Sports Outside the Beltway

SEC Too Good For Ohio State?

AP sportswriter Ben Walker penned this lede to his piece on last night’s BCS Championship game in which the Florida Gators whooped the Ohio State Buckeyes:

Turns out Florida was too good to be on the same field as Ohio State, and that Heisman Trophy winner Troy Smith and the Buckeyes were the ones who weren’t worthy after all.

Coach Urban Meyer’s once-beaten Gators dominated the undefeated No. 1 Buckeyes and streaked to college football’s national championship, 41-14 on Monday night.

“Honestly, we’ve played a lot better teams than them,” Florida defensive end Jarvis Moss said. “I could name four or five teams in the SEC that could probably compete with them and play the same type of game we did against them.”

Honestly, I think that’s right. That’s why the simple counting of wins and losses is a silly way to pick national title contenders in Division I. The idea that Boise State, which played a schedule filled with teams that probably couldn’t beat Florida’s high school championship team, is better than teams with even three or four losses in the SEC or ACC, is a joke. LSU, Auburn, Georgia, Arkansas, and Tennessee probably all could have beaten Ohio State last night.

Of course, that’s why we need a playoff system rather than a beauty contest.

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We’ll never know if Boise State is good enough to beat those four loss SEC teams, because we don’t have a playoff. I agree that they probably aren’t good enough, but you never know – they might be. Since they’ve never played a team like that, we are just not going to have a clue if Boise could beat Florida.

Posted by Brandon Minich | January 9, 2007 | 09:17 am | Permalink

True. Then again, a team from an inferior conference won’t get into an 8 team playoff, either. The only way to have a Boise State deserve a shot is to have a huge playoff field, which isn’t going to happen given the logistics.

I actually think Division I-A needs to contract, with only maybe 32 teams that are historic contenders. And they shouldn’t be allowed to schedule games with teams outside that structure. It’s just nonsense for big time teams to be allowed to schedule patsies.

And, I’m sorry, if you want to play for a national championship, go to a major program. You can’t go to the Super Bowl no matter how much your team dominates the Arena League.

Posted by James Joyner | January 9, 2007 | 09:26 am | Permalink

A playoff system would be nice, but there are too many interests vested in the current way of doing business. Until fans stop watching or sponsors stop supporting the Bowls, nothing will change. They control the system. And I don’t see fans not watching and I don’t see sponsors not sponsoring. So as Bill Belichick famously remarks, “It is what it is.” This might morph into a full post.

Posted by Ennuipundit | January 9, 2007 | 09:29 am | Permalink

James, I think a sixteen team tourney is feasible. Saturday opening round games before the January 1 traditional Bowl Games. Then round of eight a week later. Then semis and the final in the following weeks.

My ideal conception of a tournament would be the major conferences, ACC, SEC, Big 10, Pac 10, Big 12 get two slots. (this would annoy the ACC, SEC and Big 12, because of their lucrative championship games. The remaining six at large berths can go to ND (because it will, every year) and five other worthies small conferences Western Athletic, Mid-American, Mountain West, Big East and Conference USA. The Sunbelt Conference gets excluded and it shouldn’t but Notre Dame will almost always be given that at large berth, by virtue of them being Notre Dame.

Posted by Ennuipundit | January 9, 2007 | 09:44 am | Permalink

Okay let’s look at this year:

ACC: Wake Forest and Georgia Tech (What about VA Tech?)
Big East: Louisville
Big 10: Ohio State and Michigan (What about Wisconsin?)
Big 12: Oklahoma and Nebraska (What about Texas?)
Conference USA: Houston
Mid-American: Central Michigan
Mountain West: BYU
Pac-10: USC & Cal
SEC: Florida & Arkansas (What about LSU & Auburn?)
Western Athletic: Boise St.
Sunbelt: Troy

Notre Dame would get the berth by virtue of a better overal record than the champion of one of the lesser conferences.

1 Ohio State
2 Florida
3 Michigan
4 Louisville
5 Oklahoma
7 Boise State
8 Notere Dame
9 Arkansas
10 Wake Forest
11 BYU
12 California
13 Nebraska
14 Georgia Tech
15 Central Michigan
16 Houston

It’s a thought, but it needs lots of work, eh?

Posted by Ennuipundit | January 9, 2007 | 11:04 am | Permalink

I think there are probably ten or more schools not on the list better than Boise State this year. The bottom line is that this type of system would penalize teams that play in elite football conferences like the SEC and ACC.

It works fine to let the little guys play, too, in basketball where you can invite 65 teams and a team can play 3 games a week.

Posted by James Joyner | January 9, 2007 | 11:24 am | Permalink

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