published Wednesday, June 27th, 2012

5-at-10: BCS replaced with half a solution

We're going to be in and out this afternoon so play nice. And gang, we have a few open spots for Friday's mailbag and the contest deadline is tomorrow. We're dealing with a lot of stuff.

From the "Talks Too Much" Studios, here we go...

Yeah, a playoff... Stink

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    In this Jan. 9, 2012, file photo, the Coaches' Trophy is displayed before the BCS National Championship game between the LSU and Alabama in New Orleans. College football will finally have a playoff. Come 2014, the BCS is dead. A committee of university presidents on Tuesday, June 26, 2012, approved the BCS commissioners' plan for a four-team playoff to start in the 2014 season.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

The group of college presidents approved the four-team playoff model. It will take affect in 2014 and there was mention of a 12-year commitment to this plan.

We all wanted a playoff, yet this feels so anti-climatic, so disappointing. It's like opening a sweater on Christmas. Sure it's a sweater and the thought was nice and appropriate, but where's the X-Box games or the pitching wedge.

College football fans opened a gift with the announcement of a four-team playoff on the horizon, but that gift four was teams too small. And 12 years? 12 years? Sweet buckets, three presidential terms of this.

Deep breaths, deep breaths... and it is fair to ask that if you wanted a playoff and you're now unhappy with a playoff after about 14 hours after said-playoff was announced then there's no pleasing you. Well, it would be fair to ask that, but it would be wrong.

This is the lords of college football's manor giving the starving serfdom of fanhood a scrap from their table and expecting glorious applause of gratitude for their generosity. This is the worst type of plan; it's doomed two years before it starts. And it quite possibly could do what, until this very moment, was deemed unthinkable — there's a very real possibility that a four-team playoff could make fans long for the good-old days of the BCS.

Don't think so? OK, play out last year's scenario: The four-teams that would have been in the field after the end of the regular season were LSU, Alabama, Oklahoma State and Oregon. That's no Wisconsin and Stanford, which is not a good start. Now what if Boise had not missed a 35-yard field goal in a one-point loss to TCU. And what if Georgia had not dropped a half-dozen passes — including a couple of for-sure TDs throws that could have meant a two- or three-TD lead — in the first half of the SEC title game.

If just those two things had not happened, who was your four? Oklahoma State, Oregon, Boise State and ....Alabama?

“It won’t be easy to pick those four teams,” said ACC commissioner John Swofford, a playoff supporter. “There may be some years where it’s really clear, but more often than not if you’re fifth or sixth, you’re going to wonder, ‘Maybe I should have been there.’”

And this is a crafter of the plan second-guessing the plan the day the plan was to be hailed as the plan of all plans. Well the stuff has hit the plan.

Granted there still are semantics to be determined. There were no announcements about the selection committee, which must be as open as a love-stricken teenager's wallet.

And the biggest shock is not the four-team format as much as the 12-year commitment.

There are three things we have said and believed from the very beginning. This can not damage the integrity of the regular season, this has to be an eight-team field, and this has nothing to do with fairness or fans and everything to do with finances.

And while we expected the power brokers of college football to disregard or be indifferent to the first two, we banked on the last sentence as the great equalizer between the wants of the haves and have nots and between the powerful and the passionate.

But 12 years? Most of the marriages that end in divorce don't last that long.

We knew the currents were blowing to a four-team field, and believed that a four-team field for three years — and with a $500 million per year TV price —would allow the big wigs to see the big checks that were out there. Then the escalation to eight teams and a $1 billion — yes, billion with a 'B' — deal would be there for the taking.

Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany told reporters this was “the best new property to come on to the sports marketplace maybe in our lifetime.”

He's right, and it's still only half as good as what could have been.

More from Delany of the playoff: “There will be a period of time of celebration. We were probably the last defenders of the BCS, and we’ll be the first defenders of this. We’ll be the last off the wagon on it too. We won’t be calling for eight. We’ll be defending four.”

Of course you will because you are the puppets of the powerful. And if you don't believe so, how can you justify being defensive of your plan on the first day of the "time of celebration?"

