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Tag:BCS
Posted on: October 17, 2010 8:43 pm
Edited on: October 17, 2010 9:20 pm
 

BCS rankings bad news for Boise State

Posted by Adam Jacobi

The BCS rankings were just released on ESPN, and seeing Boise State at No. 3 is, at this point, trouble for the Broncos.

What's important to note here is that the BCS standings are, for the most part, resume rankings, and unlike teams in the power conferences, the cream of Boise's resume is done. Yes, the Broncos play in the WAC, but they've only played two of those eight games against that WAC competition thus far. Meanwhile, cupcake non-conference schedules are still being more heavily considered than conference games at this point in the season.

In other words, Boise State's not going to make its case on the field any better than it already has from here on out.

Now, this isn't to say that Boise State's chances are completely doomed; far from it. The Broncos are still ranked third in the BCS rankings, and there isn't much chance of them dropping any games and submarining their title chances from here until the end of the season. If Oregon or Oklahoma lose, the Broncos are in decent position. Their problem is that if teams like Auburn or LSU go undefeated, those teams are basically locks to pass Boise State -- and TCU's certainly not out of the picture, with its high-profile Mountain West Conference schedule still yet to come.

Still, though, the fact remains that Ohio State, Alabama, and Nebraska have all lost, and Boise State still needs help to get into the title game. That's not good news for the Bronco faithful in Idaho tonight.

Posted on: October 13, 2010 12:57 am
 

Is it time to overhaul the Coaches Poll?

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most odious aspects of the BCS -- and let's be clear, there are very many -- is the fact that the Coaches Poll constitutes one-third of the voting for the standings. If the poll's involvement weren't already accepted as normal, it would sound absurd: the selected coaches (or their selected assistant who actually fills these things out without attribution), given about 20 hours after the conclusion of their games, are tasked with ranking 25 out of the 120 teams in the FBS. The coach will never gameplan for, or have anything more than a cursory opinion about, the vast majority of these teams. The more time the coaches spend researching the poll, the less time they have to do their job (which isn't one with a great deal of spare time to begin with).

Thus, we get the same win-go-up, lose-go-down lazy polling that we can very well get from the AP already. What's the point? Does adding yet another hastily arranged Top 25 to the BCS add any merit? Moreover, isn't it a waste of what the coaches bring to the table for the BCS? Coaches do have exemplary abilities when it comes to evaluating other teams, after all, but that skill is primarily used in the daily rigmarole of their job, which is to say, on teams that they're actually going to play at some point.

So let's embrace that: have every single coach participate in the new coaches poll by ranking only their 12 opponents. As with traditional polls, a no. 1 gets the highest value (in this case 12), a no. 2 gets 11, and so on down the line. You know, like a normal poll. Now, since this is necessarily grading only FBS play (unless fans really want to see Montana come in at no. 8 in the poll or something similar), the teams with an FCS opponent are only going to be ranked by 11 opponents, so the rankings will be by average value instead of total.

Does this unfairly reward good teams in weak conferences (see: Boise State)? Well, maybe when it comes to their rankings relative to their conference pals. But look at who Boise's opponents are playing. Oregon State also plays TCU and Oregon. Wyoming got Boise, TCU, Utah, and Texas for this season (yes, Texas tanked, but that's an anomaly). Lowly San Jose State? The Spartans see Boise State, Utah, Wisconsin, and Alabama. Boise State may have some control over their schedule, but they certainly have little control over who their opponents play, and that's going to matter in this poll. Meanwhile, Ohio State may play in a tougher conference, but does anyone seriously think any of the Big Ten's coaches would rank another conference member over OSU as long as the Buckeyes stay undefeated? Would anybody have put Alabama second in the SEC before South Carolina pulled the upset?

