Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Apologies in advance to Florida and Oklahoma

The ACC has been assigned to provide the officiating crew for tomorrow night's BCS Championship Game.

Loved this little capsule:
It's likely that ACC veteran Jack Childress will head the crew. Childress is no-nonsense, but sometimes he likes to throw the flag a little too much. If he is the head referee, with any luck, he will let some emotions flow and simply separate players.
Stating that Jack Childress "likes to throw the flag a little too much" is akin to saying the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima destroyed a few buildings.

So long Jags, we hardly knew ye...

Jeff Jagodzinski has been fired for interviewing with the New York Jets.

Shockingly, no outside candidates are beating down Eagle AD Gene DeFillippo's door for an interview. It appears that the new BC football boss will likely be OC Steve Logan, DC Frank Spaziani or OL coach Jack Bicknell Jr. Don't be surprised to see Spaz leave if Logan gets the job, or vice versa. And if Bicknell gets tabbed, Spaz and Logan may both pack up and leave.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Strange things are afoot at Boston College

Jeff Jagodzinski to be fired if he interviews with the New York Jets?

I have no idea what Jags' contract allows and doesn't allow, but there are ways to handle situations quietly and without ultimatums, and then there's the BC way. I don't know how Jags and BC come back from the brink, and the Eagles can ill afford to have a second straight messy coaching departure.

Tom O'Brien's move to Raleigh two years ago makes a hell of a lot more sense now, doesn't it?

Stay tuned.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Time Machine: The 2006 Bowls under the ACCFR Plan

Following up on my bowl/playoff manifesto, I'm going back through each BCS year to see how my system would have played out versus what actually happened. For those who don't care to read over my plan, here's the gist:
1- We play five major bowls on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 (Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, Rose)
2- Each BCS conference has an auotbid for it's champ (Cotton- Big East, Fiesta- Big XII, Orange- ACC, Sugar- SEC, Rose- Pac 10 vs. Big 10)
3- That leaves 4 at large-spots, which are chosen based on the 4 highest ranked available teams in the final regular season BCS poll; the only rules are no rematches, no teams from the same conference in a bowl, and a champion of a non-BCS conference ranked #8 or higher must get selected.
4- The bowls (except Rose) rotate each year on the order of at-large placements
5- After the Five Bowls, run the BCS poll again; #1 and #2 then play the next Friday night (7 to 13 days after the bowls) in the BCS Championship Game.

No, my plan is not a playoff, but it still gives you a 1-vs-2 game and it makes the major bowls actually matter again.
Let's see how this plan would've worked in 2006. Here were your final regular season BCS rankings:

1- Ohio State (Big Ten champ)
2- Florida (SEC champ)
3- Michigan (at-large)
4- LSU (at-large)
5- USC (Pac 10 champ)
6- Louisville (Big East champ)
7- Wisconsin (at-large)
8- Boise State (at-large)
10-Oklahoma (Big XII champ)
14- Wake Forest (ACC champ)

We don't have a comparable order-of-selection to use since the BCS treated the title game like a bowl and they didn't have the Cotton included, so based on the picking order I used for 2007, we back up and find the order of selection in '06 to be Fiesta, Cotton, Orange, Sugar. Given that, these would've been your 2006 BCS bowls:

FIESTA- Oklahoma (Big XII champ) vs. Michigan (highest ranked at-large)
COTTON- Louisville (Big East champ) vs. LSU (2nd highest ranked at-large)
ORANGE- Wake Forest (ACC champ) vs. Wisconsin (3rd highest ranked at-large)
SUGAR- Florida (SEC champ) vs. Boise State (4th highest ranked at-large)
ROSE- Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. USC (Pac 10 champ)

That's a helluva lineup; the Orange Bowl doesn't look sexy, but Wisconsin should have been in a BCS bowl in '06 rather than Notre Dame (who you'll recall got trounced by LSU in the Sugar Bowl). Wake-Wisconsin would actually have been a good matchup in terms of styles of play. That Louisville-LSU Cotton Bowl would have been a treat, with both teams in striking distance of the title game with a win. How about Florida vs. Boise? Nice! Oklahoma vs. Michigan would have been a curious game. And once again, USC would've taken care of Ohio State and the Buckeyes wouldn't have sullied an actual title game.

