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December 6, 2012

Old School Bowl Bids

As a flight of fancy, I decided to look at what I thought the old free for all bowl system would yield this year. For my purposes, the SEC has the current alignment, but we are operating in pre-bowl alliance rules. Also, you had to have a winning season to make a bowl game. For simplicity sake, I chose 1990 as my baseline year for trying to figure out the match-ups (ie, conference v. conference; final regular season records; rankings).

Here are my best guesses.

Sugar Bowl: Alabama vs. Notre Dame - Hey, look the Bowl system would have gotten it 'right'.
Orange Bowl: Florida vs. Oklahoma - I'd say it is possible the ACC champion FSU still might get courted in by the Orange Bowl, but I'd think they'd nab Florida.
Citrus Bowl: Georgia vs. FSU - I guess. Hard to say, but I'd think the Citrus Bowl would have had a deal to take the SEC loser, based on their longstanding relationship with the SEC to play the Seminoles.
Cotton: Texas A&M vs. Kansas State. Two Heisman finalist? Forget about it. This one would be hyped to death.
Hall of Fame Bowl: LSU v. Clemson - Yawn.
Gator: South Carolina v. Michigan - Another yawn.
Peach: Vandy vs. Rutgers - I struggled with this one. One one hand, the Independence and Liberty Bowls could have just as easily been in the running for Vandy. On the other, the higher payout of the Peach Bowl probably wins out. I took a WAG of all the major conference teams left with strong records.
Independence or Liberty: Mississippi State v. Tulsa - This match-up was the one I was most comfortable with. There is no doubt Mississippi State gets into a  bowl game, but I couldn't decide between the Independence or the Liberty. I decided it didn't matter much and that their opponent would be Tulsa.

Other bowls of note (I didn't do Rose, because it would be exactly the same):
Fiesta: Oregon vs. Louisville. The folks in Tempe are pinching themselves over getting Oregon.
Sun Bowl: UCLA vs. Northwestern
Holiday: Boise State v. Northern Illinois. Compelling story that makes Boise State seem old and stodgy.

Lest anyone forget, the new fangled playoff that will fix all the messes of the BCS would put Florida as a third seed, while SEC runner up Georgia wouldn't have a chance to play for the title, presumably because they had their chance in the SEC championship. Tell me again how that is better?



Anonymous said...

It's better b/c we don't even know if Alabama or Notre Dame is better than Florida or Oregon. Schedules are so isolated that it is purely subjective to say that these are the best 2 teams.

Even in the NFL, where there are only 32 teams, you don't know who the best team is based purely on record b/c there is variation in strength of schedule. You can multiply that variation by 50 in college football...and the strength of schedule is that much harder to figure out b/c there are so few common opponents.

This idea that Notre Dame and Alabama are clearly the best 2 teams is nothing but a wish. You'd be basing your opinion on more facts by saying the Falcons and Texans are clearly the best 2 teams in the NFL. You'd also have a lot of people telling you that it's crazy to make a statement like that.

Bernie said...

Anon 7:21 - But what's wrong with finishing a college football season with some lingering questions? That is what made CFB so great for so many years. Now the college game is just a blind pig that occasionally finds an acorn. We've traded healthy debate for controversy and entitlements. Almost every year they tweak the system to correct for the previous year, just to satisfy whoever was "left out" the previous season.

Tyler's 1990 scenario > BCS > playoffs. Period. I'm sure it's the old man in me, but I can stand 8 months of off season debate. When I want playoffs I'll watch the NFL in January.

Anonymous said...

Well, what you find to be fun and healthy, most fans in this country find to be frustrating and pointless.

And it wasn't too long ago that the SEC was usually getting the shaft in that "fun and healthy" debate. In fact, you could argue that if it weren't for the 2 team playoff we put in place 14 years ago, the SEC would still be getting the shaft more often than not.

Anonymous said...

If you're using 1990 criteria (which is interesting) then you also have to remove the SEC Champ game loss since the game doesn't exist. Before the game UGA was ahead of Florida in the polls and considered a co-sec champ based on the regular season conf record tie with Alabama. Does that change where UGA or FL ends up? Maybe, maybe not, but it's worth noting.

Tyler Dawgden said...


