College Football: SEC’s Overall Strength is Taking Advantage of their Non-Conference Scheudling


In response to a blog post on the www.espn.com website, dated June 26, 2013, within their college football blogs, under the SEC blog, authored by Chris Low, who writes for ESPN titled: “Will SEC’s overall strength be its undoing?”.

After reading this blog post by the author which is multi-fold of chest thumping, boasting for the SEC football conference, their 7 straight “national titles” and how they are more than likely going to win the 8th. In addition to, making an assessment that the remaining FBS college football programs are inching closer to “de-throwning” the SEC, possibly this year or will the SEC basically “self-implode” beating each other to eliminate them from the discussion of playing for their 8th straight national championship title. The article is written from a hedonistic point of view, but never really tells the whole truth. As Joe Friday said on Dragnet “Ma’am, just the facts, just the facts is all we want”.

The first comment that caught my attention 1st was “The Crimson Tide will almost certainly start the 2013 season ranked No.1 in the country, meaning we could very easily be talking about eight in a row a little more than six months form now”. I have a question that pertain to this comment. Just curious, who has Alabama played since the end of the 2012-2013 season and bowl season to earn that No. 1 status? Please, tell me, I don’t think the college football audience and fans missed a game. They would not televise a college football now would they.  I understand that being the national champion makes you the one that everyone is chasing, but no games have been played to determine who should be No.1 at the start of the season.

The next comment published by Chris Low, “After all, how many times will the SEC not get two teams in the College Football Playoff?” Is Chris Low insinuating that when the playoff system that starts with the 2014 season, that the SEC is “entitled” to 2 of the 4 spots from the selection committee? Or is Chris Low insinuating that the SEC will always have automatic representation in the 4-team playoff format? Seems to me that he is under the perception that the SEC is “entitled to 2 of the 4 spots, no matter what the remaining 111 FBS/NCAA football programs do. Sounds like “entitlement” to me. From my educational mind set, experience and research with the next 4-team playoff format; with the significant number of only 3% to be selected to this playoff format, then there should not be duplicate members from one conference.

The next comment that was published by Chris Low  “The growing legions of fans tired of seeing the SEC win all the time (convinced the current system using polls and computer favor the SEC)”. I can significantly prove without a shadow of a doubt, that the SEC does manipulate the computer systems in several ways. The SEC coaches and athletic administrators have found ways to take significant advantage of their non-conference schedule by playing more HOME games than road games. This numerical advantage significantly impacts all 6 computer analysis programs one way or another. Since 1996, the SEC does possess the highest conference rate for the non-conference home field advantage scheduling among all FBS conferences, at a rate of 79.8%. Of those non conference games scheduled by the SEC, they play 8 out of every 10 non conference games as group, played at home. In addition to the group, non-conference scheduling practices and rates, Alabama also possesses the highest home field non conference scheduling rate of all FBS programs at 90.1%, since 1996. That means Alabama plays 9  out of 10 HOME non conference games, which means 1 road game every 2 1/2 to 3 years. Those are the hard real facts.

Research performed by Jeremy Jamieson (2010), ” The Home Field Advantage in Athletics: A Meta-Analysis” and R. Pollard and G. Pollard (2005) “Long Term Trends in Home Field Advantage in Professional Team Sports in North America and England” both support the home field advantage theory in which the SEC takes full advantage of. What many media outlets fail to report are the significance of the non-conference scheduling advantages that the SEC takes in their practices and how they impact the subjective polls, in addition to the impact  those extra non conference home games effect the 6 computer systems that evaluate and rate FBS programs.

The ultimate questions is who will “de-thrown” the SEC and take the title away? I can only hope that Chris Low is correct about the SEC being the cause of their own demise. If the SEC creates increased mediocrity within the SEC conference during the 2013 season, then hopefully they wont have representation in the last BCS title game. However, the subjective voters will find a way to place a 2-loss SEC team in the national championship game over any 0-loss or 1-loss BCS or Non-BCS program. When the 4-team playoff format starts in the 2014 season, we will see how the selection committee uses their analytical assessment to select the right 4 teams to compete for the national championship. I can hypothesize that the first 4 teams selected will be all BCS programs, thus leaving the Non-BCS programs out in the cold again. Thus, increasing the next debate of when do we increase to 8 or even 16 teams in the playoff format.

My book “College Football in the BCS Era, The Untold Truth: An Analysis of Factors that Supports the 16-Team Playoff Model” available at www.lulu.com

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College Football: Big East Changes Name to American Athletic Conference, BCS status pulled


As college football starts to embark on the 2013 football season in about 8 weeks, the Big East, prominent basketball conference and historic football conference, will have the BCS automatic conference bowl game tag removed. The 2013 season will be the last season that the Big East/American Athletic Conference will receive any automatic BCS bowl berth worth $17 Million dollars to the conference. When the 2014 college football season starts, the American Athletic Conference will be dismissed and become one of the Non-BCS conferences and become part of the so called “Group of Five”. This is like King Arthur telling one of his knights of the round table, ” You are now at peasant status, off you go and join the non-worthy public. You were useful to me when I needed you, now off you go to peasant status. Until you can fortify my kingdom with credible worth, you will no longer be part of our group. No matter what you do, your status from now on is peasant”. Voted out by the other knights of the round table and King Arthur himself.