After the Five Bowls, the BCS Championship Game likely would have paired Florida and USC, or perhaps Florida and LSU. But what if the Broncos had upset the Gators? Boise State-USC for the title? Perhaps. Or maybe LSU-Michigan.

The ACCFR plan again would have been a massive improvement over what actually took place in 2006. On to 2005...

Time Machine: The 2007 Bowls under the ACCFR Plan

Following up on my bowl/playoff manifesto, I figured I should test it against the wackiest year we've ever seen in college football - 2007. For those who don't care to read over my plan, here's the gist:
1- We play five major bowls on Jan. 1 and Jan. 2 (Cotton, Fiesta, Orange, Sugar, Rose)
2- Each BCS conference has an auotbid for it's champ (Cotton- Big East, Fiesta- Big XII, Orange- ACC, Sugar- SEC, Rose- Pac 10 vs. Big 10)
3- That leaves 4 at large-spots, which are chosen based on the 4 highest ranked available teams in the final regular season BCS poll; the only rules are no rematches, no teams from the same conference in a bowl, and a champion of a non-BCS conference ranked #8 or higher must get selected.
4- The bowls (except Rose) rotate each year on the order of at-large placements
5- After the Five Bowls, run the BCS poll again; #1 and #2 then play the next Friday night (7 to 13 days after the bowls) in the BCS Championship Game.

No, my plan is not a playoff, but it still gives you a 1-vs-2 game and it makes the major bowls actually matter again.

As for 2007, these were the final regular season BCS rankings:

1- Ohio State (Big Ten champ)
2- LSU (SEC champ)
3- Virginia Tech (ACC champ)
4- Oklahoma (Big XII champ)
5- Georgia (at-large)
6- Missouri (at-large)
7- USC (Pac 10 champ)
8- Kansas (at-large)
9- West Virginia (Big East champ)
10- Hawaii (at-large)

This played out perfectly in terms of placing teams in the Five Bowls. We don't have a comparable order-of-selection to use since the BCS treated the title game like a bowl and they didn't have the Cotton included, so for the sake of this analysis, let's say the picking order in '07 would've been Cotton, Orange, Sugar, Fiesta. Given that, these would've been your 2007 BCS bowls:

COTTON- West Virginia (Big East champ) vs. Georgia (highest ranked at-large)
ORANGE- Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. Missouri (2nd-highest ranked at-large)
SUGAR- LSU (SEC champ) vs. Kansas (3rd-highest ranked at-large)
FIESTA- Oklahoma (Big XII champ) vs. Hawaii (4th-highest ranked at-large)
ROSE- Ohio State (Big Ten champ) vs. USC (Pac 10 champ)

That is a mighty fine collection o' bowl games, if I do say so myself. Based on how the actual bowls played out last year, two things are fairly certain: 1) We would not have seen Ohio State in my plus-one BCS title game, and 2) That West Virginia-Georgia game would have been a clinic. After these hypothetical bowls played out, the following week's BCS Championship Game likely would have pitted LSU-Oklahoma or LSU-Georgia...or maybe Georgia-USC...how about USC-Kansas? Any one of those would've been much better than the LSU-Ohio State clunker we actually had last year. And it's important to note that teams like Virginia Tech, Kansas, Mizzou, USC and Ohio State would have conceivably been playing for a spot in the following week's BCS title game as well; the hypothetical Orange Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Rose Bowl each would've had a playoff atmosphere while still maintaining the bowl system and tradition.

In the actual BCS system last year, we got a Virginia Tech-Kansas Orange Bowl exhibition in which neither team had a shot at the title, we had a USC-Illinois Rose Bowl atrocity, Georgia drilled an overmatched Hawaii in the Sugar, and #6-in-the-BCS Missouri didn't even get into a BCS bowl.

My plan is better.

