Bowl Watching

Like so many others, we watch a lot of college football around New Year’s.  This year, our very own Fighting Illini were in the party again, making it to one of those also-ran Bowls:  The Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl.  Illinois lost 35-18 and probably should have won – though you wouldn’t know it by the score.

With all these bowl games, especially in light of the inaugural 4-team playoff, the sports talkers have been discussing bowl viability, money, TV contracts, etc., and as we sit here watching Oregon pound Florida State, we have some thoughts as well.

If you’re among those who think that the major conference re-shuffling and re-jiggering is horrible, look no further than the now-departed BCS system.  Between the BCS contract and the guaranteed conference contracts to various bowls, the Big 10, Pac 12, SEC, and ACC had ample motivation to expand.  More money.  More prestige.  More TV markets.  Now that we’ve finally entered the playoff era, there’s a chance the system could correct itself over time.

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Bowl Playoffs 2012

It’s that bowling time of year, and so we dismiss the BCS National Championship in lieu of a superior 16 team playoff scenario that everyone would like to see, the Beemsville Bowl Playoff Championship (BPC; TM still pending).  It’s our third annual BPC, so check out the 2011 and 2010 versions for fun.  Here’s how it works…

  • Six automatic BCS conference qualifiers, The champions  from the six current BCS conferences:  SEC – Alabama, Pac 12 – Stanford, Big 10 – Wisconsin (groan), Big 12 – Kansas State, ACC – Florida State, and Big East (double groan) – Louisville.
  • Two at-large conference qualifiers, the champions of the next two highest rated conferences.  This year that’s the MAC – Northern Illinois(!), and the WAC -Utah State.  This changes every year.  Last year we had Conference USA and the Mountain West in here.
  • Eight at-large teams, selected from the remaining highest rated teams using the BCS formula.  No limits on the number of entries from a conference, and this year the SEC dominates with five.  At-large teams are: Notre Dame, Florida, Oregon, Georgia, LSU, Texas A&M, South Carolina, and Oklahoma.
  • Teams are seeded according to BCS formula. #1 to #16 based on relative ranking.  Higher seeds host the first round; highest surviving seeds then host the second round.  Bye week after the second round.
  • Semi-finals and the final rotate between the four BCS bowl sites. Jan. 1 is your semi-final date.  This year the Orange Bowl gets the championship on Jan. 12.

NCAA BPC 2012

Click on image to view full size

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Mixed Bag for Orange and Blue

New Year’s Eve obliged Illini Fans to ply their remote control skills, set up two TV feeds, or head to the sports bar.   With the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco and a basketball game at Purdue on concurrently, we chose the sports bar option.  The football team, looking energetic if not particularly skillful,  defeated UCLA  20-14.  As the same time, the basketball team started well before a horrible stretch of play saw them go down by nearly 30 to the Boilers, losing 75-60.

Some general reactions to the two games follow, but specifically we’d like to point to the lack of offensive bite and execution by both teams.  Football has had it’s problems all year and again struggled against a UCLA team that had given up 50 or more in previous games.  Coach Beckman will need to find some playmakers fast if he wants to compete against decent teams.  Weber’s crew continues to struggle on the hardwood, looking positively clueless and inept at times.  They seem determined to make up for not getting good shots by turning it over in bad spots.  We’ve harped on the ‘Motion’ offense repeatedly and will probably continue to do so until Coach implements some changes or is no longer here.  The bottom line is, you have to score to win.  And if you’re good on offense, people generally enjoy watching you play.  If the Illini are going to move themselves up in the hierarchy in both revenue sports, they need to improve their scoring. Continue reading

Bowl Playoffs 2011

The fail of college football having provided us with an intra-conference rematch for the so-called BCS National Championship, it’s time again to dust off the ol’ playoff scenario.  Yes, it’s the Beemsville Bowl Playoff Championship (BPC; TM pending).  Our playoff system is a 16 team affair, with the semi-final and final at neutral bowl sites.   Here’s the setup…

  • Six automatic conference qualifiers, your champions  from the six current BCS conferences.  That would be SEC – LSU, Pac 10 – Oregon, Big 10 – Wisconsin, Big 12 – Oklahoma State, ACC – Clemson, and Big East (cough, cough) – West Virginia.
  • Two at-large conference qualifiers, the champions of the next two highest rated conferences.  This year that’s the Mountain West – TCU, and Conference USA – Southern Miss.  Some years you might get a  WAC or MAC team in here.
  • Eight at-large teams, selected from the remaining highest rated teams using the BCS formula.  No limits on the number of entries from a conference.  This year your at-large teams are: Alabama, Stanford, Arkansas, Boise State, Kansas State, South Carolina, Virginia Tech, and Baylor.
  • Teams are seeded according to BCS formula. #1 to #16 based on relative ranking.  Higher seeds host the first round; highest surviving seeds then host the second round.  Bye week over Christmas.
  • Semi-finals and the final rotate between the four BCS bowl sites. Jan. 1 is your semi-final date.  This year the Sugar Bowl gets the championship on Jan. 10.

Have a look at this year’s match-ups (click on the image to view larger):

Some clear winners and losers here and a lot of interesting match-ups.  Think about the sponsorship money this might demand…  Would an equitable split of all that money acquired by the NCAA for this playoff help other schools with their non-revenue sports?  You bet…