Also, once the season starts to get into its late stages, coaches will be able to rank these teams based on what they saw first-hand in actual gameplay. Will this result in some coaches ranking teams based largely on how they performed against that coach's team? Sure. That's called rewarding wins and punishing losses. In other words, it's the entire point of polling. And if a coach seriously thinks a team that's, say, 19th in the AP played his team better than the 11th-ranked team, well, that's information that absolutely deserves to be integrated into the poll -- and it's much easier to justify making that adjustment in this format instead of the win-go-up/lose-go-down cookie cutter Top 25s. 

Is this a perfect poll? No, of course not. There's still some value in a straight Top 25 poll, and the computer rankings have their merit. But if we're including coaches in the BCS process -- and we should! -- we should play to their strengths, not make them play pollster. This is how to do it.

Posted on: October 11, 2010 1:18 pm
 

Boise State could be atop BCS rankings

Posted by Tom Fornelli

No matter what you feel about the BCS system that college football currently uses to help determine its national champion, the fact is that it is that we're all stuck with it -- can you guess how I feel? -- for the time being.  We're also less than a week away from the first BCS rankings of 2010 to be released, as they'll come out on Sunday following this weekend's games.

According to some projections, chaos could be accompanying them.  Well, more chaos than usual.

Jerry Palm runs the website collegebcs.com , and according to his calculations, at the moment the top team in the BCS rankings would be none other than the Boise State Broncos.  Palm's ratings have the top five looking like this:
  1. Boise State
  2. Oregon
  3. TCU
  4. Oklahoma
  5. Ohio State
Yes, that's right, two of the top three teams in the BCS rankings currently come from non-AQ conferences in the WAC and Mountain West.  Ohio State, who is ranked first in both the AP, Coaches and Harris Poll, are in fifth thanks to one computer ranking having them ranked 22nd.

Granted, it's likely this will all change as Boise continues to play its WAC schedule.  Still, the fact that Boise State is ranked so highly now has to make some members of the BCS a bit queasy.
Posted on: October 5, 2010 7:41 pm
 

Playoff PAC takes aim at three BCS bowls

Posted by Adam Jacobi

One of the most intriguing subplots of last bowl season was the hot water the Fiesta Bowl found itself in for allegations of political tomfoolery, which is a no-no for a tax-exempt organization. The allegations, in a nutshell, were that director John Junker would privately urge employees to make campaign contributions to specific candidates or PACs, and the employees would be reimbursed with bonus checks. The allegations didn't really go anywhere, since that type of conduct is awfully hard to prove, but it was a signal that the heat is on the BCS bowls.

That heat's being felt at the highest levels, too; when senators Orrin Hatch (R-UT) and Max Baucus (D-MT) sent a letter to the BCS with several inquiries about the particulars of the BCS arrangement, BCS exectuive director Bill Hancock responded with a (and we're being charitable here) dismissive statement, saying "Congress has more important things to do" than investigate the BCS. That type of statement, from the director of an organization that oversees the distribution of tens of millions of dollars, is usually a giant red flag signaling that Congress might have a reason to investigate.

The scrutiny continues today, as Playoff PAC -- a PAC dedicated to busting up the BCS system in place -- recently issued a wide-reaching challenge of the tax-exempt status of three of the BCS bowls, alleging financial misdeeds by the Fiesta Bowl, Sugar Bowl, and Orange Bowl:

- Paul Hoolahan, CEO of the New Orleans-based Sugar Bowl, received a $645,000 salary in 2009, a nearly $200,000 increase from his 2007 salary.

- John Junker, CEO of the Arizona-based Fiesta Bowl, received a salary of nearly $600,000 from the bowl and related organizations in the fiscal year ending in 2009, a hefty bump from his 2006 salary of $415,000. Also, Junker and the bowl's then-vice president for marketing, Doug Blouin, both received $120,000 worth of zero-interest loans in the early 2000s, and Junker received an additional $4,500 loan whose interest level was not disclosed.

The AP independently confirmed the figures by reviewing the tax returns.

