Predictions and The Bowl Championship Series

A lot of you have come to me and asked me to write some non-datacenterish personal commentary type posts, in an effort to generate more content.  So, I thought I would start the new year by obliging that request that I’ve received several times now, and hopefully shed some light on who Nick is.  :)

On Saturday, I made a prediction that the Alabama – Notre Dame championship game would end with Bama winning 42-17.  Even I thought that was a bit outlandish, but I was simply trying to throw my stake in the ground that this was going to be yet another blowout, and hopefully expose [yet again] how broken this whole BCS system is.

Imagine my shock and awe as the score reached 42-14 with ~8 minutes left in the 4th quarter.  Even amidst all the hype the weeks leading up to the game, and even DURING the pre-game proceedings that this was going to be a close game, or that Notre Dame would “finally disavow the SEC dominance,”  I felt very strongly that this was going to be a repeat of last year’s LSU shutout.

“Should I head straight to Vegas?”

“Should I go buy a ton of lotto tickets?”

No.  I’d rather rant & rave a bit about the BCS, and talk about football and the state of things, from my perspective.   Those that know me know that I am a staunch Florida State fan.  Baseball, Basketball, and mostly Football.   They’ve been an incredibly athletic school for decades, and very successful at all athletics, including others like softball, volleyball, etc, and I’m proud when I wear my FSU hat, even the day after the National Championship that they were not involved in.

What I am not proud of is how we, as a society, and how the NCAA has essentially “sold out” college football holistically.   We have too many bowls.  Why are ~.500-record teams going to bowl games?  Why are teams that are NOT EVEN RANKED going to bowl games?  This is an absolute money-grab in my opinion, and it’s shameful.

We’ve seen a trend in profressional sports, over about the last two decades, of this notion of the “franchise player.”  And ya know what?  I’m ok with that.  It’s a professional sport, people pay money, and it’s an entertainment vector.   I’ve continued to love college sports because of the underlying purity of it all.  Sure, we’ve had the scandals (see: Reggie Bush, USC) where students take money, or get free tattoos, or evil men doing abominable things to young boys, etc etc, but for the most part, the NCAA has always been a place of competition, team, and ethics.

I would argue that this has gone out the window recently.

Now, just like we do in the pros, we refer to individual players on teams, rather than the teams themselves.   We even give them cute little nicknames, like Johnny Football.  Nobody really talks about Texas A&M as a team so much, but all you’ve heard about for the past 2-3 months is Johnny Manziel.  Even Notre Dame to an extent got a lot of focused attention on T’io.

What I would argue is that one of the great things about Alabama is that we know them as a team.  If you had asked me middle of the season who Alabama’s QB and RB were, I wouldn’t have been able to tell you.  For that matter, and this is mostly me personally, I couldn’t tell you that about a lot of teams, and I think that is the last great bastion of purity left in the NCAA.   The road we’re heading down is not a bright one.  With more and more bowl games every year, it’s a combination of the NCAA doing a money-grab, as well as the old “every kid that plays gets a trophy” mantra.

Either way, I don’t like it.

Lastly, we’ve had dynasties in every sport for decades now.  Steelers, Bulls, Lakers, Nebraska and Florida State in the 90’s, Bear Bryant, etc.   It seems like all the hype last night wasn’t congratulating ‘Bama and Coach Saban on another fantastic season and championship, but “Do you think you’re a dynasty now?”

To that, I simply say…. Who cares.

Congratulations, Alabama.

Be right back, I’ve got to go buy some lotto tickets.

Considering my accuracy on the prediction of the outcome of the National Championship game, if you’d like to see my predictions for IT and Tech in 2013, you can check them out here.

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Fletcher Cocquyt
01/09/2013 05:40

What’s the solution?
Which teams would you have liked to have seen in the final?

Fletcher Cocquyt
01/09/2013 05:40

What’s the solution?
Which teams would you have liked to have seen in the final?

Nick Howell
Reply to  Fletcher Cocquyt
01/09/2013 10:39

Hey Fletcher! The solution, to me, is some level of playoff system/bracket. There’s the glaringly popular “Top 8” theory, where the ranked teams are divi’ed up into a bracket, but unless you’re doing something like the 64-team broad bracket like basketball, you’re still depending on computer-based ranking algorithms to determine WHO those 8 teams are going to be, and maybe this is the root of the issue.  We’re still depending on subjective/agenda-driven “opinion polls” to determine a lot of these rankings throughout the year that ultimately lead to who those Top 8 would be before we ever get to the… Read more »

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