July 02, 2003
Winning isn't everything, but losing sucks

King Kaufman looks into the future following the ACC's raid of Miami and Virginia Tech from the Big East and sees big changes ahead:

At some point, the most athletically powerful schools are going to realize that the NCAA, with its picayune rules and transparent nonsense about "student-athletes" and all, is getting in the way of the real business of making money through big-time sports. Eventually, I think, there will be talk among the powerhouses of forming their own association, paying the players, having a playoff series and declaring a champion.

Imagine if Oklahoma and Miami and Florida State and Michigan and other titans only played each other. Every week a big game. No more fattening the schedule against Pivnick Tech at the beginning of the season. No more having to dutifully go beat the snot out of Baylor or Rutgers just because they happen to be in your conference. Imagine every game on Duke's basketball schedule being against the likes of Kansas, Kentucky and North Carolina.

Imagine it? Hell, I dream about that sort of thing every damn day. But not for the same reason that fans of those schools and the TV executives do.

See, if there were a sixty-or-so school SuperNCAA, which only featured the ESUs of the world butting heads against each other and no one else, it would mean that every year roughly half of those schools would end up with a losing record. I mean, not to be Mister States The Obvious here, but winning and losing is a zero sum game, and those losses have to go somewhere. Speaking as a fan of a lowly-regarded athletic program that's been twice abandoned by schools seeking salvation from their unworthy brethren, few things in this world give me more joy than the prospect of Florida State and Nebraska fans having to come to grips with a 4-7 campaign. If this comes to pass, I plan on writing a book on How To Cope With A Losing Football Team and making a fortune selling it to these chumps. Bring it on, fellas!

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 02, 2003 to Other sports | TrackBack

As long as there are schools like Nebraska and Florida State willing to pay guarantees to Whatsamatta U to play a football game, the Premier League of College Football will not come to pass. The school that comes closest to an all top 25 schedule is Notre Dame, however, even they play Navy every year, and Rutgers every two to three.

Posted by: William Hughes on July 2, 2003 5:34 PM

I actually think it's the other way around - even if there's a SuperNCAA, schools like Rice and Troy State will continue to schedule "body bag" games because they need the money to support their football programs. That would be even worse than the admittedly awful setup we currently have. But I can dream, can't I?

Posted by: Charles Kuffner on July 2, 2003 5:41 PM

College football and basketball have similar problems, but they are addressed in different ways.

College football has one or two hundred too many bowl games (I'm waiting for the Hoover Vacuums Suck Bowl and the Trojan-EZ F**k You and the Horse and Rode In on Bowl) at the moment. Since a school only needs six wins to qualify for a bowl, they need to schedule cream puff games to pad the record.

In the proposed SuperLeague, the bowl games would have to be replaced by a national tournament, and there would have to room for teams in the lower tier to move and the worst teams in the upper tier to move down to allow for a school like Marshall.

Basketabll is actually worse, since every Division I school plays a cream puff pre-conference schedule. While the days of Wagner - College of Staten Island, Manhattan - Lehman and Georgetown - St. Leo are gone, there are still some games that make me scratch my head and say "Huh?". If a Division I school hosts a Tip-Off Tournament, bet the ranch that the other schools are overmatched.

If any college sport needed I-A and I-AA classifications, it is basketball.

Posted by: William Hughes on July 2, 2003 9:32 PM

Hughes and Kuff are both correct. The annual game between Nebraska and Southeastern Delaware State Technical College expresses the symbiotic relationship of the haves and have-nots in Div I football. Or, perhpas more accurately, the "dual parasitic" relationship. Big State U gets an easy win in front of a large home crowd, and Tiny Tot Tech gets a handsome payoff.

To an extent, the haves already are making life tough on the have-nots with new rules on minimum attendance, home game splayed against fellow Div I schools, and a minimum numbers of scholarships that must be endowed and granted. All this despite the seemingly obvious "problem" of having an FSU or Michigan go 3-8 or 4-7 every so often.

See http://www.sportingnews.com/voices/tom_dienhart/20020603.html for the full story.

(I attended the University of Texas in the late Eighties, so I already am painfully familiar with "elite" football programs with awful win-loss records.)

Posted by: Scott Lucas on July 2, 2003 11:54 PM

I've heard it reported that the ACC will petition the NCAA to get a waiver and let it have a championship game with an 11 school conference.

Initially, the Big 12 and SEC were thought to be opposed to this because it would give the ACC an unfair advantage by getting a big TV payout for the championship game and only splitting it 11 ways instead of 12 as they are required to do. (BTW - the SEC will only be splitting the check 10 ways this season. By being on probation which prevents them from appearing in the SEC championship game, Alabumble and Kentucky don't get a cut.)

However, they have gone back and thought about it and would likely support the ACC's waiver at least for a few years for 2 reasons. The SEC doesn't want to have to fend off the ACC trying to come in and take one of their schools for the 12th team like, Georgia, Florida, or former ACC member South Carolina. The Big-12 doesn't want that either because the SEC might look to raid one of their schools. Simply put they don't mind watching the dominos topple in the conferences below them, but they want to be left alone.

The second reason is that they would love to see the two ACC teams square off right before bowl season effectively eliminating the loser from the national championship hunt and perhaps a BCS bowl bid. They both watched last year as Ohio State and Iowa rambled through the season unbeaten in conference play tied for the Big-10 title and both in BCS bowls while never having to play each other. The SEC and Big-12 each ended up with only one team in BCS bowls - winning both BTW. They believe that had the misnamed Big 10 had a playoff, they may have eliminated one of them from the BCS. And allowing the ACC to play a championship game it may force the Big-10 to do so as well.

Posted by: Patrick on July 3, 2003 10:04 AM

Plz tel me that is winning everthing cause im doing this debate at school winning is everthing

Posted by: meina on January 19, 2004 1:10 PM