The NCAA DI-A Football Tournament

We all know the BCS needs replacing; I (and a few other people) have come up something I’d like some opinion on. It is a 16-team, single-elimination, bracket system that will take place at the conclusion of regular season play, in place of the traditional bowl season. As in NCAA Basketball, non-NCAA sanctioned games or tournaments will not be expressly prohibited, in order to provide supplemental post-season to non-selected teams.

There are 10 FBS(DI-A) Conferences (AAC, ACC, Big XII, Big 10, C-USA, Mid-AC, M-West, PAC-12, SEC, Sun Belt)

4 of the current “AQ” Conferences (ACC, Big 10, PAC 12, SEC) are 12+ teams and thus divided into divisions, each division champion from these conferences will receive automatic selection, comprising 8 slots.

The Champions of each of the remaining Conferences will receive automatic selection, comprising 6 slots.

The remaining 2 slots will be filled by the result of a 4-team Wild Card Playoff. The 4 highest ranked teams not currently receiving automatic selection will be chosen to compete for 1 of 2 remaining slots in the tournament. The highest-ranked team will face the 4th-highest, and the 2nd-highest will face the 3rd-highest.

Currently, FBS teams play a 14 week schedule, with Conference Championship Games taking place during Week 14, and teams in conferences without a CCG receive 1 extra bye week, and typically play a highly-publicized rivalry game during Week 14. This procedure will be discontinued, and all teams will now conclude the regular season after 13 weeks.

Week 14  – Official Tournament Rankings will be released on Sunday, Week 14. The Wild Card Playoff and CCGs will be played the following weekend; no team already playing in a CCG will be eligible for Wild Card selection.

— NCAA DI-A FBS Tournament Begins —

Week 15 – 8 Division Champions (4 of which will now also be Conference Champions), 6 additional Conference Champions, and 2 Wild Cards will compete, in bracket seeding, in the first round of the tournament.
Week 16 – The 8 winning teams from Week 15 will play in 4 games.
Week 17/18* – The 4 winning teams from Week 16 will play in 2 Semi-Final games. 
Week 18/19* – The 2 winners from Week 17 will compete in the National Championship Game, the winner will be declared the NCAA DI-A College Football Champion of the season. 

*Sometime either before or after the Semi-Final Games varying with the year, it will be necessary to have one off week for the holidays

Known/Acknowledged/Alleged Flaws

The rules of seeding will encourage conferences  <10 teams to quickly, it could be argued “too” quickly, add teams in order to meet the NCAA requirement of 12 teams in order to split into divisions, and thus field more teams in the Tourney. Personally, I believe the BCS, and football fans in general, like conference games, so this already occurs, but overall perceived quality of conference offsets the rush. But, expansion will happen, and as it does, the seeding format will obviously need tailoring, but it fits current standards just fine, and all conferences with announced plans to add members in the upcoming seasons are already over the 12 team minimum.

The rules seem to spur the Non-AQ folks in the Mountain West, Mid-American, and C-USA, and they probably won’t like that. But, fact is, these conferences regularly only produce one “BCS Buster” which seems to change every year, without any real perennialism. If these conferences evolve to more powerhouse-y groups, then may the rules reflect that, but until then…again it fits current standards I think.

The “Gentleman’s Agreement” – Some football gurus berate a playoff idea, saying it will come into conflict with a period of time generally in the NFLs “territory”. Well last I checked, everyone knows the pros (mostly) play on Sunday, and the students (mostly) on Saturday. I don’t really see how December/January is any different than the rest of the year.

Too Much, Too Young, Too Fast – Some critics argue the “beauty” of the bowl system is the weeks off the college squads get to enjoy around the holidays (except the 4 teams playing on Christmas and New Year’s Bowls, I guess) without a playoff to trudge through week after week. Exceeept all the football players and coaches I’ve known or talked to think the hardest thing about the current championship game is the weeks and weeks and weeks you go without playing a real game. Would Eli Manning & the 2007 Giants beat the Pats in XLII if they played them after sitting on their butts for a month after the regular season ended? Seeing as it ended with a loss to the Patriots, probably not.


It’s not the BCS. Do I really need to explain and link to billions of pages delineating the multiple problems? Well, I’m not going to, but I will link to one page that does both of those, a page who’s very existence tells you something’s wrong.