The four-team playoff is better than the BCS. It's just not as good as the best sport in the country deserves. And it sadly appears it will be 12 years before it can be fixed.

NBA draft

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    In this March 31, 2012 file photo, Kentucky forward Anthony Davis (23) reacts during the second half of an NCAA Final Four semifinal college basketball tournament game against Louisville, in New Orleans. Davis is a possible pick in the NBA Draft on Jan. 28.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

We love the draft. You know this.

OK, now that we got that out of the way, we need to move quickly this morning, so here's where we are with our draft stuff.

The contest (pick who you think will be the No. 2 pick/the number of SEC players picked/the Hawks's first pick/and who has the most "impactful" suit) is in full swing. We updated it some yesterday and have some more for later this afternoon.

Let's spin sideways on the NBA draft.

Who are the best five players from this draft five years from now?

Anthony Davis is a hoss. We think Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is going to be star in the right situation (dude is not a lead dog, but he could be the best wingman since Maverick in the final scenes of "Top Gun"). Brandon Beal is going to score a ton — TON — of points in the league.

From there, it's dicey. We love Thomas Robinson's effort, but high-energy interior guys in college can struggle in the show. And he is just one of a slew of guys that appear to be in the "Scared" category — that is GMs are scared to take them and scared not to.

When this draft gets reshuffled five years from now, we think A-Davis, MKG, Beal, Jeremy Lamb and Austin Rivers would rank as the top names on the board.

Kenseth takes his steering wheel and drives

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    This April 14, 2012 file photo shows Matt Kenseth before the NASCAR Sprint Cup Samsung 500 race at Texas Motor Speedway in Ft. Worth, Tx. NASCAR points leader Kenseth is leaving Roush Fenway Racing at the end of the season, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr. will be promoted to his seat in the Sprint Cup Series.
    Photo by Associated Press /Chattanooga Times Free Press.

Matt Kenseth is leading the points standing. It seems to be as stable a team as there is in NASCAR.

Seems to be some disconnect between appearances and application, no?

Kenseth announced he would be leaving Roush Racing at season's end. This actually gives NASCAR a little bit more of a professional sports feel. This is free agency, it happens in every big time sport (even college football, where transferring is as commonplace as khaki pants and New Balance sneakers at the fraternity get together).

It's the way of sports. Now the timing of said announcement is poor, and this will be a learning curve for the NASCAR folks moving into the spotlight: Take care of the BID-ness on the track from February to November; take care of the off-track BID-ness after the season.

And who knows where Kenseth is heading (hmmmm, is that Joe Gibbs smiling back there?), if we're a Dale Jr. fan, we're happy with the unrest atop the points standing.

This and that

— If you check back to Tuesday's 5-at-10, we predicted that Braves catcher Brian McCann was about to go on a tear from now until the All-Star break. He started the Braves' season-long, 10-game homestand Tuesday with two hits and two RBIs in five at-bats in an 8-1 win over Arizona. Buckle up.

— Want another reason to love Anthony Davis? Dude is embracing his unibrow. In an era of hyper-self-consciousness and insecurity, what a great example for kids everywhere. "It makes me different," Davis said recently. And different is cool.

— USA Today is reporting that former Georgia All-American David Pollack will be working the booth during ESPN's Thursday night college football broadcasts. Good luck, David. We can remember covering him in the Georgia state football playoffs. Dude was a nasty fullback back in the day. And sweet buckets, the high school studs that were his age in Gwinnett County back then: McCann, Pollack, David Greene, Jeff Francoeur just to name a few.

Today's question(s)

Poll
Are you happy with the new college football playoff?

The four-team playoff system... friend or foe?

What was your first reaction and what was your reaction this morning? Was there buyer's remorse or subdued satisfaction or thrilled excitement?

The selection committee and the process of picking the four teams could still be a plus to this system, but who knows?

We still think it was only half what was needed. Or to put it another way, if you had a chance to save the entire world and only saved half of it would you be a hero or a mass murderer? (Sounds like Jack Bauer better be on the selection committee by golly.)

about Jay Greeson...

