College Football Playoffs Are Finally Here!

With a College Football Playoff, Fans Have Scored the Biggest Victory of All

Somehow, THIS happened yesterday. From years of moaning and complaining, to best-seller “Death to the BCS,” and an all-SEC title game — suddenly, everyone in charge came to their senses. All 11 conference commissioners, plus Notre Dame‘s John Swarbrick, got in a room together and actually (for once) listened to the fans of their game. We wanted a playoff. Well, we finally got one… or at least, the beginnings of the one we’d really prefer.

Believe me, I’m not going to be an ingrate about this. I understand that it’s taken well over 100 years for the sport to adopt the same system of determining a champ that literally every other athletic organization in the world has used since day one. But, I can’t deny how much I’m holding out hope for bracket creep, and the eventual growth of the tournament out to at least six or eight teams. I’ve always been of the mindset that asks, “What’s better than one of the things you really like? Two of the things you really like,” so it’s only natural that I (along with most college football fans) would want to watch even more nerve-wracking, late-season football. Continue reading

College Football Playoffs Have Finally Arrived (Say Conference Commissioners)

A College Football Playoff (And Annual Games Like Stanford-Oklahoma State) Is a Few Mere Approvals Away From Being Official

Finally! After long, long last college football appears to have a playoff system ready and waiting to name a champion once 2014 rolls around. As agreed upon by the conference commissioners, the four-team model will pit the top four schools against one another, irregardless of league affiliation. The BCS is dead, the sites will rotate amongst the current larger bowl spots (plus a few, we assume), and the title game will be shopped out to cities for bidding on what will quickly become the country’s second-largest sporting event (behind only the Super Bowl).

With this basic framework in place, all the commissioners need to do is head on back to their conference presidents and get a big ‘APPROVED’ stamp on the proposal. Unless the Big Ten suddenly sees a stodgy, traditionalist mutiny, this only appears to be a formality. There’s still another issue, however, which will take a good deal of time to address (luckily, we have a few seasons to work it all out): How will the participants be chosen?

Talks in Chicago gathered several ideas, including a football-equivalent of the RPI (Sagarin rankings!), strength of schedule and conference championship components, and a selection committee. Together, this mashup of methods will produce our four teams, and because of the human element (yes, I’m a proponent), I’d say we’ll end up with the “right” four teams far more often than not. That is, if they construct the committee correctly. Continue reading

Conference Realignment: How to Fix the ACC (With or Without Florida State)

Is John Swofford Part of the Problem or Solution for an ACC Still Trying to Survive Realignment Scares

The conference realignment carousel keeps on turning, with rumors flying every which way about who’s staying, who’s going and what might happen to those who wait around too long in the ACC and other conferences around the country. One of the overarching themes, however, is that the ACC needs to act — in some way (ANY way) to solidify its future, whether that’s with Florida State or without them. They have to start taking steps, before the Big 12 just loots the place, leaving them penniless.

Below are the best suggestions we’ve got toward fixing the ACC, both right now, and for the future. Some may be a bit more rational/realistic than others, but given the speed of change in college football right now, sometimes the most irrational move can also be the smartest one, too.

Step 1: Level with ESPN

Overall, most are of the opinion that the ACC was grossly undervalued in its latest deal with ESPN, especially considered the worldwide leader took home all of the league’s third-tier rights, too. Since the ACC is the only league ESPN owns in full, come back to the negotiating table laying out the terms in black-and-white. “If we don’t fix this, your property loses value by losing member institutions.” There’s also the option of using it as motivation to grab Notre Dame, the one piece ESPN would really kill to own. But we’ll get to that… Continue reading

Conference Realignment: FSU-to-Big12 Drama; A Georgia Tech Point of View


A Georgia Tech perspective on the Florida-State-to-Big-12 chatter

ESPN obtained a memo written by Florida State President Eric Barron and then chaos ensued. At this point Barron’s letter is just a pro/con list on ACC membership, and it is probably premature to be giving this story so much attention. As Syracuse men’s basketball coach Jim Boeheim once said, “nothing premature is good”. Nevertheless, everyone is weighing in on the Florida-State-to-the-Big-12 speculation, so now I will do the same. Although I am writing from a Georgia Tech perspective, I suspect my point of view will be similar to other ACC team’s fans.

