Old School – Top 10 Contenders to the BCS Title Week 6

Week 6? What happened to Week 5? Well…. we had a lot of stuff going on in the Sports Spectrum offices. Last week we moved to a different location, so needless to say, it was a long week.

However, if I would have published a column last week, here’s what the top-10 contender list would have looked like:

Eliminated

Nebraska, South Carolina and Florida

Top 10 Contenders

10. Texas - 9. Georgia Tech - 8. Clemson - 7. Oklahoma State - 6. Oklahoma - 5. Boise State - 4. Stanford - 3. Wisconsin - 2. Alabama - 1. LSU

Now, a couple of weeks ago I concluded that corruption is the reason we don’t have a college football playoff.

In the current system, we determine a national championship game by a mix of human polls and computers, all of which have conference alignment and personal bias in the mix. (After all, the computer formula is formed by a human). And a lot of these guys who vote in the polls admit they don’t see all of the games, which is why the AP Poll pulled themselves out of the process in 2005.

It’s pretty insane that we determine who’s in the national championship game by opinion, when there is plenty of opportunity to let it be settled on the field.

This is why we have schools scrambling to get aligned with the best conference they can find, even if it makes very little sense geographically. (UPDATE: The Associated Press is reporting that the Mountain West and Conference USA are planning to join their conferences together to form a 22 team football conference.)

According to Yahoo Sports writer Dan Wetzel, a playoff system would make “$700 million more per year than the current bowl system produces.”

So, if there is more money to be made, and football games would determine a champion instead of human opinion, what are we waiting for?

More and more journalists are digging into the BCS and finding tons of dirt. Politicians have even begun to try to question the legality of it all. As of right now, there are ongoing criminal investigations into the Fiesta Bowl and its practices, and a federal investigation may be triggered for the Sugar Bowl for potential illegal political campaign contributions.

With that being said, here are some facts about the BCS process:

  • - Twenty-four of the bowls enjoy non-profit status, exempting them from federal, state and local taxes. 1
  • - In 2007, the Sugar Bowl received 3 million dollars from the Louisiana State government. The bowl made $34.1 million and made one charitable donation to the community; it gave $100,000 to help rebuild a local park damaged by Hurricane Katrina. 1
  • - Eighty percent of last year’s bowl money went to the BCS conferences (Big East, Big Ten, Big 12, PAC-12, SEC, ACC). 2
  • - More often than not, the bowl games themselves do not make a university much profit. Schools are responsible for selling an allotment of tickets. Even if the school does not sell them all, they are responsible for paying for all of those tickets. 1 So why would an athletic director take their school to a bowl that loses the university money?
  • - Most athletic directors also get a bonus when the football team makes a bowl of any kind. 1
  • - Most coaches receive a bonus when they make a bowl of any kind. 1
  • - In 2009, the Florida Gators only turned an estimated $50,000 profit from its trip to the 2009 BCS title game. They spent $960,000 in bonuses to coaches and athletic department staff, nearly $500,000 in travel and lodging expenses, $190,000 for meals and $320,000 on tickets for the athletic department. 3
  • - Forty-one percent of public universities playing in BCS bowls reported losses in money in the past six years. 2
  •  - Bowls spend money wooing top university decision makers to come play for at their bowl. Cruises, golf retreats, parasailing, etc. 1 2 And some of these guys are non-profit status?
  • - The average top bowl executive makes more than $500,000 a year. 2
  • - “Tempe, meanwhile, will pay the Fiesta Bowl $6.45 million through 2013 to host the Insight Bowl, another game that the Fiesta Bowl operates in Sun Devil Stadium. The city recently eliminated 211 ½ positions, and employees had to take furloughs.” 2
  • - Last year, Virginia Tech reported a $421,046 loss from the Orange Bowl. 2
  • - Lodging is preselected by the bowls. 2 If your hotel is too expensive, too bad.
  • - No team outside of the BCS Conferences has ever had the opportunity to play in a BCS Title game.

