"Open" Automatic Bids My Eye
The newest edition of the BCS now touts how they have opened up the automatic bid process in order to give more conferences a chance to get into the system. What a load of crap! What they are now going to do is evaluate every conference top to bottom with particular emphasis on the number of teams the league has in the top 25. Anyone with a functioning brain knows that the mid-major teams which warranted BCS consideration last year (Utah, Boise State, Louisville) were the exception not the norm. By taking the entire conference into consideration the power conferences will be effectively minimize the impact of any individual team from a mid-major.
Additionally, the BCS has made the remarkably unethical decision to consider Louisville's 2004 season as part of the four-year Big East evaluation process. The problem? Louisville wasn't in the Big East last year! Including last season in the Big East "resume'" is simply designed to help the politically powerful league keep its automatic bid into the upper tier. And they need help after losing Miami, Virginia Tech and Boston College and replacing them with Cincinnati, Louisville and South Florida. Whether or not that is the right thing to do isn't the point. The blatant manipulation, hypocrisy and deception are what bother me.
Replacing the AP is Comical
Meanwhile the BCS still wants to maintain its three-pronged process for choosing the top two teams at the end of year. With the Associated Press finally demonstrating some journalistic integrity by demanding its rankings NOT be used, the BCS is toying with its own poll, with voters perhaps being chosen among former players, coaches and administrators.
That's choice! Let's have Bo Schembechler voting on whether Ohio State deserves a spot in the game, and Vince Dooley voting on the Gators' candidacy. Pay Dye could hold the decisive vote on Alabama while Barry Switzer decided whether or not Texas gets to go.
See any problem there, sports fans?
The only sensible solution (to a nonsensical problem) would be to create a selection committee to make the choice. They can consider both polls since the AP would no longer object, they can consider every computer ranking known to man and they can be accountable for their decisions just like every NCAA post-season selection committee. I would suggest they put together a panel of former commissioners, athletic directors, coaches and media. Then once it is clear which teams are under consideration, allow those closely affiliated to one of those programs to step aside.
For example, Pat Haden would be a good person to have on the committee, but he should step aside if Southern Cal is involved. If you have a 12-to-15-man panel, you could have several conflicts without compromising the broad-based nature of the group.
Knight Commission Opposing 12th Game
This is an admirable group dedicated to promoting academic reforms in intercollegiate athletics, and I know they mean well. But arguing against the 12th game until "the full impact of current academic reforms is clear" is ludicrous. A 12th game in the college football season will not impact academics in any meaningful way. Football players don't miss class for competition unless they foolishly enroll in a class that meets late on Friday. Oh, there are some exceptions with the schools that play Thursday night games, but those are the exceptions not the rule.
I strongly support stronger academic standards for student-athletes on college campuses including more stringent GPA requirements and satisfactory progress towards graduation. I would like to see basketball go to a Saturday-Monday or Friday-Sunday schedule to dramatically reduce missed class time. I would support a rule requiring team travel of under 1,000 miles not begin until all classes are completed the day before competition. I would place a moratorium on weeknight games beginning after 8 p.m. And I would be fine if they decided to eliminate two-semester sports. Not starting basketball season until after the fall semester might mean turning March madness into April gladness but so what?
Any of those proposals would help academic achievement far more than eliminating a 12th football game would.