Naturally, citing the CEOs' salaries on their own would seem to be a contentious idea, inviting a reflexive "what do you have against rich people" from some who are well-versed in today's climate of identity politics. The context doesn't really help the bowls' case -- especially considering the complaint declines to allege misdeeds by the other two bowls, whose executives average $320,000 in annual salary:

Playoff PAC argued that the executive salaries are "above market" and "an abuse of their organizations' favorable tax status." The PAC cited a 2009 NonProfit Times survey, which calculated an average chief executive salary of $185,000 at nonprofits with similar operating budgets ($10 million-to-$25 million).

The biggest issue, though, would be the use of money on lobbying, and like with the no-interest loans, the primary offender here would be the Fiesta Bowl:

The complaint accuses the Fiesta Bowl of not disclosing lobbying activities. The IRS says that an organization can't qualify for 501(c)(3) status "if a substantial part of its activities" involves lobbying, although some lobbying is allowed.

The PAC noted that the Fiesta Bowl reported paying around $1.2 million in fees over the last five years to lobbying firm Husk Partners Inc., yet in each of the last five tax returns, the bowl checked "no" on whether it engaged in lobbying activities or attempted to influence legislation. In addition, the Fiesta Bowl registered with the Arizona Secretary of State lobbying disclosure system during this period.

Tax-exempt organizations are also forbidden from making campaign donations. Former Rep. J.D. Hayworth listed the Arizona Sports Foundation - the entity for the Fiesta Bowl - as making a $2,000 donation to his legal defense fund, prior to his unsuccessful challenge to Arizona Sen. John McCain in the GOP primary. The PAC said Hayworth was testing the waters for a Senate race, making the contribution suspect.

Today, four Congresspeople -- all representing districts containing or close to Mountain West schools -- urged action on this complaint, and it's entirely possible that the IRS moves forward. Is it politically motivated? Of course it is.

But Playoff PAC had better hope that if action is taken, it directly leads to the implementation of a playoff system. After all, even if these bowls are in the wrong, if they fix their problems and say "all better," what then? This isn't really an argument for a playoff at all, and it doesn't seem as if the BCS is going to be any more amenable to co-existing with a playoff afterwards than it was before.

Posted on: September 27, 2010 4:17 pm
Edited on: September 27, 2010 5:50 pm
 

Mike Riley is in Boise and TCU's corner

Posted by Tom Fornelli

Now that Boise State has gotten past Oregon State it's entirely possible that when the regular season ends both Boise and TCU could be undefeated.  Which, depending on how the rest of the college football landscape unfolds, could create some BCS chaos.  For argument's sake, let's pretend that Alabama, Ohio State and Oregon all finish the season with a loss and TCU and Boise are the only unbeatens left standing.  Also known as The Doomsday Scenario amongst the BCS.

Would you put them in the BCS title game?

A lot of people wouldn't, preferring a one-loss Alabama or what have you, as they'd argue that Boise State and TCU didn't play the same quality of competition.  Which is a valid argument -- unless you've seen a Tennessee or Georgia game this year -- that has a lot of merit, and one that I might be inclined to agree with.

Still, if either school is looking for someone to stand up and sing their praises, they won't have to look further than the head coach of the team that both of them have beaten this year: Mike Riley.

Although Riley artfully dodged choosing between them Saturday, he did make a fairly significant statement after the news media scrum dissipated. Riley said that Boise State and T.C.U. were worthy of their top-five rankings, something that some coaches from high-profile programs have been hesitant to admit.

“I give both T.C.U. and Boise tons of credit to be where they are,” Riley said. “I would not in any way begrudge their positions one bit. They’re both fine programs with really good players; they’re good teams, and they’re well coached.”


Riley even went on to say that both Boise and TCU's defenses are "about as quick and fast as we've played against ever."  Considering some of the USC defenses Riley has faced during his years in Corvallis, that's not praise to be taken lightly.

Neither are Boise State and TCU.



 
 
 
 
The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com