Jay was named the Sports Editor of the Times Free Press in 2003 and started with the newspaper in May 2002 as the Deputy Sports Editor. He was born and raised in Smyrna, Ga., and graduated from Auburn University before starting his newspaper career in 1997 with the Newnan (Ga.) Times Herald. Stops in Clayton and Henry counties in Georgia and two years as the Sports Editor of the Marietta (Ga.) Daily Journal preceded Jay’s ...

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Comments do not represent the opinions of the Chattanooga Times Free Press, nor does it review every comment. Profanities, slurs and libelous remarks are prohibited. For more information you can view our Terms & Conditions and/or Ethics policy.
chas9 said...

5 ball, corner pocket--Yeah, this playoff gets curiouser and curiouser. How in the name of Rosie's beauty products are they gonna pick the four? Those college presidents can't handle the truth. I predict the four teamer won't last 12 years. Or even 6.

I like your prediction of who the best pros from this draft will be in 5 years. No love for Barnes?

Fear the copyrighted brow!

And Jay Bilas says "But the idea that somehow [Coach Calipari] does a better job developing pros is absurd."

June 27, 2012 at 11:22 a.m.
jgreeson said...

9er —

Here's saying there is some sort of out clause in the 12-year TV deal after four years. Has to be. There is too much money at stake and it's not like university presidents are not smart and stuff.

Before the start of the season we thought Barnes was money. But dude disappeared in big moments and the fact that Kendall Marshall was UNC's most valuable player says alot about Barnes as a potential alpha dog.

We love Bilas and can see what he's saying as long as he prefaced it with, Coach Cal is far and way the best at evaluating and recruiting potential pros.

— 5-at-10

June 27, 2012 at 11:29 a.m.
deboman said...

I saw the info on the 4 team playoff and just shook my head. There is no way that this system will survive that long without, well… just about everyone, finding a reason to expand, complain, or whine. Heck (said with an eye on the Family friendly environment that is the 5 @ 10) the FCS playoffs have expanded from 16 to 20 teams just few seasons ago and are poised to jump to 24. Not saying FBS (I see another name change coming) needs to go that far, but 8 is probably a better number to sell to everyone: You have good representation without the field being too watered down. I just have this picture of the committee coming out from behind their door and saying- ‘Sorry, no changes, it says 12 years- Right Here!!!’(insert heavy finger waiving at agreement) Then closing the door behind them and having a room full of old guys swimming in pools of coins and bills like a cheesy rap video. The rich get richer and they’ll learn us to doubt there system .

June 27, 2012 at 12:40 p.m.
Stewwie said...

The 4-team playoff is a step in the right direction, of course. But it will take another season like 2004 or 2009 to put the heat back on the presidents to make another change to this system fast. And yes, I also hope there is some kind of escape clause after 4 years or so.

Jay, if a 4-team playoff were implemented in 2004 and 2009, who gets in and why?

June 27, 2012 at 12:42 p.m.
BIspy4 said...

Can we have a third choice for the poll ... noncommittal?

Look, you know I love college football, 5. Love it, love it, love it. I love sneaking in a half dozen airplane bottles of my favorite beverage to mix in with the overpriced stadium Co-coler. I love trying to call plays along with the coach (depending on the coach, I can ... and have). From nosebleed seats to private boxes two doors down from the university president and a U.S. senator and a member of REM is where I've been for games.

But all the playoff/bowl/bowl/playoff palaver just ... bores me. I just want to watch games. As flawed as the BCS is/was, how many teams in those years can really say they coulda been a contender for the title game but didn't make it in? Two? Three? There could have been a playoff system in place years ago, but apparently the bowl system was too strong to break. I think that has eroded, anywhere from a little to greatly, depending on the bowl (of which there are too many, but that's another argument for another day).

Let's just pick a system, stick with it and shut up.

June 27, 2012 at 1:08 p.m.
Todd962 said...