The BCS’ IPO – 2013 Rankings

If you just love the BCS and/or the Crimson Tide, feel free to stop reading and/or find a hole in the sand and keep your head there. Otherwise, I just had to recap the BCS woes in light of this year’s initial Official Rankings release.

Two years ago, like many years before, the BCS Championship left nearly everyone unhappy. Big XII fans, and especially OSU Cowboy fans were exceptionally irate, and rightfully so. After the penultimate rankings were released, the internet was littered with statistical analyses and breakdown of why the Oklahoma underdog deserved a shot, with much focus on over .500 and/or ranked opponents.

BCS Bama vs. OSU

ESPN SportsNation poll, 2012

There were Anti-Rematch camps and Anti-Anti-Rematch camps, there were the SEC fans, and the (exponentially growing) Anti-SEC fans. All this to say, after a disappointing ranking of #3 in the closest vote ever, as a Cowboy fan I was ready to give up on the BCS entirely. And if ratings are any metric, so was the rest of the nation:

Then, last off season, a miracle occurred. The BCS Committee promised a playoff. A new system, starting in 2014, that would take the Top 4 teams into a 3-game tournament. Now, for anyone keeping up with this year’s rankings & predictions, it seems like they at the BCS are still determined to make this last faux championship an all-SEC affair. But, if NCAA D-I Football follows the pattern of the NFL, MLB, NHL, or NBA, this playoff will see quite a bit of expansion.

The announcement of the playoff seemed to quell the growing mob of angry football fans for now, despite the fact that it wouldn’t be in effect for two seasons, and it seemed to make people forget the 2001-2011 National Championship controversies.

Now that the BCS Rankings are back for one more year, it’s inevitable that at least some people are upset.

Week 9 BCS Rankings

Thanks, ESPN.

Thanks, ESPN.

Obviously, the Top 25 is not as Big XII-heavy as usual. Admittedly, the Big XII isn’t nearly as talent-heavy as usual. A combination of high-expectation teams busting (Yep, fellow Cowboy fans, that’s us; and TCU) and low-expectation teams soaring (Tech, Baylor) and teams with less consistency than liquid nitrogen (West Virginia, K-State) has left the conference in a bit of a mess.

Meanwhile, after LSU, A&M, Florida, Georgia, and S.Car. ALL lost to lower-ranked teams, Bama and Mizzou (former Big XII) are the only 2 SEC teams left in the Top 10. That many upsets always makes for hard analysis. Does this mean even the conference’s best teams can’t even consistently beat “easy” teams? Or are even the conference’s worst teams good enough to beat the best-ranked any given Saturday?

While those issues may be difficult to sort out, the Top 25 as a whole has some pretty glaring issues:

  • Stanford, at 6-1 is ahead of many undefeated teams at 6th. Their best(-ranked) opponent was UCLA(#9), and how they were ranked 9th is baffling, they played no one! And the “good Loss” argument doesn’t even work here, they played Utah.
  • FSU & Bama have played similarly this year: blowing out unranked/low-ranked opponents with a key win proving their merit. The Tide’s key win was by 7-points over a Texas A&M(#6) team that seems to be fading as the year goes on. The Seminoles on the other hand, steamrolled Clemson(#3) by 30+. Alabama seems to be getting a incumbent bonus, i.e. “Well, they haven’t lost yet, so we should just keep them at #1”
  • LSU fell victim to a through-and-through upset at the hands of Ole Miss, yet fell 3 spots. Comparatively, when OSU lost to W.Virginia, they fell 10 spots. I’m not criticizing overall ranking here, LSU > OSU this year, clearly, but why is an SEC upset not the same as a Big XII one?
  • Ohio State, at 19 consecutive victories, is playing nearly-flawless football. This could easily go up to 25 and yet they could be locked out of a title shot. Which brings up the real problem,
  • There’s no playoff this year. The Pac 12, the Big 10, the SEC, and the Big XII could all produce at least one 12/13-0 team, and yet 2 must be selected as the best.

I have a feeling the last year of the BCS could very well be the worst.

Big XII Football – Week 6 – Top 10 Time

In a weekend of ugly wins, a few real contenders have started to emerge from the mess of upsets and too-close wins, and unfortunately, O-State is not among them.

