Saturday, November 27, 2010

Boise State Loses! But They're Still Awesome!!!

As you might have noticed, the media darling of Boise State football lost in OT last night.

All season, blowhards have been whining about how unfair it would be that BSU wouldn't get the chance to play in the title game, even if they finished undefeated. Rick Reilly went on and on about how bad the BCS, arguing that the "computers TKO Boise State". Well, looks like BSU TKO'd itself.

So just today, Gene Wojecehjogiaski came out with an article titled "Despite Boise's Loss, non-AQ's belong". Now, of course one game doesn't constitute enough evidence to make a judgment about a whole system, but last night's game is a piece of evidence that affirms the points of view of the Gordon Gees of the world and damages the opposing points of view of the Gene Wojs of the world: competition in non-BCS conferences is generally not up to the same standard, and, consequently, teams from those conferences should get lower preference for BCS bowl bids.

Gene's whole article isn't worth a thorough examination, as most of it explains the reasons for Nevada's win. The most interesting stuff comes at the end, when Gene asks Nevada coach Chris Ault if WAC teams can play with the AQ conferences, and he said that "Ohio State wouldn't beat Boise State". It's kind of stupid for journalists to ask these coaches these things, beacuse like what the hell else would they say? But I guess that's their job.

Here's where the article gets bad:

Anyway, this is the win that will keep on giving. It was a hard-fought victory for all those Little Sisters of the Poor programs -- the same sometimes-scruffy non-automatic qualifiers Gee so casually mocked with his comments.

Actually, this game is just the opposite. By proving the BSU was more of the caliber of the Nevadas of the world and less the caliber of the Auburns of the world, this win actually devalues the LSoP programs, since their best just proved to be ... not that great.

For years the non-AQs have been forced to jump through BCS hoops. Now TCU could be bumped up to BCS first class if No. 1 Oregon or No. 2 Auburn falters in its final game.

And things are as they should be.

Make no mistake: TCU is now positioned for a long-shot national title try not because of the BCS "system," but in spite of it. Maybe that's what makes it easier to root for the Horned Frogs and Wolf Packs of the world.

Make no mistake: both Auburn and Oregon have proved themselves clearly more impressive than TCU this season. Each of those teams deserves their spot. The BCS system is working just fine. While it might not be perfect, sportswriters' hand-wringing and fulminating about its errors is far disproportionate to its actual evil.


Chris W said...

I don't know that Auburn has clearly proven themselves to be "Clearly more impressive" than TCU. Auburn has squeaked out nearly 99.99999% of its wins this season, some by perilously narrow margin. TCU has allowed like a grand total of 2.5 points on defense all season.

Larry B said...

I'm very annoyed with the Dan-Bobs of the world and their "SEE?!?!?! SEE?!?!?!? TOLDJA TOLDJA TOLDJA" tone after the BSU/Nevada game. What exactly did we see? This post, and other posts/articles like it, is premised on the idea (not really examined or proven, just stated as fact) that Boise and TCU were the only half-decent LSoP schools, and Nevada is clearly a bunch of nobodies so once they beat BSU that made BSU nobodies as well. Nevada's only loss is at Hawaii (never a fun road trip), and Hawaii's only losses are to USC, Boise, and Colorado. Does that mean that clearly Nevada is a top 10 team and their last second win over Boise shouldn't cause us to think any differently about Boise? Of course not. But the opposite position, advocated by the Dan-Bobs of the world, is no sure thing either.

If we're going to have a real discussion about this issue, we can't automatically resolve all issues in dispute in the favor of the big conferencephiles. We can't just automatically say "Oh BSU losing to Nevada proves that BSU was weak" [obvious issue: how good was Nevada? Obviously the DBs of the world think they weren't good, but maybe they're a top 10 team] "but Auburn's last second wins over Clemson, Kentucky, and Mississippi State show how strong Auburn is." [obvious issue: how good are those other teams? People who luuuuuuuuv big conferences will make some argument about how Kentucky would go undefeated every year in the WAC, but I'm not buying it]

Of course, the best way to settle these arguments is on the field. Too bad ALMOST NO BIG CONFERENCE TEAMS WILL PLAY TEAMS LIKE BOISE OR TCU (big ups to Georgia for agreeing to play BSU), which makes people like Gordon Gee look like even bigger assholes for their lame elitism. Gordon Gee can go fuck himself with a golf club for those comments. I know he speaks more from his financial interest than from a deeply-held opinion that TCU and Boise aren't any good, but he's still a world class doucheball in my book.

I'm not a blind, fanatical supporter of LSoP schools but I am certainly a measured, reasonable supporter of them. The 2007 Fiesta Bowl and the 2009 Sugar Bowl showed me a lot. (Admittedly, the 2008 Sugar Bowl also showed me quite a bit too, but the LSoP schools have a 2-1 advantage when playing against the big boys in a big bowl.) Call me crazy but I feel like college football is better, and more fun, when more good teams play each other. Shutting out/handicapping schools because they don't play in big conferences (yet) makes things less exciting, not more. I would have been annoyed if Boise and TCU had won out and missed the title game because Oregon and Auburn won out. It wouldn't have been the end of the world, but I'd have been disappointed, especially if they'd been forced to play each other in a BCS bowl again. But I'll be absolutely livid if Auburn loses the SEC championship game and still plays for the national title. TCU handled their shit, period.

dan-bob said...

For what it's worth, I feel the same way that you do about the BCS championship game: if TCU is undefeated, it should be in the title game over any non-undefeated team.

One game (or three bowl games) isn't really enough evidence to constitute judgment about a whole system. I'm sorry if my post didn't convey it, I'm an advocate of the following improvements to college football:

Regarding the BCS championship game:
1. Undefeated non-BCS conference teams going to the championship game over one-loss BCS conference teams.
2. Undefeated non-BCS conference teams getting second priority for the title game slots to undefeated BCS-conference teams.

Regarding the longer-term interests of college football:
3. Better out-of-conference scheduling by BCS conference teams.
4. A larger movement within NCAA football to deemphasize the roles of conferences in the larger interest of college football.

And really, (4) is the most important one, because that will mean the end of the arbitrary judgments that every fan and AP voter is forced to make about the quality of each conference each year.

While my post was somewhat flippant about this debate (as this blog generally is), I hope this clarifies my position.

Chris W said...