Sources: 1. Death to the BCS: Totally Revised and Updated: The Definitive Case Against the Bowl Championship Series by Dan Wetzel, Josh Peter, & Jeff Passan

2. “BCS – The Money. The Games. An Arizona Republic Investigative Series www.azcentral.com/news/bcs/

3. http://www.mentalfloss.com/blogs/archives/78756#ixzz1a8MNS0S1

I think you get the point. The athletic directors, the coaches, the university presidents, the bowl leaders (obviously), are all in on the scam, and the people who hurt for it are the student-athletes, the universities, and most importantly, the fans. By the way, you should definitely read the sources I cited.

Well, let’s get to what we can all enjoy…

There are only three top 25 match-ups this week, and the one I am looking at closely will be (AP No. 6) Oklahoma State traveling to Austin to take on the (AP No. 22) Texas Longhorns. Texas is coming off the browbeating they took from the Oklahoma Sooners and may receive another one from the explosive Cowboy offense. It will be interesting to see if Texas was for real or went into the Oklahoma game undefeated because of a cupcake schedule.

Another matchup will be the (AP No. 11) Michigan Wolverines taking on their in-state rival (AP No. 23) Michigan State Spartans. The same question about Texas could be asked about Michigan. Are they for real, or is their record a product of a weak schedule? You know senior Spartan quarterback Kirk Cousins would love to have one last win against Big Blue.

And the last top-25 matchup should be a high scoring affair as (AP No. 20) Baylor takes on (AP No. 21) Texas A&M.

Texas – The Longhorns’ lack of experience at quarterback finally caught up with them against Oklahoma.

Illinois – The Fighting Illini, at 6-0, are off to their best start since 1951. Can they sustain it? Ohio State is up next.

Kansas State – Beating Baylor was a big deal. If they take care of Texas Tech this week and Kansas next week, Kansas State will have a chance to take down the Oklahoma Sooners.

Houston – Houston plays in Conference USA, so we know that even if they are legit, we won’t get a chance to find out.

10. Michigan – The Wolverines have played well under first-year head coach Brady Hoke. But most of their tough games still await them.

9. Georgia Tech – Everyone knows that the Yellow Jackets are going to run the ball, but nobody has been able to do anything about it. They are third in the nation in rushing with 360.5 yards a game.

8. Clemson – Dabo Swinney has to be a fun coach to play for. He has so much enthusiasm for the game of football and for his team.

7. Oklahoma State – The Cowboys scored 70 points last week. They have to be licking their chops since their opponent (Texas) surrendered 55 points last week.

6. Oklahoma – Boomer Sooner! I’m still not totally convinced on the Oklahoma Sooners. Their victory against Florida State doesn’t look as big as it did a few weeks ago, and I’m not sure the Texas win will look any better a few weeks from now either.

5. Boise State – The Broncos took care of former (and soon to be) conference foes Nevada and Fresno State the past two weeks. I wonder if either school is rethinking joining the Mountain West. Boise fans should be cheering for Georgia the rest of this season. It looks like that will remain their best win on the season.

4. Stanford – Andrew Luck can catch! Maybe Luck will do some “Bo Knows” commercials…

3. Wisconsin – The Badgers probably won’t receive another big test until the Big Ten conference championship game. These guys are too good on both sides of the ball. The defense is great, and the offense can attack in the air or on the ground.

2. Alabama – The minds of Crimson Tide fans have to be wandering off to November. LSU comes to Tuscaloosa November 5th.

1. LSU – In case you were wondering, it stands for “Love Shaq University,” at least according to Shaquille O’Neal. Can you dig it? LSU travels to Knoxville to take on the Volunteers of Tennessee. Last year ended in calamity and it ended in the Tigers favor. This year the Vols will be lucky to be in the game in the fourth quarter.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6HOwp1w_Aoc

“Old School” is a column for college sports fans. Contact Aaron at aaron@sportsspectrum.com or follow him on Twitter – @pplcallmeblue. Yes, his nickname is Blue.

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