Blog Entry

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:18 pm
Edited on: February 9, 2012 3:38 pm

Posted by Eye on College Football

Occasionally the Eye on CFB team convenes Voltron-style to answer a pressing question in the world of college football. Today's query:

What are the chances of the BCS adopting the Big Ten's home-field semifinals playoff proposal? And if they do, how much of a good thing (if at all) is that for college football? 

Tom Fornelli: I think it's clear at this point that the playoff is coming. Whether or not it's going to be the Big Ten's proposal of the top two seeds hosting semifinal games, I'm not sure.

I do think that's the best way of going about things for the schools and fans, though. It would minimize travel costs for the schools, and it's the only way to make things fair. Hosting the games at places like the Sugar Bowl, Orange Bowl, Fiesta Bowl or Rose Bowl wouldn't be. Right now, if you're a Big Ten or Big 12 team and you land in the top two, you're not only traveling outside your home state but your entire conference footprint to play in those locations.

Plus, how exciting would it be to see a school like Florida possibly having to travel up north to play Wisconsin in Madison during December? We already know what happens to the Big Ten when it has to head south for the winter. With this proposal we'd get to see what happens to the SEC when it's forced to head north.

As for whether or not this would be a good thing for college football, I don't see how it would be a bad thing. You take a lot of the money that you've been giving to bowl games and put that cash into the schools. Plus, as long as you keep the playoff to the top four teams, get rid of the BCS AQ statuses and everything else, you can restore the bowl traditions that are so important to everybody.

Chip Patterson: I'm with Tom: I don't see how this could be a bad thing. I certainly understand there are plenty of concerns along the way, but any step in this direction is one I support.  

Allowing the top two seeds to host the semi-final games also keeps the integrity of the BCS system intact.  At its core, the system is meant only to determine the two best teams in college football.  Now those two teams will have the advantage of getting to play the gridiron's version of the Final 4 round on their home turf.    Those who are calling for a large-scale playoff would likely be appeased with this one step forward, and the bowl experience that means so much to the fans and players can continue as it has for years.  There is no rich tradition for the BCS National Championship Game itself, so altering the process at the top does not hinder the game of college football. 

Jerry Hinnen: I'm afraid I can see how this proposal could be, if not a bad thing, a worse thing than it should be. 

There's two downsides to the Big Ten's plan as presented. The first is that it proposes to yoink those top four teams out of the bowl pool entirely, meaning that the two semifinal losers wouldn't get the bowl experience at all, despite having the kind of season that would have put them in the BCS top four to begin with. If you're, say, Stanford and your postseason experience is traveling to Columbus to watch your season end in front of 100,000 Buckeye fans in 25-degree weather, I'm not sure at all that's going to feel like much of a reward. I'd much prefer the semifinals be played in mid-December, with the losers still eligible for BCS selection; it's better for the teams (who get their deserved week of bowl festivities) and better for the bowls (who get better matchups). 

The other downside is an unavoidable one: that this could be the first step down that slippery slope to the sort of eight- or 12- or 16-team playoff that sees the college football equivalent of the New York Giants ride a single hot streak past more deserving teams to a national championship. This is another reason the Big Ten proposal should do more to placate the major bowls--they've collectively taken a lot of heat for their role in preserving the BCS's current status quo, but their money and influence are also a key line of defense in ensuring the "plus-one" doesn't become a "plus-six."

But whatever downsides you come up with are always going to pale in comparison to the upside. The biggest flaw of the BCS has always been the No. 3 team that deserved its shot as much as either (or both) of the No. 1 and No. 2 teams and didn't get it, the team that -- as Phil Steele has called it -- needs to be in the playoff. The squabbles over No. 4 vs. No. 5 are going to continue, yes, but that's a small price to pay for giving 2001 Miami, 2003 USC, 2004 Auburn, 2010 TCU, or 2011 Oklahoma State their shot. Giving them that shot in an electric on-campus atmosphere -- be it in the Midwest, on the West Coast, the Southeast, wherever -- makes a huge triumph for college football that much more, well, huge.

Bryan Fischer: We're moving toward change, but what form it takes certainly remains to be seen. Let's be clear that there were something like 50 proposals presented at the last BCS meeting, so what's notable is not this specific Big Ten proposal but the fact that the conference has changed its tune and is open to some sort of playoff.

Jim Delany has two things he is looking to accomplish no matter what happens with the BCS: keep the Big Ten in a seat of power and protect the Rose Bowl. This proposal does both and seems to be a win-win for just about everybody. I think we're moving in the right direction and Delany is finally going with the flow instead of obstructing it.