You say bug, I say feature.

In reality, this isn't being driven by what you and I want as fans. It is being driven by the conferences and schools. The sooner we all stop prentending what fans want is driving this the better off we'll all be.

My biggest problem isn't that this school gets screwed or whatever. Although it is far better to be in a position to claim a shot at a national title than to not have any shot because there are two teams already playing for one. My biggest problem is that there is no fair way to ensure teams are competing on equal footing.

At least in the NFL, you have 32 teams that all play fairly similarly tough schedules. DI football has 125+ teams. The only truly equitable solution to naming a 'true' national champion, a nearly full season round robin, does exactly what all of us are afraid any playoff bigger than four teams does. It ruins the regular season.

In the end, while I care about the playoff (I'd prefer the old school, possible multiple national championships), the bigger issue is that the conferences are going to kill the value of the regular season. That is a problem.

If you don't think so, look at NASCAR and what going to 36 races and a 10 race playoff has done. In their search for a way to keep the last few races relevant and all races fair, they have ruined both their product and the interest in the season of races. Wow, were the last few laps at whatever race they ran at the end of the season interesting. I hadn't watched any racing after Montoya ran into a jet truck in February until the last few weeks of the year. As it stands, we are headed that way with college football.

Who cares that Kansas State lost to Baylor? They'll still get in a 16 team playoff. Stanford vs. Oregon? Why worry about that late night crap. Both will make the playoffs.

No reason to watch the end of Pitt vs. Notre Dame. Alabama vs. Michigan to open the season is pointless. Georgia v. Boise State won't matter. If FSU and NC State are close into the fourth quarter, big deal. LSU stopping Arkansas in the last seconds is only of limited regional value.

All of those teams will either be in the playoffs or not. Nothing more to play for than a top 15 ranking makes for some very not compelling shit for 'most fans.'

College football is way more like major European soccer than NFL. I'd be ok if we did a champions league or something like that, with relegation and all. Even there, they count on rankings across disparate leagues to determine who gets into the tourney. It is the most watched sporting event in the world.

Look, I know those of us that are ok with discussion and controversy lost the battle. Just don't forget why and how when Lane Kiffin pulls his starters against Arizona State because USC is already in the playoffs or the Big Game only pulls a .9 share.

Tyler Dawgden said...

Anon 10:43, that is a good point, but one I considered to a point. I used 1990 since that was one of the last years pre-expansion, so it gave me a good idea at what ranked teams from what conferences with what records went to what bowls.

Under that scenario, I guess Georgia could have represented the SEC in the Sugar Bowl since they tied Alabama and Florida. Since Florida lost to one of the other three, I took them out. I think there was a tie breaker in place then that took into account the combined records of your conference opponents. Georgia would have come out on the short end of that stick (thanks Kentucky).

As for Orange picking Florida instead of Georgia? Yeah, the Orange would have picked Florida over Georgia nearly every time.

Anonymous said...

I'm under no illusion that what the fans want is being considered and never really said anything of the sort, so we're on the page there.

I think that in most years, all things considered, an 8 team playoff is the ideal setup. I don't like the idea of anything bigger than that though. And going from 2 to 4 is a step in that direction, so I'm happy.

As far as Kansas State losing to Baylor not mattering in an 8 team playoff, I disagree. It bumps them down and causes them to have to play a higher ranked team in the first round (and possibly go on the road if the games are on campus). By the way, how much did Alabama's loss to LSU matter last year? Notre Dame's 17 point loss to USC the last week in 1980? Or their 3-3 tie with Tech a month before that?

And if you're trying to tell me that I shouldn't be happy b/c it also puts us closer to having a playoff that is too big, I see your point but respectfully disagree. I'd rather get closer to what I think is ideal than stay further away from it.

Anon 7:21 & 9:29

Anonymous said...

With the current system, 32 teams and fanbases end the year on a positive note and reason to have hope for next season. One wins a championship. With a playoff, all fanbases but one end on a losing note.

J-Rob said...

Because Florida has four good wins and Georgia has one? Or we can include Vanderbilt and the numbers are five and two? In the alternative, because Florida has no blowout losses like 35-0? I mean 35-7. Having said that, Georgia proved they were for real last weekend. Still, the season matters.

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