Week 6 of 13 means the season is almost halfway over, and the ten teams seem to have settled into three parts – the Big 3, and the Medium 6, and Kansas. Good news is, this is still the Big XII, the Middle 6 have at least a 20% chance of pulling an upset against the Top 3 any Saturday. So, starting from the bottom of the barrel, a breakdown of the weekend:

10. Kansas 2-2, 0-1 After what I’m sure was a thrilling first quarter, where the Jayhawks had 10 unanswered points, the Red Raiders showed off why they are undefeated and tromped them for the last 3.
Last week: L, 16-54 to Texas Tech
Next week: TCU, in Fort Worth

9. Iowa State,1-3, 0-1 As much as I would love to hop on the Hate Texas bandwagon, I just can’t. Yes it was a terrible,wretched call, but bad calls are part of the game, it happens. Good teams don’t rely on good calls to win games. But, it was so heart-wrenching, I almost placed the Cyclones above TCU. Then I realized this is still a team whose only win is over Tulsa.
Last week: L, 30-31 to Texas
Next week: Texas Tech, in Lubbock

8. Texas Christian 2-3, 0-2 Despite being dead last in Big XII standings after a close loss to the Sooners Saturday, the Frogs are the best <.500 team out there, and the best team to play this many games with no quarterback. On top of that, they had THE hardest first half of anyone so far, with Tech and OU, both still 5-0, and a non-conference against LSU. But, since this is about where there are now, 8th is where they sit. But expect this team to move up.
Last week: L, 17-20 to Oklahoma
Next week: Kansas, in Fort Worth

7. Kansas State 2-3, 0-2 The Wildcats tried really, really hard to lose Saturday, and eventually, OSU acquiesced, and managed to win. The Sams/Waters 2-quarterback system hasn’t exactly worked wonders for the Offense yet, but it has produced some big plays. In recent weeks, it’s been the Special Teams and Defense stealing the show. Bottom line: if they want a chance at a winning season, they need to turn big plays into big drives into big wins.
Last week: L, 29-33 to Oklahoma State
Next week: Baylor, in Manhattan

6. West Virginia 3-3, 1-2 Baylor’s demolition of the Mountaineers had some unwieldy offensive stats, but is par for the course for WV this year. They have scored 20+ points 3 times, but held opponents <20 only once, and as a result, join Kansas as the only Big XII team with an overall negative point differential (PF-PA). Recent studies have shown 100% of teams lose when they score less points than their opponent. Yet, this is the same team that upset Oklahoma State, and almost Oklahoma, confusing isn’t it? They play their 4th and final game against a currently-ranked team (Texas Tech) next Saturday after their bye week. An upset here could really turn the season around with no huge challenges down the stretch.
Last week: L, 42-73 to Baylor
Next week: Bye

5. Texas 3-2, 2-0 Norman’s annual “Hate Week” for Texas aura is becoming contagious after last week’s call against Iowa State, but like I said, long story short: it happens. Now tied for the top spot in Big XII play, Texas has been less than impressive this year, when you consider that they’re…well, Texas. But, let’s take off the Rose Bowl-colored glasses, and run down the laundry list of benched athletes they’ve had to deal with this year: 2 Safeties, 2 Corners, 2 Linebackers, 2 Linemen, 2 TEs, 6 (SIX!) WRs, and 2 different QBs. A&M may be home of the 12th man, but this year Austin is trying to be home of the 19th, a tall order. Where’s the madding crowd that wants the Strength & Conditioning Coach fired? But remember, all is forgiven if they beat Oklahoma.
Last week: W, Iowa State 31-30
Next week: Oklahoma, at Dallas

4. Oklahoma State 4-1, 1-1 The AP’s pick to take the Big XII this year isn’t looking too hot. Reeling from an upset against West Virginia, the Pokes didn’t impress against a sloppy Wildcat team, and Cowboy fans are starting to ask “Are they really who we thought they were?”

This year’s starters were expected to shine, as Freshman they were one of OK State most touted recruiting classes under Gundy’s tenure. At 4-1 they are by no means out of the conference race, because with only 10 teams, everybody plays everybody in the new Big XII, and if the ‘Boys manage to sweep the board, they will be cleanly in first.

