Friday, May 2, 2008

Playing Devil's Advocate in the BCS Debate

First off, I want to point out that I'm a huge proponent of the "plus one" system. I think it's a great idea and I'd love to see it implemented.

But.

I also want to play a little devil's advocate here. There are some problems with the "plus one" system that haven't been mentioned, and I'd like to take them into some better light so that all sides of the argument are being considered. Some of the obvious problems ("academics," "length of season," etc.) are all kind of bunk anyways, but here's some more to think about:

1) Logistics. First, consider how much it costs to move players, equipment, bands, cheerleaders, and all of the other things that move with football teams across the country. All of these things take planning, and any kind of tournament system would give teams at most two weeks of notice where they have to move things to, and that's just not enough time. Think about it, there's a reason the Men's Basketball Tournament is grouped into a relatively low number of physical arenas. Not to mention how much easier it is to move a Basketball team. Football teams usually take about 70 sets of helmets, shoulder pads, uniforms, cleats, and leg pads. Then there's the water coolers, tables, and bottles, the large cooling fans, practice equipment (cones, blocking dummies, etc.), a bunch of footballs, and all of the miscellaneous equipment that I'm undoubtedly forgetting.

Now, double all of that because it'll undoubtedly be a neutral site, then add in all of the equipment for the broadcasting companies. Needless to say, it's a logistical nightmare.

2) Fan Revenue. Have you ever really looked at the stands of NFL playoff games? It's not often that they sell out, unless it's a team that has been guaranteed home games in the playoffs. Think about it, how could this be? Again, it's logistics. The second round of the playoffs is the worst, because fans simply aren't sure who's playing in those games and where they are until the first round is over. Then, they only have 6 days to buy tickets, reserve hotel rooms, and book flights or arrange other travel. Not to mention, most people need more then 6 days notice to take off days from work.

3) It would make it even harder for non-BCS schools to get recognition. When March Madness is going on, how much attention is paid to the NIT? Do people even know that there are other tournaments besides the Big Dance and the NIT? Exactly. If we put so much emphasis on these playoff games, it would diminish from the rest of the bowls, pushing the Boise State's, Utah's and Hawaii's even farther out of the media sphere. Not to mention that smaller schools have even more trouble dealing with the problems outlined in #1 and #2 then large schools do. A lot of times when small schools go to bowl games and end up going across the country, they can't bring their bands along because the cost is too great, or they simply don't have the means to conquer the logistical hurdle.

4) There will always be somebody left out. Ok, so now #1-#4 are appeased, but now #5 is going to complain. When was the last time the top 4 teams were all undefeated? How do you determine the top 4 in each of these situations from previous years?

2002: Miami and OSU undefeated, Iowa and Georgia each 1-loss, all others 2-loss. Easy to pick
2003: Oklahoma undefeated. USC, LSU each 1-loss. Who's the 4th team? There was 7 2-loss teams.
2004: USC, Auburn, Oklahoma, Utah, and Boise State undefeated. 3 1-loss teams with tougher schedules then Utah and Boise behind them.
2005: USC, Texas undefeated. 3 1-loss teams, 6 2-loss teams ranked higher then one of the 1-loss teams.
2006: OSU and Boise State undefeated. Florida, Michigan, Louisville, Wisconsin 1-loss. LSU, Oklahoma, and USC 2-loss.
2007: Top 10 looks like this: 11-1 / 11-2 / 11-2 / 10-2 / 11-2 / 10-2 / 11-2 / 11-1 / 9-3 / 12-0 Good luck picking 4 from that one.

So what do we use to pick the 4? The BCS? How ironic would that be? No matter what the system, somebody is going to be unhappy. Would the plus one be an improvement? Sure. But is it really worth all the hassle mentioned before if it's more of a band-aid then a real solution?

5) Revenue Sharing. Does this sound familiar to anyone? Same thing that happens in the NFL. Big Teams make Big Money. Who decides where the games are played? Are all 3 games neutral sites, or is the first round played as home games to give the #1 and #2 seeds the advantage they deserve with the higher seeding? If they are at the top seeds home stadiums, how are the revenues shared? ASponge is right, it does all come down to money, but we have to think about it a little deeper then just saying "oh it's rich people and their money" and taking it at that. There's reasons behind it, because we aren't talking about chump change. Revenue for BCS games is in the tens of millions.

So there it is, the counter-argument. Note again that I, as a true fan, want the "plus one" system to be used, but I also realize the problems associated with it. In the interest of fairness and total coverage, I felt like these things should be mentioned.

1 comment:

Finsfan in CT said...

Hi Rate!

I couldn't disagree more with your post but I think you did a great job trying to flesh out a flawed argument! It takes guts and integrity to post something you don't believe in!

Your logistics argument holds little water. The sites will be predetermined, just like they are for "March Madness".

These big schools apparently don't care about the student/athlete anyways because of the amount of time they spend away from school. What would it hurt to pick up and move the team/supporting staff for one more game? The rewards FAR outweigh the costs!

Your second point, I believe, is DEFINITELY a valid point! It WOULD be hard for fans/boosters of the teams to take time off for that title game.

On the other hand, I would equate the analogy better toward the Super Bowl. Most of the tickets will be bought by corporate sponsors and people that can afford to shell out huge $$ and don't really care who's playing!

As for Non-BCS conferences and the smaller bowls, who cares about them now?! Those games are meaningless unless YOUR team is playing in it. Besides, if you include 4 or 8 teams, then one of those schools gets to be "Cinderella" and crash the Ball!

As for "who gets left out?", there would be less debate over that. Most times, there is one or two undefeated teams and a few 1-loss temas. Anybody that loses two games, has no right to complain if the computers/polls snub them.

What if four teams end up with one loss or less? That is where winning your division and SOS should come into play. Reward teams that don't play "East Carolina Poly-Tech" caliber teams 2-3 times a year. (I apologize to any fans that go to that school, if it exists!)

In the end, you are correct, it IS all about money and that is why the system will not change. Schools are short-sighted and don't see the potential that the playoff would bring.

BCS schools are happy with their pile of money and the NON-BCS schools are NOW happy because they have negotiated their way into the added BCS game.