The loss of Miami(Fla.), Penn State, Boston College, West Virginia, and Virginia Tech hurt the Big East conference as a football conference. Temple was never a competitive football program, but has returned after being a gypsy among the other FBS programs and conferences. With the current loss of Syracuse, Rutgers and soon Louisville and Pittsburgh will depart, this leaves the original Big East membership status at 0. During the time of the Big East football conference days, they were the a highly competitive football conference with those programs winning national titles and playing in prestigious bowl games. They have now moved on or were “lured away” to other football conferences because of the perceived notoriety those conferences possess. The Big East has always wanted new FBS programs to become part of that automatic bid conference. Even when the prominent programs were leaving, the Big East remained competitive and true to their brand.  Is status and name association that important to the NCAA that even though musical chairs have been played in all conferences, why must the Big East lose its BCS status? It seems to me that the NCAA and the BCS only want the best representation that promotes their image and marketing plan. With new FBS football programs entering the Big East, King Arthur believes that those new FBS programs are not viable products for BCS status. What is so interesting about these new Big East/American Athletic Conference football programs is they all compete under the same rules and regulations as all of the NCAA/FBS football programs. But since they are not of quality, like King Arthur said “You are not worthy any more, you are now a peasant”. Seems that King Arthur can do whatever he wants with his kingdom with no repercussions of his actions.

What if an SEC football member who lacks credibility within their own conference, such as Kentucky, Vanderbilt or Mississippi, said they wanted to join the American Athletic Conference. The possible reason for any one of them leaving the SEC would be, hey “we believe that we can actually win that conference, run the table, have 10 win seasons, rather than have a good SEC football season once every 10 years”. Does the American Athletic Conference then regain its BCS membership because King Arthur sent one or two of his knights into another region and return the credibility of the conference? ” I send you worthy BCS programs to compliment your conference thus your status is returned to BCS, because I don’t need any of my knights from my round table not to have the opportunity to earn $17 Million dollars”. At what point does the NCAA step in and say enough.

If I recall, does not all 125 FBS football members play by the same football rules, recruiting rules, academic rules, practice rules, number of games, number of time outs, size field and same football. Then why must the NCAA allows segregation into two groups; King Arthur and his round table and the peasants? The only thing that has changed is the amount of money that television wants to be associated with specific conferences to market and promote the so called “best conferences and programs” I know the American Athletic Conference will be a successful football conference as the seasons progress. I hope that when an American Athletic Conference member plays or is asked to play a BCS conference program, they compete and win. Then as the American Conference gains credibility they will continue to be asked to schedule BCS programs. What the American Athletic Conference and the remaining Non-BCS conferences should say to the BCS programs is,  “Sorry, either you play in our stadiums or we don’t play at all. We have bowed to King Arthur and his rules for to long, making accommodations to your needs to always play in your stadiums for 15+ years while you receive the accolades, notoriety and large sums of money.  Time for you to spend some of that money you keep holding on to and put into travel arrangements to Non-BCS Conference programs”.

I wish the American Athletic Conference great success as they build student athlete success and National Championships.


4-Team Playoff Format Superior or Expanded Playoff Format???


In response to a June 19, 2013 posting in the Inside Higher ED webpage pertaining to “Keeping College Playoff at 4 Teams, Faculty Group Pleads”, the 1-A Faculty Athletic Representatives group wish to discourage any expanded playoff format more than the 4 team system that will be implemented with the 2014 FBS season. This article was a link from a linkedin.com posting by one of the groups I follow, by Mark Majeski, in which I read. Brian Shannon, President of the 1-A faculty group and Charles (Tex) Thornton; Professor of Law at Texas Tech are opposed to any further playoff system and quote “The four-team College Football Playoff design is far superior to any expanded playoff system that would add more teams playing more games over more weeks, thereby further interfering with academic obligations, inevitably overlapping with final exams and extending into the second semester, and increasing risks for serious injury” (Inside Higher ED, 2013). These claims all though sound, lacks sufficient evidence to support the statements made by both Shannon and Thornton within their concern about an expanded playoff format.