3. Texas Tech 5-0, 2-0 Rallying behind true Freshman QB Mayfield, Tech has run the gamut so far against its opponents, including conf. members TCU and Kansas. Admittedly, Kansas isn’t exactly a measuring stick for talent, and Mayfield’s 5 INTs with 8 TDs should give the Red Raider faithful pause before promising any bowl games. But what their helmsman lacks in experience, the receiver core makes up for in pure talent. Ten different WRs are averaging more than 10 yds/catch. When Tech meets Baylor in November, expect a traditional Big XII shootout like no other.

1. Baylor 4-0, 1-0 +217. Baylor’s point differential in it’s first four games is more points than any other team has scored at ALL in the Big XII, most of whom have played five games already. #1 in Passing Yards, #2 in Rushing Yards, and #1 Points per game. Normally, this is where “The Best Defense Is A Good Offense” mantra comes in, but they’re only 14th in Points Against so far. The AP, USA Today, and plenty of fans boom the Sooners at best in the conference, but Baylor has had zero weak games. The’re one conference game doesn’t give much of a realistic sample size to project for the season, but impressive nonetheless. What do they need to do to take it all? Exactly what they’re doing. Keep it up.

Water Cooler Statistic Of The Week: All of Baylor’s WRs on roster together average 19.9 yards per catch, a statistic most single receivers could only hope to achieve.

Big XII Football – Week 2

What a week. Texas was awful, Oklahoma survived (barely), and this week seems to be the second round of evidence that points to a 2 & 1/2 horse race in the Big XII: Oklahoma State, Baylor, and maybe TCU. If you happen to be reading this from five years ago: YES I am dead serious, the conference could be won by those teams.

Texas (L 21-40, BYU)

What in the name of Joseph Smith (or whoever the Mormon Jesus’ name is) is going on this year? Anyone have a real answer to this question? Picked #2 in the conference (after Oklahoma State) and they lost to BYU. We’re talking about the same team that….well, I have no idea what they’ve done lately, that’s how little anyone cares about BYU. The only relief for Austinites is….

Oklahoma (W, 16-7 West Virginia)

Dec. 7th, Hell's Coming With Us.

Why this? Because it’s still hilarious, that’s why.

You just played the worst game of W-earning football I’ve ever seen in my life. At least the worst of any collegiate level, Division I-A, conference-anchoring program. (So essentially, the worst game you, Texas, LSU, ‘Bama, Ohio St, or Michigan have ever played) Big XII fans expect 76 turnovers, “intense” defense and painfully inaccurate QBs from the SEC, but not from you. Please, improve, or take a page from A&M and leave.
Speaking of leaving –

Baylor (W 70-13, Buffalo)

If anyone had bigger shoes to fill than Bryce Petty this year, please stand up. RGIII will likely be the only reason I’ll like the Redskins as they beat the Cowboys twice this year (more on that later.) Baylor had two receivers catch for 100+ yards and Seastrunk rushed for 150. Who is this funny-named man, you ask? You may remember him as the 40-Yard Dash With One Hamstring winner:

That is, still, the most impressive performance of athleticism I think I’ve ever seen, against none other than

Oklahoma State (W 56-35, UT-San Antonio)

After another nerve-wracking slow start, EIGHT different people broke the plane to score six for the Pokes on Saturday. (Seales, Shepard, Stewart, Walsh, Smith, Jackson, C.Moore, Roland)
Bad news: No one player seemed to stand out
Good news: That’s because SO many guys we’re so stinkin’ good this week. Can’t beat Team-centered football. (Take that, Johnny)
USA Today & Coaches were so impressed by this feat, the Pokes moved a whole one spot up to #12 in this weeks rankings. Thanks, guys.

TCU (W, Southeastern Louisiana)

Sorry TCU, but right now you’re still the team that couldn’t quite beat LSU in Jerry World last week. Every sports fan not residing in a swamp wanted you to win. It was a “neutral site” game 35 miles away. That’d be like the Tigers getting a neutral site game in Baton Rouge (Oh, wait…)
The Frogs played somebody called the SE Louisiana Lions and won. That’s about all I got.

Unrelated Water Cooler Statistic of the Week: The UT-San Antonio football program started in 2009. Four years ago! That makes it one of the youngest programs to make it to the D-IA (FBS) level. Texas football, people. Texas football.