Friday, January 2, 2009

The ACCFR Bowl & National Championship Plan

Another year, another controversial BCS #1 vs. #2 winner take all title game. 10 years into the BCS, and we've had exactly three non-controversial title games - Florida State vs. Virginia Tech in 1999, Ohio State vs. Miami in 2002, Texas vs. USC in 2005. Not a great track record for what was supposed to be a cure-all.

That said, I don't mind the controversy. It's part of the fabric of college football, just as polls and bowls always have been. The problem with the BCS is not the lack of clear-cut title games; it's that it's effectively neutered the other major bowls that don't host the 1-vs.-2 game. And since 2006 and the addition of the "BCS Championship Game", none of the major bowls have any say in the national title discussion. They've become a dumping ground for disappointed teams and have resulted in uninspiring matchups far too often in the last several years.

Remember 15, 20, 25 years ago when we watched the Orange Bowl, Rose Bowl, Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl and Cotton Bowl on one glorious day? New Year's Day was the capstone of the college football season, and there was a good chance that 3 or 4 of those games played a part in the national title discussion. On top of that, the conference tie-ins with specific bowls gave each member of each league a goal to shoot for...if you were an SEC team - Sugar Bowl. Big 8? Orange Bowl or bust. Southwest Conference? Cotton Bowl! Bowls are part of college football tradition, and part of that tradition is Oklahoma and Nebraska in all those classic Orange Bowls. Alabama and Georgia in those Sugar Bowls. Ohio State, Michigan and USC in a million Rose Bowls. Texas in the Cotton Bowl.

But now, thanks to the BCS, we've had bastardizations like Miami vs. Nebraska in the Rose Bowl, Big 10-runners up in the Rose Bowl, Ohio State vs. Texas A&M in the Sugar Bowl, and the Cotton Bowl has been relegated to also-ran. Sugar, Fiesta and Orange Bowls are now being pushed to Jan. 3 and beyond. The national title game isn't even a bowl now. I'm a traditionalist...I want some semblance of the old bowl system back, played on the same day (for the most part), not spread out over a week and all ending well after midnight. I'm anti-playoff; you can't have a playoff that incorporates the bowl tradition, and quite frankly a playoff is not going to happen as none of the puppet-masters want one. Still, I also want a national title game...a Super Bowl of college football. But the right way.

And I have a plan.

THE ACCFR BOWL AND NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP PLAN
To begin...this plan has to be realistic; there's no conference realignments involved and it simply modifies current systems already in place. I'm sure you've seen the core of this plan discussed and/or posted elsewhere, but I've incorporated my own tweaks to it. Basically, it's Plus-One. Keep the "BCS" moniker if you want to. First, we add another bowl game to the BCS-lineup; I'd prefer the Cotton, but Capital One (if they change back to Citrus) or Chick-fil-A (if they change back to Peach) will do. For purposes of this discussion, we're saying Cotton Bowl. All six BCS conference champions are guaranteed a bowl slot; have a problem with the ACC or Big East automatically getting a bid? Tough...that's the reality of the situation. This plan is something that is not only possible, but also an improvement over the current BCS and previous systems. Anyhoo, here's the BCS bowl lineup if I had my way:

ROSE- Big Ten champ vs. Pac 10 champ
ORANGE- ACC champ vs. at-large
COTTON- Big East champ vs. at-large
FIESTA- Big XII champ vs. at-large
SUGAR- SEC champ vs. at-large

Three of the games are played on Jan. 1 while the other two are played on Jan. 2. This will rotate each year. The at-large spots are filled using the BCS rankings; no more #4 BCS team getting relegated to the Holiday Bowl while #15 Notre Dame gets into the Sugar Bowl. There are three rules for the at-large picks: no rematches, no bowls matching teams from the same conference, and a non-BCS conference champion rated #8 or better MUST get selected. That's it. If 4 of the at-large teams are all from the Big XII, so be it (although that would throw a kink into the no-rematch thing in the Fiesta, probably); if at large teams make up #3 through #7 and #8 is WAC winner Boise State, then #6 and #7 don't get in. And to hell with Notre Dame jumping ahead in line; if they want in, finish as one of the four best at-larges or join the Big East or Big Ten and win the conference. This plan is about making these major bowl games matter again, it's about putting the best teams in them, it's about re-establishing old traditions and starting a few new ones, and it's also about including the little guy if he's earned it.

