Friday, January 09, 2009

Posted by Dr Fro 8:23 PM
I'll try to get all my final thoughts on the college football season into one, final post

BCS Championship Game
Could the announcers have loved Tim Tebow any more than they did? Thanks to Corby Davidson (Here he is, the Cooobra) for this link. You gotta listen to it. These guys basically put Tim Tebow in second place all-time for best guy ever against Jesus (yet he finished third in the Heisman...)

Here's a thread making a similar point.

Big Game Bob was a media darling for his first few years. One reason why was his machismo, caution-to-the-wind approach. Since Mack Brown was Mister Play-It-Safe (who fortunately, when after waiting his whole damn life to take that flight, his plane most definitely did not crash down, but he did say "well, isn't this nice?") and since Bob had a nice streak against Mack, the media attributed their relative successes to their gambling or lack thereof. Fake punt? Brilliant! Bob's machismo approach doesn't look so pretty when it fails. His decision to go for it on fourth down was nothing short of reckless. It was stupid. I doubt he learned his lesson.

The announcers pointed out that the referee, Ron Cherry, was the first African American to ref a BCSB Championship Game. They failed to mention that he is also famous for this.

Bowl Season
The officiating was bad the whole bowl season. Actually, the officiating is always bad in college football. There is no such thing as holding in the Big XII. Excessive celebration is called on such an arbitrary basis. So much as breath on a QB or punter, and it is unnecessary roughness, but a WR can push around a DB all he wants. It is all so stupid. Good coaches (of which there are plenty) adjust their game to the know whims of the crew. It is a sad state of affairs.

A lot of the teams looked out of sync. The Fiesta Bowl and the NC game were the best examples. This isn't surprising since those were the games with the longest time off leading up to it. I really wish the games would end on January 1.

I also got sick of the announcers on ESPN asking each other: Which game are you most looking forward to? They all answered "the Rose Bowl". No fucking way. Really? What a coincidence - that is the only BCS game covered by ESPN/ABC. How convenient.

Of course most things in football can be explained by TV. The demise of the Southwest Conference has been written about extensively, and every book explains the role of TV contracts. ESPN's conflict of interest in being "journalism" and also a broadcaster of games compromises their ability to do either. Speaking of TV...

Notre Dame won their bowl game (now it's A&M's turn), and people want to know if they are "back." I think it is helpful to look at why they used to be good. I have no idea why they were good 80 years ago, nor do I care. I guess they just had some good players and coaches. But they kept it up to the modern era and managed to get the sweetest TV deal of all time. It wasn't about the money, it was about the recruiting. Notre Dame could go anywhere in the U.S. and tell kids that if they came to South Bend, they would be on TV (almost) every Saturday. National TV. That meant their mama back in Smalltown, Nowhere could watch the kid on TV, too. This was a tremendous advantage. It was a tremendous advantage that compensated for some natural disadvantages (higher academic standards and being located in the middle of nowhere to name two).

But Fro, Notre Dame still has that contract with NBC

Shut up, I'm not done. Notre Dame was last good in 1993 when they ended up #2 behind Florida State (whom Notre Dame beat, btw.) This lines up pretty nicely with the time that two things were happening. First, there was a proliferation of channels available to Americans - channels that were getting into the business of broadcasting football games. Second, conferences (the SEC moved first) were lining up their own sweetheart deals. It was your basic arms race whereby Notre Dame's "advantage" was now shared with anybody. Put another way, Mack Brown can also tell that kid that he will be on TV almost every Saturday, too.

With the massive advantage gone and the disadvantages still present, Notre Dame is in a tough position. Very tough.

I think there is a misperception that "rich tradition" has a causal effect on future success. It does not. The two are correlated, but the relationship is not causal. Rather, they are correlated due to "common causation" In other words, there are inherent advantages at some schools (size, location) that caused past success and will cause future success.

So, I don't see Notre Dame's tradition bailing them out. They can be good enough to not be a joke, but I doubt they will win a championship in the next 30 years.

Well, it ended with Florida winning it all and three teams (UT, Utah and SC) with an argument. I have to say that just when you thought the BCS couldn't end in another unprecedented manner, it did. Even in 2000 when 5 teams thought they deserved to play in the NC game, when the dust settled, there was only one undefeated team, OU. It was undisputed. But, the rules of the game are what they are, and only two teams qualified under the system to play, and one of those teams won. In the old system, I might have voted Utah #1. But one thing really bugs me about them (and it bugs me more that nobody in the media brings it up): UT was scheduled to play Utah this year, but Utah backed out. Pussies. The stated reason was that the growth of their conference schedule required them to drop a game. OK, but why did you drop our game? Scared?

