Tuesday, September 01, 2009

What Would Implode the BCS?
Not Inequity, But SEC Seceding

Ed Gunther has an interesting post yesterday ("How the BCS Will Die") about the scenario that would/could/should implode the BCS:

To oversimplify his argument, the moment when one BCS league sees its unbeaten team shut out of a title game by others from the "better" leagues. Say, if Cincinnati went undefeated but didn't make the title game because unbeaten Texas and 1-loss Florida were there instead. That snubbed league then lobbies the rest of the group internally for a playoff.

Regulars know that I agree about a BCS implosion scenario, but see it slightly differently: The best chance of seeing the BCS implode is if the SEC gets snubbed, then "secedes" (or, as I have put it "SEC-edes") from the BCS and forms its own "Eff-Off" playoff.

I think it's pretty clear that we were close to that a year ago, when Texas nearly out-pointed Florida for the right to meet Oklahoma in the BCS title game.

I think that if that had happened, Florida would have led the charge for the SEC to get out of the BCS and simply say, "If we have the best team in the country and that's still not good enough to break through the BCS formula, we simply withdraw and will crown our own champ."

As I have argued, it would be difficult -- if not impossible -- for the BCS to crown a "national" champ without the SEC's participation.

In fact, it makes very little competitive sense for the SEC (or Big 12) to participate in the BCS, given that their teams have great potential to be monumentally screwed over (despite qualitative reputational advantages); it makes very little economic sense too, given that the SEC could command billions for an 8-team playoff (an SEC-Big 12 playoff combo would command even more).

There would be no backlash from the NCAA -- remember, the NCAA is not affiliated with the BCS; the BCS is a cabal created by a select group of conferences.

The other leagues might be ticked, but their only recourse would be to come to the table to negotiate their way in to the SEC (or SEC/Big 12) playoff, rather than the other way around. (And if the Big Ten and Pac-10 don't want to be a part of it, they can feel free to opt-out; the backlash would come from their own fans and coaches.)

The problem with the Big East or ACC getting screwed like your average Mountain West or WAC champ is that the Big East and ACC have little competitive juice to stand on; nobody takes them seriously. But the SEC and/or Big 12? Without them, there IS no "national" title to be bestowed.

So if you want to see the end to the BCS, root for the SEC or Big 12 to get screwed out of a national-title spot in favor of a lower-tier BCS league champ with a "better" record.

-- D.S.


Unknown said...

so you're saying we should be rooting for an undefeated notre dame team to crash the bcs party?!?!!?

Steve Sprague said...

I agree that the SEC or Big 12 seceding would implode the BCS, however I disagree that an 8 team, all SEC playoff would generate billions of dollars. The top 3 to 4 SEC teams are very good, after that 3 or maybe even 4 of the 5-8 teams would be unranked. Plus, after we just saw the regular season unfold why would we want to watch an all SEC playoff? Yes a SEC/Big 12 combo is stronger, but they still would need one more "Big 6" conference, or one or two "lower" tier conferences. The third conference from the big 6 would be the tipping point though. I agree with you. I'm rooting for both the SEC and Big 12 to produce a one loss champ that get's snubbed in favor of an undefeated team from one of the other four conferences.

MizzouHoops said...

Didn't this happen in 2004? Auburn (from, ahem, the SEC) was undefeated and left out. Also, Utah was undefeated. I can't remember who their coach was, but I think they had one.

Bushido Brown said...

its funny, everybody likes to talk about how the SEC and Big 12 have some incentive to leave the BCS, but meanwhile, the two conferences have DOMINATED that structure since it was created, winning a combined 7 of the 11 title games, and in fact had at least 1 of their teams in the game 9 of 11 times...

but the talk of the SEC and Big 12 does benefit them in one way...it helps to convince voters just how dominant the conferences are, and helps to propel them to the top...ultimately, the SEC and Big 12 benefit far to much from the current structure to ever abandon it, even if they act like they might

Lou Pickney said...

Don't forget that Auburn went unbeaten in 2004 yet ended up shut out of the BCS.

DOzment said...

Interesting... but think about this. If the SEC left the BCS it would not need the Big 12 to follow. Rather, with just a couple phone calls the SEC could wrangle the Big East, ACC, and Mountain West into its own play-off system. Seeding and qualitying could be skewed towards the SEC... 8 teams comprised of 4 SEC teams, 1 each from the other 3 and 1 non-SEC wildcard.

If the BCS didn't crumble immediately, it would force a final championship game between the 2 systems - the SEC wing and the Pac10, Big10, Big 12 wing.

HOWEVER, here's why this will never happen - and why a playoff in our moden day system will not happen.

The cabal as you appropriately call it, is outside the jurusdiction of the NCAA... however, as soon as you start to say "playoff" you invoke NCAA jurisdiction. Adding a true playoff enables the NCAA to organize the brackets and seeding and matchups (think selection Sunday for basketball)... and this means power and money for teh NCAA.

College presidents can (and will) hide behind acedemics as the reason for no playoff because none of them wants to go on record saying that they are against giving the NCAA more power... such a public statement would land their institution in the cross hairs of the infractions committee.