Tuesday, December 02, 2008

World-Herald Joins in the Texas Whine

Whether it's the old 1997 Husker/Weasel debate or this year's debate between Oklahoma, Texas, and Texas Tech, you can always count on the sports media taking an opinion and refusing to even consider contrary opinions.

Yes, I said Texas Tech. I may not be allowed into the press box, but the Big XII web site shows all three teams tied with 7-1 conference records and 11-1 overall records. But if you read the paper and listen to the radio, you'd swear that Texas Tech somehow lost another game somewhere along the way.

Here's Tom Shatel:
The Big 12 should follow the Southeastern Conference (touchy subject, sorry) and have a three-way tiebreaker that says if all three are ranked, the third highest team is thrown out. And if the top two are within five spots of each other, you use head-to-head results as the tiebreaker.
OK, so the BCS formula is OK to use to eliminate Texas Tech...but not Texas. Shatel doesn't say why, but it leads you to his desired result. Texas. Nevermind the inconsistency.

Even more inconsistent is the suggestion that if the teams are within five spots of each other, head to head trumps the BCS standings. OK. Let's see: #7 Texas Tech, #3 Texas. Hmm... Texas eliminated.

His colleague Lee Barfknect had a slightly better, yet still inconsistent take:
For me, a head-to-head result carries huge weight. Another key factor when it's this close is who had the "best" loss.

Texas Tech is ruled out by getting hammered 65-21 at OU. The Sooners lost by 10 to Texas on a neutral field. Texas lost at Texas Tech, with its wildest home atmosphere in history, 39-33 on a touchdown pass with one second left.

So Texas wins that competition, too. Yet Oklahoma advances.
Barfknect wants to give Texas credit for the "best loss" in losing to Tech. Point Texas. And he downgrades Tech for the "worst loss". But shouldn't you also give credit for the "best win" of the bunch, and that's Oklahoma taking Tech to the woodshed right from the opening kickoff?

You see, head to head is the first tie breaker...and it's 1-1 for all three teams. Everything else is just grasping at straws.

Shatel adds one final comment:
Big 12 games are great. Make them count.
They do count. But it seems that Shatel and Barfknect only want to count the game played in Dallas. They don't want to count the other games on the schedule. From my perspective, when you look at all of the games these teams played, Oklahoma looks a little stronger than Texas overall. Yes, Texas got 'em in Dallas in October in that single game, which is duly noted. But that game wasn't a one-game playoff; you have to consider ALL of the games, not just the Red River Shootout.

In fact, that's really the correct solution to this whole mess. Eight team playoff, and this debate goes away. Florida, Alabama, Oklahoma, Texas, Texas Tech, USC. Heck, bring Utah and Boise State into the mix, and there's no excuses anymore. I know it's not happening anytime soon, especially with ESPN locking up the BCS. But deep down, you know it's the right answer.


Anonymous said...

Well written and I completely agree. Oklahoma is getting penalized for soundly beating a good team.

Carl said...

I hate to see you playing the 'playoffs' card.

Texas fans (and the media) are griping that the win in Dallas is being marginalized. Ok, so if we have playoffs how is it not further marginalized? How does playing tough OOC opponents look if a playoff system is in place? What's Duke's, North Carolina's, Kansas' current basketball record?

I guess my take is 'why do we need a definite National Champ?' Why can't it just be what it is? in 1997 there were 2 National Champs, what the hell's wrong with that?

Anonymous said...

Because, to borrow a phrase, there can be only one. Or at least there should be.

Otherwise, let's go back to the old days where several different organizations all declared their own champions. We'll have 5 or 6 "National Champions" every year. Hell, let's set up an organization that votes Nebraska the National Champion every year! It's just another championship, no one will really care at that point, but it will look nice in our trophy case.

n 1: someone who has won first place in a competition [syn: champ, title-holder]


Carl said...


I can understand and appreciate the desire for a 'true' National champion, but, as you point out, we've never had one and it hasn't damaged people's love of college football. I don't see the added value there.

What I do see is:

a) Shorter seasons. Everyone says we'll have to shorten the season, except for teams that make to the playoffs. Two consequences I can see from that, less games for me to see and the rich getting richer. It's a widely held belief that going to a bowl game is a good boost to a program due to the extra practices and the added exposure to recruits. So now only the good teams get more games and practices? Only the good teams get to prepare for diverse opponents? Playoff guys say 'keep the bowls' but add the playoffs. Is that going to carry the same benefits as the playoff teams get? Who won the (postseason) NIT last year? When Nebraska makes the NIT, how much (National) press coverage do they get? Bowls as consolation don't cut it.

b) Destruction of interesting OOC games. Shortening the season will remove some OOC games, who cares, right? Who wants to see Nebraska play Pacific? (Um, I do. It's NEBRASKA!) But that's not the type of game that will get cut. The games cut will be the 'danger' games. No Nebraska vs. USC, no Nebraska vs. Notre Dame, no Nebraska vs. Va Tech. Why play 'em? So, although I love Husker football, I really, really enjoy watching other teams play in Aug & Sept due to all the 'danger' OOC games. I really think playoffs would kill the regular season, and again, for what? Something we've NEVER had?

c) More games for fewer teams. (I guess this is an extention of a)) Do you really, really want to hear that damn Trojan fight song every Saturday of December? Texas' "I've been working on the railroad" 26 times every Saturday? My Scarlet and Cream goggles are not so opaque that I think Nebraska is going to make the grade every year, or even most years. Why do I want less Husker football and more OU/USC/SEC team de jour?

As far as playoffs go, I don't see what we gain, but I do have a pretty good sense of what we'll lose.

But, of course, the people who really just want NFL lite will never stop pushing their desire for a playoff and we'll see it eventually. Don't say you weren't warned the season Nebraska is 2-0, entering Big XII play having beaten Montana State and Vanderbilt after going 7-3 the previous year.

Zathras said...

There's only one reason OU made over Texas and Tech: OU was the least recent to lose. Poll voters have good short-term memory and poor long-term memory. An early October loss is 3-5 hangovers ago for most sport-writers and coaches--out of their comprehension. It's stupid, but that's how poll works.

Start with 3 teams A, B, and C and rank them in an arbitrary order (A, B, C).

Week 1: B defeats A. New ranking: B, C, A.

Week 2: C defeats B. New ranking: C, A, B.

Week 3: A defeats C. New ranking: A, B, C.

No matter the original ranking, the final ranking will go from least recent loss to most recent loss.

James Leroy Wilson said...

The NFL's tie-breaking procedures are fair. They should be copied to a large extent, though a formula should be devised for a more accurate non-conference strength of schedule that encourages strong scheduling and discourages rolling up the score on non-BCS schools.

Carl said...

Zathras: How is Texas ranked ahead of OU in the AP poll then?

Zathras said...


This shows that some lobbying can go affect the results, either directly or by flying a plane around Stillwater.