Of course, under the old system, all the teams would have played different opponents in different bowls, so it is hard to say how it would have worked out. But, the playoff opponents, whose #1 goal is to have a clear-cut winner come out of a system that gives ample opportunity to all teams, have their ammunition for their argument.

Although I am not thrilled with how the season ended, I still think it highlights an obscure benefit of the current system. The system left many people thinking that no one team clearly differentiated itself from the pack. This is, incidental, a result that accurately reflects the field. A playoff would have manufactured a "champion" that may not have been much better (or even better) than the others. Every season would produce such a champion. I like the fact that we don't have any such manufactured champions. Instead, it is only every once in a while that a team kicks so much ass that they are recognized by everyone as the greatest ass kicker out there. OU did it in 2000. We did it in 2005. It makes, IMHO, those championships have greater weight. And I think that is a good thing. I know, I am a lone voice blogging in the wilderness.

On the subject of coaches politicking and fans "whining". First of all, what coach would not politic for their team? Who would want to play for a coach that wouldn't? You are a fool if you think UT and USC were #1 and #2 that Urban Meyer and Bob Stoops wouldn't be shouting from the highest mountain about them deserving to be #1 or #2 leading up to the penultimate rankings. On the whining. Try for a second to be objective. Of course Sooners and Aggies say that UT fans are whiners. They hate everything about us. Just as we put the coaches in the other shoes, put yourself in our shoes. You are a big fat liar if you would just shrug your shoulders and say "aw shucks, there is always next year". Anyway, you didn't hear this guy whine by any measure.

I am still confused about the final coaches poll. Mack Brown said he would vote UT #1. Then we learned that they only fill out ballots for #2-25, so that is impossible. So, how did Utah get a #1 vote? I did some cursory research and gave up.

Back to the lobbying, but this one by the fans. Remember the 45-35 campaign? If I were the Director of Communications, I would not have gone with that message. As Bob Stoops pointed out, that is stupid. That was the nature of the tie - we beat them, they beat Tech, Tech beat us. A much, much more persuasive message would have been "They lost by 10 on a neutral field." A subtle twist, but if you focus people on the MOV and location of each of the three team's losses, UT would have won out on both MOV and location. Maybe I should get a career in politics. Hope. Change.

My Bowl Game Best-of List
I left out a big shout out to my man, Pat White, for being the first QB to win 4 bowl games. Good for him. I'll be anybody $100 that his record gets tied next season.

I also left out big shouts-out to UH and Rice. UH broke is bowl losing streak and put together a nice season. Rice, who was my biggest bowl pick of the season (ranked highest in my polls that use a ranking system, and the only one on which I bet) was impressive, too. The states of Texas and Florida both had 4 victorious teams in bowls. That's much more impressive than the Big XII South which went 1-3.

Speaking of which, the Big XII vs SEC talk tire me out. I have no problem conceding that the SEC was better this year, but I will not concede that the NCG was proof of that. Florida beat OU by 10? Join the crowd. Had we played Florida, the result could have been different. Plus, OU showed they were a good team, but good teams can't win when they blow it TWICE on the goal line and also have a brilliant pass to their tight end called back for holding. Those three things could have been worth 21, but they were worth nada. It only proves that Stoops isn't the messiah he once was thought to be. But this "SEC speed" thing is old. Congratulations to the SEC for winning the last three championships; they are the best conference, but not by as much as they think.

My Pre season Predictions
What, this old thing?

Here they are, along with the grading:

  1. UT will win 10 games. We won 12

  2. OU will win the conference... Unfortunately so

  3. ...and go to a BCS game They sure did

  4. ...but not win the NC No they didn't

  5. A&M will start Jerrod Johnson at some point Yes, they did

  6. The SEC will win the NC ... Boy did they

  7. ...over USC Not really

  8. Tebow gets the Heisman He got a ticket to NYC, but no hardware

  9. Pat White is the runner-up Not even close

  10. WVU to the BCS Kinda close

  11. UT finishes higher than Tech in the B12 I guess if you apply the tiebreaker

  12. UT finishes higher than Tech in the final AP By a mile

  13. Coach Mangino manufactures a controversy Not that I know of

  14. The SEC is decided by a blocked field goal attempt. It was a blocked PAT that was of importance, but it did not decide the championship

  15. Junell is still gay at season's end. Last I heard, he lost both his heterosexuality and his dignity in a big game for which he had insufficient poker skills and bankroll.

