the Orange Bowl, etc.)

Bill Hancock
1)  Dan Patrick Radio Show - 11/20/09 - - There will be multiple quotes from this interview and times in ()'s are where the quotes can be found in the downloaded mp3 file

a)  "College Football wins in 6 overtimes, uh, you know they have to go for 2 after five."  (1:05 - 1:15)
--Bill Hancock does not even know the rules of the sport he oversees the "championship" for.  After 2 overtimes (i.e. beginning with the 3rd overtime possession) teams must attempt the 2 point conversion and are not allowed to kick the extra point.

b)  "We were in Miami for a game, and a Virginia Tech player injured his ankle riding a jetski.  And at the same time we were there an NFL team came into play a playoff game. And they arrived on Saturday night, got there at about 8 o'clock, had their dinner, got up the next morning, had the pregame meal, went to the stadium and then flew home.  Here we've got college students at the beach for a week, riding jetskis in our bowl system; on the other hand, we've got these NFL athletes who are there for 11 hours, playing the game, and then going home.  Our experience for the young people playing college football, is much better." (2:15-2:55)
--Playoffs would eliminate the possibility of jetski injuries, a bowl game tradition. Thus, we can not have playoffs because jetski injuries would cease to exist.

c)  "If you think the BCS is controversial, wait til you get a playoff. It'll be even more contentious." (5:45 - 5:51)
--Playoffs would have even more controversy than the BCS. Hmm...Under the BCS during the last 6 years (2004-09), there have been more undefeated non-champions (5), than champions (3).  Yet that controversy pales in comparison to a system which would end with AT MOST 1 undefeated team.  Perhaps he ought to take at look at this page

d)  "I love the dialogue, We love talking about this."  (11:03-11:06)
--Hmm..I would have never guessed that from their dismissive quotes and the fact that they routinely cite articles & journalists in their favor that criticize the BCS system in their own articles.


a)  "The BCS is fair," Hancock said. "People call it criminal, a cartel and unfair, and the fact is, it’s not. It’s fair."
--Over the past 11 years, Baylor (0 bowls) has earned more BCS revenue than TCU (10 bowls).  Fair.
--Oklahoma got selected over Texas to play in the 2009 BCS Title game despite the fact that they have the same # of losses and lost to Texas during the regular season.  Fair.
--Nebraska is selected to play in the 2002 BCS Title game with a ranking of #4 in both human polls (AP and Coaches), after not winning it's own conference, and losing its final game of the regular season by 26 points. Fair.
--Oklahoma gets selected to play in the 2004 BCS Title game with a ranking of #3 in both human polls and  after not winning its own conference and losing its final regular season game by 28 points.  Fair.

b) “A result of the playoff would be more injuries, more Wes Welkers happening in college football,” Hancock said “It would happen. Imagine if a Wes Welker happened to Kellen Moore or Mark Ingram or Colt McCoy. Imagine where we would be. The best team in that case would not win..."
--Since Colt McCoy did in fact get injured in a BCS Game, that should pretty much lay to rest the insane idea that playoffs would make college football worse because of a greater potential for injuries.  Also, he seems to imply that Texas really was the better team since they lost Colt McCoy and lost the game.  Finally, it shows a contradiction in Hancock's thinking regarding playoffs & injuries.  On the one hand, he argues repeatedly that with a playoff system, teams will rest starters and possibly lose late season games which have no effect on their playoff status to lessen the chance of injuries, similar to what the Colts did against the Jets (Note: Ignore for now the fact that this would never happen in NCAA CFB for a variety of reasons).  However, on the other hand, he argues that a playoff system would create more chances for injuries due to the increased games.  So which is it Bill?

c) "Conflicts with final exams, it’s a real deal."
--Has anyone seen BH crused against ending the Div 1-FCS, Div 2 or Div 3 football playoffs becaues they conflict with final exams in a single article, interview, radio appearance or press conference?  Or him arguing to move the starting date of bowl games further back to avoid conflict with final exams? Here are the Final Exam dates for teams that played in pre-Christmas bowl games.

New Mexico Bowl - 12/19/09
Fresno State - 12/14-12/17
Wyoming - 12/7-12/11

St. Petersburg Bowl - 12/19/09
Rutgers - 12/16-12/23
UCF - 12/8-12/14

New Orleans Bowl - 12/20/09
Middle Tennesse State - 12/11-12/17
Southern Miss - 12/7-12/10

Las Vegas Bowl - 12/22/09
Oregon State - 12/7-12/11
BYU - 12/14-12/18

Pointsettia Bowl - 12/23/09
Utah - 12/14-12/18
Cal - 12/12-12/19

Aloha Bowl - 12/24/09
SMU - 12/11-12/17
Nevada - 12/10-12/16

So of the 6 pre-Christmas bowl games, one could make a reasonable argument that 4-6 teams (Rutgers, Fresno State, Middle Tennessee, BYU, Utah, Cal) had practice times affected by Finals---i.e. had 4 days or less from the end of finals until the day of the game.  Bill Hancock appears to be fine with  4-6 out of 12 teams having their practice schedules/Final Exam study time compromised.  Yet, he has major problems with the exact same scenario (4-6 out of 8-12 teams) happening if the games were part of a playoff. 