I have mixed feelings but I think this new playoff system is very Rolling Stones -esque. "When I'm watchin' my TV, and that man comes on to tell me, how my football playoffs should be, but he cant be a man cause he wont let me vote, or even let us see. I can't get no satisfaction." I dont like the fact that there will likely be a closed door policy on how the four teams are selected. I completely agree with the notion that they should extort that process for more money, which they love to do (Insert video of Scrooge McDuck doing his daily dive and swim in gold. Thank you Debo.), by just televising it and allowing the world to see how they get around to choosing. Open door, complete transparency. What do they have to hide, unless they've got some under the table transactions they dont want to come to light...

"You cant always get what you want (as the back up singers chant "8 teams"), but if you try sometimes well you just might find, you get what you need(cue backup girls "Anything beats the dang BCS") Its a good start and there will definitely have to be some changes with whatever they implement. But for the big picture, we are headed in the right direction.

And finally, "Wild horses couldnt drag me away..." Oh they've got us, and we know it. We're going to watch no matter what they decide. We're under their thumb.

June 27, 2012 at 2:06 p.m.

I'm with Todd and 8 teams. 6 of the major conference champions and 2 at large (each should be ranked in the final Top 12). The at large teams are seeded 7th and 8th as conference champions matter. Please end the season and playoffs by January 1.

June 27, 2012 at 2:14 p.m.
Todd962 said...

Or we could expand to a 68 team playoff like basketball, have a 6 game regular season and then start playoffs. Conference champions, the top 25 from the AP, the top 10 FCS teams, the Raiders, and the Dillon Panthers. It'd be awesome. Ok, I'll set the bottle down now...

June 27, 2012 at 2:23 p.m.
chas9 said...

962--I was reminded of McDuck, too. I'm too old for the rapper videos to resonate.

Because I was away from the computer travelling yesterday, I have a late response or two. The Hawks draft analysis by Jay and Stew was helpful. Thanks. And I appreciate the well-deserved attention to Phoebe Wright. Howard Cosell should have his number retired. There'll never be his equal again. Celebrity matchup I'd like to see: Wonder Woman vs. Zena, Warrior Princess. Winner takes on Esther Rolle (JJ's mama Florida).

June 27, 2012 at 2:41 p.m.
deboman said...

8 teams would produce a quality field of teams. Like the idea of Conf Champs + two 'Hey we're too good to be left out' teams. Plus, the tourney could be run after exams so the academics could be out of the mix with the focus on football. My question is...How long will it be before someone steps up and tells Notre Dame they are no more special than anyone else, join a conference and fall in line. I know they won't do it until their current TV deal is finished, but really, do they deserve to be at the table negotiating with the power conferences?

And I would take Florida Evans in a match against both Zena and Wonder Woman. And it wouldn't be pretty.

June 27, 2012 at 3:36 p.m.
memphisexile said...

I feel like 4 is a good number. If you can't be considered one of the top 4 teams then I don't think you deserve to be in. Will there be controversy? Of course! That is half the fun. However, no matter how many teams you have, someone will always complain. You have schools complain during basketball and they let in 68 teams! 68!!! Would that 69th team really add anything? No. I agree with the folks that decided on 4 because I would rather leave out one team that may be deserving than have 8 teams every year with maybe only 3-5 of them being deserving. The only reason we need this playoff is to fix the rare situation where you have 3 undefeated teams (like Auburn that one year) or only 1 undefeated team and the championship game participant is decided by WHEN a team lost and nothing else. I feel like this keeps the season meaningful, and forces some of these big boy teams to play quality opponents. LSU and Alabama have been stepping up lately in this regard, time for everyone else too.

June 27, 2012 at 4:50 p.m.
sportsfan said...

For the Friday mailbag (if it's not too late). What's the wildest thing you ever personally witnessed at a sports event? Two mommas fighting at a little league game? A hail Mary half court shot to win a high school basketball game? 40 point underdog winning a college football game?

June 27, 2012 at 6:02 p.m.
jgreeson said...

You guys were great today, and there is one thing above else that we must say...

Florida Evans would DE-stroy all comers, and Deboman is spot-on — it would not be pretty. At all.

— 5-at-10

June 27, 2012 at 7:45 p.m.
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