Having seen how well things worked out for the Pac-12 with an on-campus championship game, I'm in favor of including a home field advantage tie-in no matter what proposal surfaces. The detractors are always worried about the regular season and keeping the bowl system and a plus-one/four-team playoff would make things meaningful during the year and keep the current structure (more Alamo Bowls!) in place. The most interesting thing, to me, will be how long we'll be stuck with the system. It could be a 10-plus year deal--which is interesting if tweaks need to be made in order to ensure a better playoff system.

TF: I would think that the any deal has to be longer than 10 years, just because conferences are going to want to keep things from expanding to 8 teams or 16 teams for as long as possible. Because we all know that as soon as the four-team playoff begins, then so will the "Expand the playoffs!" arguments. 

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Since: Mar 7, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:07 pm

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Hey CBS, maybe you want to fix your boards?  I reply to a comment and it gets posted as an original post.

Since: Mar 7, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:06 pm

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Don't forget to factor in the travel.  How far does the SEC/Big12 have to travel for a bowl game?

Since: May 9, 2007
Posted on: February 10, 2012 1:51 pm

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Dont you know parity in college football will hurt small town america. Given the chance to go to a school on the beaches of Hawaii, SoCal or S. Florida or some small podunk town in the south or mid-west, I can tell you a young man will pick Miami, Tampa, San Diego, Houston and the likes over Knoxvillie or Tucsualosa more times then not. When these traditional powers start losing the blue chip players and start losing games they start losing tv deals and everything that goes with these major programs. Killing the ecomnomies of these small towns most of them are in. The big wigs of the SEC know this so why let these other "mid majors" in the door.

Since: Feb 28, 2009
Posted on: February 10, 2012 7:24 am

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Just goes to show you how "desperate" the Not-So-Big 10 is at this point in time......they've been getting their collective butts handed to them on a plate for about 10 years now....throw in some scandal and NCAA sanctions for the Conference that "rises above it all".....a collection of fan bases that have been eerily quiet this year....with Ohio State and Michigan getting some well-deserved come-uppance and voila, here we are....

The Big 10 is struggling to remain relevant.....Urban Meyer was brought in to make them more "SEC-ish".....after all the SEC IS the standard now by which all conferences are judged....

Can't use the "we don't cheat" message anymore....can't use the "perennial power" label anymore.....can't use the "we get the best recruits" label anymore......but, you can still use the "we have the most rabid and loyal fan bases" message, still....even when the handwriting is on the wall, the doe-eyed loyals still cling to hope that they'll return to the NC game....

Man....a Plus 1....seems Delaney has been standing in the way of this one for quite some time...even when the SEC and ACC were calling for this very thing in 1999, or so.....all that power.....NOTHING to show for it.......    &n

Since: Aug 9, 2011
Posted on: February 10, 2012 6:52 am

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

I this is a GREAT idea as I KNOW the people from down south won't be able to handle the cold of Wisconsin or Michigan in December for a game.  People can say what they like about how that makes no difference, but having been born up north and living in the south since 1990--I know that even I can't handle a winter back up on Lake Erie anymore.  Heck, a winter in Chesapeake Virginia feels cold to me now, but back when I was a kid we laughed at 30-40 degree winters. 

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 8:45 pm

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Ah, philatio11 and the arrogance of beggars.

Since: Dec 1, 2009
Posted on: February 9, 2012 8:35 pm

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Jerry, how does your proposal for mid-December semifinal games account for final examinations?

Since: Apr 12, 2007
Posted on: February 9, 2012 8:27 pm

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

Yeah, this is gonna be fun when Boise State is a top seed and only 33,500 get to see the game. Does anyone know if Boise even HAS 33,500 hotel rooms?

Since: Nov 3, 2006
Posted on: February 9, 2012 3:54 pm

Roundtable: Backing the Big Ten plus-one

I am pretty sure that Jerry Hinnen just said the Giants don't deserve to be Super Bowl champs as much as some other teams, that they were just on a "hot streak".  Actually Jerry, the great thing about the NFL is that every deserving team (measured as the top 6 per conference) got their chance to defeat the Giants, but couldn't do it.   Yes, thank god we are finally becoming rational and thinking about a playoff in College Football!  And yes, it should expand as soon as possible to 8 teams, not 10+ years down the road.  The sooner the better, as I am sick of the haves keeping the lesser schools at arms-length from all the money.  What has made the NFL such a powerhouse is parity, parity that has been mostly lacking in college football lately, and I'd love to see Boise State and TCU and whomever else have a legitimate shot at a national championship.

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