a)  "I don't want to be critical, but if the conferences and the universities had created a voice 12 years ago when this started, I think the arrangement would be better received today. Because I think we were silent for so long that the critics scored a lot of points because we were just on the sidelines."
--Ah, now I get it.  The only reason people don't like the BCS system is because there has not been a paid PR mouthpiece to advocate for its propaganda until now.  I actually wish BH had been around back in 2001 or 2003 to hear him explain how Big-12 teams who lose their final games 20+ points deserve to play for the BCS Title Game.

b) Hancock listened patiently as a counterargument was posed. Then he smiled.
--This isn't an actual quote, but I find it funny that after listening to an argument against the BCS, Hancock doesn't actually respond or refute the argument.  He just smiles, as if his warm smile will melt even the coldest hearts of those mean-spirited, uninformed, playoff supporters.

4)  Mayhem in the AM Radio Show - 11/25/09 -

a)  "We absolutely know that there are some people who don't understand it and therefore, don't care much  for it."   (0:20 - 0:26)
--Got that?  The 63% of sports fans who want a playoff are just ignorant morons who don't like the BCS because they don't understand how a team can make the BCS Title game after losing their final game by over 20+ points (Nebraska 01, Oklahoma 03) or how a team doesn't get a chance to play for a National Title after going undefeated and beating 2 conf. champions (Boise 09). 

b)  "The fact is, it is fair."  (0:44-0:47)
--See my argument above, section 2(a)

c)  "We're absolutely taking suggestions. I love to listen, I love to talk about this."  (1:27-1:32)
--I believe statements like this are what acronyms like LOL and ROFLMAO were created for. Also, I will have a separate post coming up on questions that I have asked @insidethebcs which they have not responded to in any way.

d)  "I say which 8 teams this week would you put in the playoff?  when would they play? where would they play? It sounds great on paper, but the fact is that putting it into reality is very difficult" (2:38 - 2:50)

Which 8 teams?    
When would they play?   
Where would they play?
End date of Final Exams
1-Alabama vs 8-Georgia Tech
12/19/2009 - 8PM
Tuscaloosa, AL
2-Texas vs 7-Ohio State
12/19/2009 - 4:30 PM
Austin, TX
3-Cincinnati vs 6-Oregon
12/19/2009 - 1:00 PM
Cincinnati, OH
4-TCU vs 5-Boise State
12/20/2009 - 8PM
Fort Worth, TX

Whew.  That was difficult.  Only took me 15 minutes.  Note that only 3 of the 8 teams would have 4 days or less from the end of Final Exams as compared to 4 of the 8 teams in the first 4 bowl games played this year--including Rutgers who played their bowl game in the middle of Final Exams. 

e)  "You know I like the plus one personally, that's a 4-team playoff obviously.  The problem you have with it is the concert that it wouldn't stay at four.  Every bracket has increased; we call it 'Bracket Creep'.  You know, look at the NCAA Basketball tournament, which I used to manage of course, and I loved it.  But the fact is, bracket creep would happen.  It would start at four, then it would go to eight, then sixteen, then who knows what and then, what happens to the regular season. (8:46-9:14)
--So BH admits that he actually favors a playoff system to the current BCS model; he's just scared of it growing in size and thus, has resorted to the slippery slope fallacy.

More updates to come with quotes by Ari Fleischer and others...

Friday, January 1, 2010

An 8 team BCS Playoff Solution

Here is my solution for an 8 team CFB Playoff which would be far superior to the current BCS system.

8 teams - 6 AQ conf champs* & 2 at-large. Any undefeated team gets an automatic bid and if there are more than 2 from any conference they would bump a conference champ out if they are ranked higher than the conference champ who is not undefeated, starting w/ lowest BCS ranking first. For example, this year the 6 teams would be UF/ALA; UT; Cinn/Pitt; OSU; Oregon/OSU; GT/CLEM and TCU, Boise State (as of 12/2/09). However, if there happened to be a third undefeated team from any conference (AQ or not) they would get an automatic berth over the lowest ranked AQ conf champ (i.e. GT/Clemson most likely) IF and ONLY IF they (3rd UND team) were ranked ahead of them in the BCS. If there are no undefeated teams who are not a conference champ, then the 2 at-large bids would go to 2 highest ranked non-conference champ teams regardless of conference affiliation. There would be no limit on the # of teams a particular conference could get.

*The reason I would still give automatic bids to the conference champs of the 6 AQ conferences (SEC, Pac-10, Big 10, Big 12, Big East, ACC) is because I am a realist. I understand that getting those big conferences to go along with a new system where they aren't guaranteed to make 85% of postseason money (link here) will be nearly impossible. If I was starting from scratch, I would probably choose BCS Top-8, but unfortunately we aren't starting from scratch. Also, tying bids to conference championships does add some significance to winning a conference which is a good thing.

