01 May 2008

Being an apologist for Jim Delany is easier than it sounds

Jon - Wonderful, enlightening, and surprisingly restrained (ha) post regarding our buddy, Jim Delany. I think one of Jim Delany's comments about the Plus One format and the Big Ten is quite telling. Delany commented (and I paraphrase): "Hey, if you look around, you will not see that much support for a Plus One format or a playoff, I would assume."

Delany is probably correct, oddly enough, because Delany spends time in boardrooms with college trustees, presidents, and businessmen who directly profit from the BCS and its set up. The BCS has been a tremendous boon for D-1 Major Football Conferences because of the way the bowls are setup. Gregg Easterbrook, the resident ESPN Page 2 football writer (mostly NFL, but he delves into NCAA) explains the numbers but I will sum it up: Every Big Ten program receives a fixed amount of TV money under the BCS format, so there is no changing format. Every year, the University of (Insert Big Ten School here) receives a set amount of TV and advertising money. The Big Ten gets 7 bowls, the Universities many programs get support, and everyone is happy. As Easterbrook points out, the BCS system is working exactly as it was planned out.

"Do you hear UCLA and North Carolina whining about not having a chance to play in the NCAA basketball final this year?  No...you never will"

Obviously, the idea that the BCS is working...is in the eye of the beholder. Jim Delany sees consistent money and exciting bowl match-ups (2008: Ohio St. v LSU, UM v Florida, Illinois v USC) and sees no problem. The normal NCAA football fan sees 1) computers deciding the best team in the land when a playoff system would be much better and 2) a hugely successful corporation (NCAA D-1 Football) rejecting the chance for the football equivalent of March Madness and seemingly rejecting a chance for more money.

But I will stop being an apologist for the BCS and Jim Delany for just one moment. If Jim Delany and others stood up at press conferences and said "We are making money and you get to see great matchups," I would feel better about things. But periodically, they will jump in and offer these rationalizations:
  • The BCS has done a wonderful job picking the championship match ups.
  • Adding more games would upset the players lifestyles and their academic schedules.
These half hearted "BCS Support" statements annoy me to no end. Why?
  1. It never fails that every year, 1 or 2 teams who feel they deserve to be in the national championship will end up complaining and complaining about their exclusion; and they end up turning a joyous season (not Christmas, Bowl season) into a time for wining. Do you hear UNC and UCLA whining about not having a chance to play in the NCAA Basketball final this year? No...you never will.
  2. To hear Athletic Commissioners whine about one extra game in January to protect an academic schedule makes me think out loud: "Aren't you the same commissioners who now allow a normal D-1 team to play 13-15 total games?"
Enough BCS for the night, lets enjoy and applaud John Cooper's admission into the College Football Hall of Fame. Much, much applause from the State of Michigan...oh would you look at that, the entire state is on their feet for this man. Wow - this man is truly revered in the State of Michigan. No idea why (check out the 5th paragraph).

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