From my educational experience, research and vast knowledge on this topic, their concerns and arguments are like Lorraine Swiss Cheese, possessing many holes in their argumentative points. Their first comment about the 4-team playoff design being far superior to any expanded playoff format, is very delimiting. The NCAA operates 88 NCAA Championship playoff type formats with large member, expanded playoff pools and formats. Why should not one of America’s favorite past-times and traditions with the passage into Fall and the start Fall classes, be excluded from an expanded playoff format? The four-team playoff format is a step in the right direction, but still possesses many major issues that are still currently prevalent in the BCS system used now.  From the group of faculty representatives position, they only want to invite a small sample size of 3% of the current 125 FBS programs to compete in college football, for the national championship at the FBS/NCAA D-1 Football level. The 88 national championship tournaments operated by the NCAA offers 20% or more of the member institutions or individuals to compete for and be called a national champion of their NCAA respective sport and competition. The incorporation of just the 4-team format, places the decision making process, assessment and selection process in a group of 8-12 committee members hands who ultimately possess a Democritus position since millions of $$’s are on the line for the program and conference. Limiting the sample size to determine a national champion in college football at the FBS/NCAA level is very hedonistic, because we are not offering all prominent programs with credible records during that competitive season to compete for the national title, also known as the Boise State’s, Nevada’s, Louisiana Tech’s, Northern Illinois’s, Hawaii’s and other Non-BCS conferences and programs that possess national notoriety.

The second comment stated by Shannon and Thornton about adding more teams and weeks would interfere with academic obligations and final exams and into the second semester.  Is it not possible that an expanded playoff format could be implemented with those aspects in mind with the regard to academics and final exams? In my book “College Football in the BCS Era, The Untold Truth: An Analysis of Factors that Supports the 16-Team Playoff Model, examined that very comment and created a playoff format that took into account this main argument and others arguments. Did Shannon and Thornton take into account that conference championship weekend, the first weekend in December possibly interferes with finals week and academic obligations of the student athletes. College post season bowl season does not start until just prior to 3rd weekend of December or the 17th or 18th, which indicates that the bowl committees have already taken into to account for academics and finals week. As for more teams playing more weeks, the weeks in which an expanded playoff format would occur, would be completed during the between semesters break of Fall into Spring. The current championship game and the future 4-team playoff format will and does now extend into the second semester for many larger high profile universities that compete at the FBS/NCAA level of college football. The 16-team playoff format in which I created and designed, ends at the same time as the current championship game does now. The 4-team format will inevitably be pushed directly into the second semester, since television will possess some decision making process into when the final game will be played in January.

As per the comment about increasing risk of serious injuries to the student athletes, injuries are part of all sports and activities. Proper conditioning and training will not only prepare these student athletes for this expanded playoff format, but significantly decrease the chance of any serious injury. Does Shannon and Thornton not think that these coaching staffs and training staffs are not qualified to condition, care for and prepare these student athletes for extra games? Please give credit to these highly educated athletic training staffs and conditioning coaches for their just do, for keeping the student athletes healthy all season long.

The implementation of an expanded “inclusive and fair” playoff format  for all 125 FBS and future FBS programs to be considered to compete in, will more than significantly be financially beneficial to the NCAA and college football. A 16-team playoff format, will currently allow 12.8% of the FBS programs to compete for the national championship in college football at the FBS/NCAA level. That’s a 400% more participation rate than the 3% the faculty representatives want. The 12.8% participation is a square number, utilitarianistic number and allows for great games to be played between evenly matched programs to determine advancement to the next rounds. Another positive aspect to an expanded playoff format like the 16-team format, allows for time switchers and casuals to attend this high profile playoff event, without placing ticket requirements on alumni and athletic departments to purchase a large number of tickets, like they do with bowl games and sometimes left holding extra tickets and a financial loss. The casuals, time switchers, along with the 37 million college football fans, will increase the revenue taxed based dollars in those specific football and bowl site communities where these games are played. Why must we limit attendance to these high profile bowl games to alumni and ivory tower members? Is college football and the playoff format not for all spectators to attend and be part of, just like winning a National Championship should be available to all FBS programs to earn, and not just the  6 or 5 BCS conferences with 69 BCS programs.

Without an expanded playoff format in college football at the FBS/NCAA level, the NCAA and selection committee are hedonistically keeping those athletic accomplishments and dreams of those Non-BCS conferences, programs, players, coaches and fans to be called a National Champion in the sport in which they have a passion for. In a peer reviewed journal article written by Stephen Finn (2009), in the Journal of  the Philosophy of Sport, ” In Defense of the Playoff System” , Finn made interesting arguments for a playoff format. The current system in use by the NCAA for FBS college football is more like a season long championship with human subjectivity and computerized systems to determine the final 2 FBS programs to compete for the National Championship in college football. Finn(2009) states ” A season long championship includes narrative possibilities that offer enriching experiences, but a playoff system provides us with, to put it simply, a better story. A playoff system, by contrast, offers a culminating event that increases tension and drama; it produces more uncertainty and thereby heightens one’s interests in the outcome; it allows for a distinction between types of games, where athletes are challenged in different ways.” I believe Finn, along with my research and book, are onto something that educated commissioners, college chancellors and presidents are afraid to admit, but they respect the use of higher educational knowledge, learning and peer reviewed journal articles to assist in making decisions.

The link to purchase my book is on the front page of my blog page or go to www.lulu.com and search for the title “College Football in the BCS Era: The Untold Truth”.

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