College football playoff system on drawing board
Most of the dyed-in-wool college football fans have been unhappy about the season-ending BCS Bowl Championship Series that would determine each season’s national champion.
Last week 11 conference commissioners met to hash out a “better idea” of determining the best-of-the-best college football team that would “earn” the title of National Champion.
However, the master plan this crew representing collegiate football came up with is certainly not going to determine a “true national champion” anytime soon.
What it will do is sweeten the coffers of the various football conferences way beyond what they were knocking down with the BCS Bowl Championship Series.
Just in television rights alone, a playoff stands to bring in at least $300 million a year. The current BCS and Rose Bowl deals are worth about $155 million.
Early Saturday morning the website www.NewsObserver.com published a synopsis of what the commissioners were to present to the BCS Presidential Oversight Committee when it convened in Washington Tuesday.
According to the website, the conference commissioners last weekend agreed to present to the Oversight Committee a plan for a four-team playoff, or a Plus One, which the details were supposed to be “massaged out” Tuesday when the Oversight Committee meets.
“Anyone who thinks going to a four-team playoff, or a Plus One, is going to end the controversy (of getting a true national champion), they’re naïve,” Pac-12 Commissioner Larry Scott told the Los Angeles Times after last week’s meeting.
“Unless you go to an eight or 16-team playoff– and I don’t see that happening in the foreseeable future– you’re going to have debate,” Scott predicted.
Scott said the Plus One model he championed—a title game after the bowls are played—will be offered to the presidents. The presidents could scrap everything the commissioners have worked on for months, but that is highly unlikely.
Scott and Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany have come to terms with the four-team model in exchange for assurances the new system has emphasis on conference performance, strength of schedule and some protection for the Rose Bowl, the website stated.
The new plan calls for national semifinals to be rotated among the existing bowls, meaning the “granddaddy” Rose Bowl will every-so-often get to serve as a “rest stop on the yellow brick road.” The BCS championship game already made the high-profile bowls less relevant.
The Rose Bowl will continue to be host to only Pac-12/Big Ten champions unless one—or both—of those schools finish in the top four. Only in that case, the Rose Bowl can choose replacement teams from their affiliates.
The four-team playoff, pushed hard since 2008 by Southeastern Conference Commissioner Mike Slive, appears to tilt everything toward the SEC, whose teams have won the last six BCS titles.
There are too many uneven planks for this sport to ever be fair, the website pointed out. The Pac-12 plays nine league games compared to eight for the SEC.
The Pac-12, starting in 2017, will begin an annual non-conference series against the Big Ten. USC will play nine conference games plus Notre Dame and a Big Ten opponent every year. Florida hasn’t left the state for a non-conference game since 1991.
Scott and Delany are determined to offset some of these discrepancies. “We’re not going to agree to a four-team playoff without changes to the system that value being a conference champion and strength of schedule,” Scott said.
Speculation is that the college presidents will approve the four-team playoff plan and that a major college football champion will be decided by a playoff for the first time starting in 2014.
“We’re excited to be on the threshold of creating a new post-season structure for college football that builds on the great popularity of our sport,” Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said last week.
The commissioners have been working on restructuring college football’s post-season since January. Last week’s meeting was the sixth formal get-together of the year.
The two semi-finals would be worked into the existing major bowls and the site of the national championship game will be bid out to any city that wants it the way the NFL does it with the Super Bowl.
Under the proposed plan, the semi-finals would rotate among the major bowls and not be tied to traditional conference relationships. They also said that a selection committee would choose the schools that play for the national championship.
KWICKIES…Our Houston Astros scored seven or more runs in back-to-back games for the first time this season when they whipped the then-first-place Cleveland Indians 8-1 Saturday and 7-1 Sunday. Hopefully this trend will continue as they welcomed the weak-hitting San Diego Padres to Minute Maid Park Monday for a four-game series. The Padres come to town with the National League’s last-place offense, scoring only 3.05 runs in their spacious park in San Diego and an improved 3.67 runs on the road. The Astros are averaging nearly 4 ½ runs per contest so far this season. One thing the Astros do lead the National League in is wild pitches, tying the Colorado Rockies with 34 wild chunks.
July is the month when most of the major baseball trades occur. The Houston Astros are still trying to dump the high salaries of lefty starting pitcher Wandy Rodriguez and reliever Brett Myers, both of whom are having good years. With the emergence of youngsters Dallas Keuchel, Lucas Harrell and Jordan Lyles and the continuing success of Bud Norris, Wandy wouldn’t be missed that badly if he were dealt to a contending team next month. Even Carlos Lee would be a valuable commodity for a team looking for a designated hitter or a 36-year-old first baseman if they’re willing to pick up the remainder of his $18 million salary.
I visited with Skip Moore, president of the West Orange-Stark Athletic Organizations Monday afternoon at Sunset Grove Country Club right after the First Annual Mighty Mustangs Golf Tournament concluded and he said the event was “successful beyond expectations.” Mustangs’ head football coach and athletic director Cornel Thompson was pleased with the auctioning of various sports memorabilia and said they were looking forward to a bigger and better event next year. Moore added that whatever items weren’t sold at the auction would be raffled off at each Mustang home football game this fall.
Sunday’s games ended inter-league play for the season and for the ninth year in a row the American League topped the NL, 142-110. The Houston Astros went 6-9 in inter-league play (Texas Rangers 1-5, Chicago White Sox 2-1, Kansas City Royals 1-2 and Cleveland Indians 2-1).
Although many pro basketball fans were rooting for the Oklahoma City Thunder in the NBA Championship Series, the Miami Heat had too much veteran talent and merely overpowered the Thunder in five games, giving Most Valuable Player LeBron James that elusive championship ring he has been seeking for the last three years.
Congrats to former Orangefield and Sam Houston State basketball University star Katie Sanders who was just named the new head basketball coach for the Orangefield Lady Bobcats. She replaces Chris Jost who left the Lady Bobcats program to take a job with Marble Falls High School. This will be Katie’s first high school head coaching position, following in the footsteps of her high school coach Sondra Ancelot, who also played for the Lady Bobcats and then later coached them.
Former CBS and ESPN football analyst Craig James, who left his job with ESPN to run for the U.S. Senate, will not return to ESPN this fall. James, 51, placed fourth in the nine-man Republican primary race and said he has been contacted by other networks to gauge his interest in returning to TV. “I don’t know what I’m going to do,” James told the Houston Chronicle last week. “I love sports, but I also feel strongly about staying involved in fighting for public policy.” He has committed to support Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst against Tea Party candidate Ted Cruz in the July 31 GOP runoff.
JUST BETWEEN US…Dave Campbell’s Texas Football Magazine, the unofficial annual “bible” for high school and college football in the Lone Star State, hit the newsstands last week. Vidor head coach Jeff Mathews was named the Class 4A Coach of the Year by the magazine for turning the Pirates around from a 2-8 team in 2010 to a 10-3 team that went to the third round in the state playoffs last season. The Pirates were picked to finish seventh in District 20-4A last season by Texas Football and finished in a tie for second place. This year the Pirates are picked to finish second behind Nederland while the West Orange-Stark Mustangs are once again picked by the magazine to win District 21-3A. Silsbee is a close second, Bridge City third and Orangefield fourth. WO-S is ranked in the top 25 in Class 3A with six teams ranked ahead of them including No. 4 Coldspring, which is in the same region.