  16. Kansas loses to South Florida Yes, sir
My Pools
Pool #1 Heath Pool
Cost was $31. Season long pool against the spread. I tied for third (would be $780) but lost the tiebreaker by 1 point and got 4th ($520). I also tied for a weekly prize, taking home $75 for that, too.

Pool #2 Hickey/Higon/Boyer Pool
Cost was $52. Season long pool straight up. I got first place (as I did in 03 and 07). I won $700 for my effort.

Pool #3 Watt Pool
Cost was $100. I lost on a controversial ruling. You bet on games based on the posted opening line on USA Today. They posted a line that was waaay off from the line on any other service. Rules is rules, so I bet it. They ruled that was a breach of (their interpretation of) the rules. That put me on tilt; then I lost.

Pools #4-6 Misc
I did three bowl pools. Total cost was $55. In each of the three, I was one correct pick away (i.e., the bubble boy) from getting money.

So, I netted $1,017. I have to give $200 to ARH for the second year in the row for the position we take in each others picks, so I end up with 8 hunksie. Maybe I should quit my job. Not really, but that is quite a bit better than Dr Fro did in the stock market. We aren't talking about that any more.

That's it for college football. It's just poker for the next two months. Then basketball. And jokes about Junell being gay. And heavy drinking.

4 Comment(s):

Posted by Anonymous Anonymous, at 2:53 PM, January 11, 2009  

good work. and remember this, jokes about Junell being gay are always funny. probably because there's a little truth in them...



Posted by Anonymous CKA, at 5:25 PM, January 12, 2009  

Great read...

I only have three things to add:

1) completely agree re: The Media Love Fest for Tebow... it was ridiculous, annoying, and bordering on unprofessional. Along those lines I recently got an email which is topical:

"Tebow Skips Senior Season, Ascends Directly Into Heaven

MIAMI (SP) -- Shortly after leading the Florida Gators to a national
championship with a 24-14 win over Oklahoma, junior quarterback Tim
Tebow announced that he would skip his senior season and ascend
directly into heaven.

Tebow entered the press room to wild applause. A reporter for a 24-
hour cable sports network burst into tears when the 2007 Heisman
winner entered the room. Another threw a pair of boxer shorts on the
podium. Tebow smiled at the gesture and several sports reporters

"Sorry I'm late," Tebow began. "There was a six-year-old boy with
cancer in row 54 and I had to make my way through the crowd to heal

"I want to start by saying that playing quarterback for the University
of Florida, winning two national championships, has been a great
honor. There has been some speculation about my future and I want to
clear that up right now," he continued.

"Don't go, Tim!" a reporter shouted from the back of the room.

"After much consideration, I have decided to skip my senior season at
the University of Florida and ascend directly into Heaven," Tebow
announced. Upon making the announcement, Tebow was bathed in a
blinding white light and vanished.

In response to the news, ESPN announced they will have a month-long
tribute to Tebow. ESPN2 will now be known as ESPN-TEBOW and will
feature Tebow highlights (including home videos of Tebow's childhood),
re-airings of past interviews, Tebow-centric analysis by ESPN air
personalities, a Tebow quiz show and a reality show to find the "most
Tebow-like" person in America.

"He wasn't just the greatest player in college football history," said
a college football writer at the press conference, tears streaming
down his face. "He might have been the greatest person to ever walk on

2) You can't really make this your FINAL post re: college football season can you? I recall you leaving this nugget in your prior post, "I'll have a summary later as well as a long post that has been in my head for a while on betting strategies in office pools."

3) Thank you for the props to the OWLS - we'll take it! Critics can say what they want: gimmicky offense, C-USA, Western Michigan, etc... but the fact is that was a historical season for the Owls riddled with impressive feats and records. The leadership and adversity overcome by these seniors is impressive. Only three regrets on the season: 1) wish aTm would have been on the schedule instead of UT, 2) Wish we would have played Tulsa later in the season, 3) wish we would have played the 2nd half vs Vandy like we had the first... Those 3 changes and Rice is this years Utah (right? Don't burst my bubble...)


Posted by Anonymous DHockster, at 8:32 AM, January 13, 2009  

Wasn't Utah this year's Utah? I'm just saying, is all.


Posted by Blogger Dr Fro, at 1:01 PM, January 13, 2009  

the betting pool post goes beyond just college football. It should include, inter alia, fantasy football and March Madness brackets


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