First, I want to provide my unfiltered, initial reaction to learning about the story. At first, I was shocked that FSU would bring this up after the ACC just made expansion moves to secure its position amongst the top conferences in college sports. I also wondered, why the Big 12? It does not make sense geographically, and personally I think the Big 12 is overrated. Lastly, I was initially a little angry at FSU, as you may expect. I am a proud and loyal ACC guy, so I don’t take kindly to this sort of speculation. Continue reading

The ACC’s Tobacco Road Favoritism

Has Tobacco Road Favoritism Been Detrimental to the ACC? Clemson (and Florida State) Would Say Yes

Last September, the ACC’s addition of Syracuse and Pittsburgh was met with a collective “meh” from the league’s football schools. But despite the seemingly lackluster performances of the conference’s new members, their joining was generally interpreted as a sign that the ACC was stable and strong. While the Big East and the Big 12 were facing threats to their very existence, the ACC’s place was secure. It was a conference that people wanted to join, not one threatened by exodus.

Less than a year later, a fresh round of rumors would have us believe that the conference’s collapse is imminent. The football-first schools are supposedly on their way to the Big 12, setting the scene for four power conferences which would line up nicely with the impending four-team playoff. The Big Ten and the SEC might pick up some of the detritus, leaving the league’s weaker schools to fend for themselves.

The culprit is Tobacco Road, or at least the idea of Tobacco Road. The Big 12’s loss of Colorado, Missouri, Nebraska, and especially Texas A&M was driven by resentment at Texas’ dominance of the league. In a similar way, some ACC schools, especially Clemson and Florida State, begrudge the conference’s domination by the four North Carolina schools, especially Duke and UNC.

It’s no secret that Tobacco Road’s influence in ACC decision-making is disproportionate to the Carolina schools’ numbers. The ACC is a basketball-first conference, after all, and with flagship programs like Duke and North Carolina, numbers three and four on the all-time wins list, it’s understandable that their voices would be louder. ACC football has been an afterthought for most of the conference’s history, apart from brief national runs by Maryland in the 1950s and Clemson in the 1980s, and Florida State’s roughshod run over all competition during the 1990s. Continue reading

Conference Realignment: Florida State Talks Big 12, Nonsense

Florida State’s Apparent Flirtation With the Big 12 Reached a Fever Pitch Over the Weekend, With Plenty More to Come

It’s likely everyone caught these shenanigans over the weekend, with Florida State Board of Trustees Chairman Andy Haggard running his mouth about things he knows very little of. Among them, how the ESPN/ACC television deal was put together, the importance of conference academic standing, and his own school’s athletic history, along with that of other schools as well. Said Haggard in his original rant to

“Schools like Duke, Boston College and Maryland all will receive $17 million a year now. That’s a good chunk of money for anyone’s athletic program, but particularly for one that either sends one of its major revenue sports to the postseason a year, or none.”

He would go on to belabor points about Florida State doing all the “heavy lifting” and try and make a case for unequal revenue sharing. We all know what unequal revenue sharing gets us. As has been pointed out all over the web, his bashing of current conference rivals (poor form which neither he nor the school has yet to apologize for, by the way) seems to conveniently forget 2004-2008. Continue reading

ACC/Big 12 Conference Realignment & the ACC/ESPN TV Deal

The ACC TV Deal Has Brought More Questions Than Answers in Terms of Conference Realignment

The big news yesterday was the ACC‘s new 15-year extension worth about $3.6 billion. After taking out a cut for the league office, that amounts to around $16 million per school (as in divided between 14, not 12 institutions). it’s a nice increase for the current 12 schools (a jump of $5 million per year over the previous contract), but a monumental one for Pittsburgh and Syracuse, who see a $12 million jump (per year!). Not only does that number pay for the exit fees they’ll incur (each will likely have to pay an increased amount from the old $5 million-and-27-month-wait agreement), but it also pays for the type of upgrades both schools will need once they switch leagues.

As many of us started to discuss over at Troy Nunes Is An Absolute Magician once the news hit, getting the per-school figure closer to that of the Big 12 would likely mean that all those rumors of Florida State and Clemson defections would be put to rest. Unfortunately, we were dead wrong (as we quickly found out in the comment thread).

The ACC’s deal — unlike that of the other power conferences — also includes tier-three rights. These tier-three rights usually come in the form of local broadcast options (so Time Warner Sports, MSG, SNY, Raycom Sports, etc), team-specific channels (Longhorn Network) or league networks (B1G Network, the Pac-12’s collection of regional content providers), and the web. In the other four power leagues, teams retain these rights, and can in turn, sell off the games (in all sports) not picked up by the main distributor and make an additional profit. Not so in the ACC, however. Continue reading