The 1st 2 rounds are played at the higher seeds stadium. All games would be played out in both directions (both winners and losers bracket). Thus, 4 games played on 12/12 (1v8, 2v7, 3v6, 4v5). 4 games (semi's in winners and losers brackets) played on 12/19. Then the final 4 games which would be 1v2, 3v4, 5v6, 7v8 (not in terms of seeding but in terms of final ranking spots) would be played on 1/1-1/7, as is currently done, and those 4 games would be the Rose, Fiesta, Sugar, and Orange bowls which would rotate every year. One would be designated as the National Championship Game (1v2) just like USC-Texas played in "Rose Bowl" in 2006. In addition, you would keep 25-30 other bowls to be held throughout December and January for 50-60 other teams to play in, as is currently the case. Thus, the following problems are solved

1) How do you choose teams? - conference champions (6 spots) & BCS rankings (remaining 2 spots)

2) Where do you play the games? - home sites for first 2 rounds, traditional locations (Miami, Pasadena, New Orleans, Glendale) for final round

3) How do you keep the tradition of the bowls alive? - Already done. All-non BCS bowl games still exist. The only bowl game which would technically be eliminated is the "BCS Title Game" which only came into existence 2 years ago as a separate bowl game whereas previously it was the same as the Orange/Fiesta/Sugar/Rose Bowl.

4) How do you keep bowls for smaller programs that have no chance of making a BCS bowl? Already answered in #3. Non-BCS bowls would still exist in current form and be available to non-conference champs.

I will be providing more details and FAQ regarding my proposal on the blog here.

Why the INDY scenario isn't valid for College Football

A lot of people have pointed to what happened in last weekend's Ind-NY Jets game as an example of how playoffs would ruin the NCAA FBS regular season.  Since INDY rested its starters in a game it clearly could have won, this proved that if FBS instituted a playoff, the regular season would end up with meaningless games in which teams rest their starters once their playoff status is determined.  Here are several reasons why this is a terrible analogy and can't happen in CFB.

1) In CFB you have 120 teams fighting for 8/12/16 playoff spots, whereas in the NFL it is 16 teams for 6 playoff spots in each conference. Thus, 1 loss means a whole lot more in CFB than it does in the NFL---thus, the reason why the regular season in CFB is currently so important (perhaps too important but that is another discussion for another day) and would continue to stay important. The sheer # of teams involved (37.5% make playoffs in NFC & AFC, compared to 6.6- 13.3% in CFB) makes the NFL comparison incorrect.

2) Also the NFL has 2 different playoff brackets (due to 2 different conferences) whereas CFB would have 1. Thus, it would be much harder to clinch a #1 or #2 seed in CFB than in the NFL. In other words, if the NFL had 1 large bracket with all 12 playoff teams or the Super Bowl home field advantage was determined by team record (as is case with NHL & NBA), then the Colts would have had less of an incentive to sit their starters. Also related to this is the fact that it is impossible to clinch a #1 seed in CFB because there are so many teams with similar records. The Colts had a 3 game lead with 2 to play. This does not happen in CFB. There are too many teams with similar records (for example, this year alone 5 undefeated teams) and thus, it is impossible to clinch the #1 seed. Thus, the Indy scenario would not happen

3) Third, this again relates to the above points, but losing a game in the final weeks--even if it did not affect one’s playoff qualification status because they had already won their conference (Ohio State) or secured a spot in the conference championship game (ALA-UF)—would undoubtedly affect the seeding. For example, under Dan Wetzel’s plan Ohio State would get the #8 seed and host their first round game. If they rested their starters against Michigan and lost, they would probably drop to a #11/12 seed and would not host a game at any point in the playoffs.

Or look at Alabama. If they lost their last game against Auburn they still would have played in the SEC title game. Now, if they lost that game, then they probably would not have made an 8 team playoff—at least this year with 5 undefeated teams. They still would have made a 16 team playoff, but with 2 losses they would have been seeded much lower than with only 1 loss to the #1 team in nation. Thus, they would not have had as much home-field advantage (only 1 round or 2 depending on 8/16 team playoff) as they would have had they beaten Auburn. If they won SEC title game, they would have received an automatic berth, but they would not have been seeded #1 and quite possibly would have been #3 or #4. This again would result in fewer home playoff games (depending on 8/16 team) and thus, losing the Auburn game would not be “meaningless”.

4) Teams would never, EVER sit starters against a rival and risk losing a game even if their playoff status was known. Rivalry games are so important and a playoff would not diminish these. If you need proof regarding the increased importance of rivalry games over general winning, see John Cooper. Also, the reason that rivalry games are so important is because the vast majority of them only happen once in a year unlike the NFL where most of them happen twice (Skins-Cowboys, Bears-Packers, Steelers-Ravens, etc.)---they could happen twice a year in conferences that host a championship game (ACC, SEC, etc.) but most of the important rivalries are in the same division anyways (Texas-Oklahoma, Auburn-Alabama, etc.)

So to summarize (yes I know that is not possible at this point), the INDY scenario is not applicable to CFB due to several factors (# of teams, scarcity of playoff spots, seeding & home field advantage, 1 bracket vs 2) and it's time for people to stop claiming that what INDY did would never happen in CFB.