After the Five Bowls are played, we run the BCS poll again; #1 and #2 then get to play the following weekend in the BCS Championship Game, held in a major city not connected to the Five Bowls. Hold it in Charlotte one year; then St. Louis; then Tampa; then San Diego, etc, ala the Super Bowl and Final Four. If this happens to result in a rematch and/or matches up teams from the same conference, that's fine...the results of the bowl system played out that way.

Of course there will be controversy, but you thin the controversy claims through the Five Bowls. Let's take a look at how this year's bowl lineup would look with the ACCFR system (but first, let's look at the final regular season BCS standings as it relates to my bowl scenario):

1- Oklahoma (Big XII champ)
2- Florida (SEC champ)
3- Texas (at-large)
4- Alabama (at-large)
5- USC (Pac 10 champ)
6- Utah (at-large)
7- Texas Tech (at-large)
8- Penn State (Big Ten champ)
12- Cincinnati (Big East champ)
19- Virginia Tech (ACC champ)

The at-large teams are placed into the bowls on a rotational basis, in much the same way BCS bowls choose opponents for the tie-in teams now; the only catch is that there's no choice. Bowl 1 in the rotation must choose the highest ranked at-large opponent unless it violates the rematch rule, and so on. The current BCS rotation is skewed now because they treat their title game like a bowl, and it doesn't jive with my idea because the Cotton's not involved. For the sake of moving along with this analysis, let's say that this year the picking order would be Orange, Sugar, Fiesta, Cotton.

ORANGE- Virginia Tech (ACC champ) vs. Texas (highest ranked at-large)
SUGAR- Florida (SEC champ) vs. Utah (third highest at-large; second highest Alabama would violate the rematch rule)
FIESTA- Oklahoma (Big XII champ) vs. Alabama (second highest at-large)
COTTON- Cincinnati (Big East champ) vs. Texas Tech (fourth highest at-large)
ROSE- USC (Pac 10 champ) vs. Penn State (Big 10 champ)

Under the ACCFR system, the Orange Bowl would be a better game and would have meaning in that Texas needed to win to stay alive in the title game hunt, while the Hokies have added incentive to play giant killer. The Sugar Bowl would be a fantastic matchup, with both teams needing to win to make a claim to the title game. The Fiesta Bowl - wow; again, both teams need to win to stay alive. The Cotton Bowl would showcase Texas Tech's claim to the title game, while the Bearcats would not only play to win but also can play spoiler. The Rose Bowl would have the exact same matchup as the real Rose Bowl yesterday, but USC and maybe Penn State would've been playing for more under the ACCFR system.

This system is by no means perfect or foolproof, and if you're a staunch playoff proponent, all you see is controversy post-bowls. Oh well. No one can provide a "playoff" system that is realistic, that includes the bowls without neutering all tradition and meaning, and that doesn't require multiple fan bases to travel 3 straight weeks or more over Christmas and New Year's. The bowls are here to stay; the big ones make too much money to be tossed aside, and there's too much support for keeping them no matter what. The ACCFR plan is the best way to keep the big bowl system intact, while creating a playoff-type atmosphere in those games. And you still get a 1-vs-2 game afterward.

Pass this along. Let's move this from the drawing board to the Evil BCS board of directors.

Cataclysm Averted


Virginia Tech 20, Cincinnati 7

It certainly wasn't a thing of beauty, but it'll do...a 4-6 record in the bowl season, albeit very disappointing, looks light years better than 3-7. And the God-forsaken 1-9 thing in BCS games since it's inception is now a sterling 2-9. And in an interesting bit o' trivia, the two wins were over the two programs that payed in Miami last night; lest you forget, the first win was the Florida State victory over the-then Big East Hokies in that classic Sugar Bowl national title game in January 2000.

Thanks Hokies!