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 2013

The lesser bowls have come and gone, and with New Years upon us, it’s time to revisit our annual notional 16-team Bowl Playoff Championship for college football.  Although we will soon see a limited four-team playoff, this FCS-style tourney is still a decade or two away.  Check the bracket…

NCAA BPC 2013

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Here’s how it works:

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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

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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…

BPC 2010

‘Tis the season for college football playoff hypotheticals,  and so we bring you the 2010 version of the Bowl Playoff Championship, brought to you by Beemsville.  Last year we laid out some of the rules for this system.  It’s very likely similar to many other playoff scenarios out there on the web – a sixteen team tourney with the final three games at the traditional championship bowl sites.  But just to review the setup…

  • Six automatic conference qualifiers, your champions  from the six current BCS conferences.  That would be SEC – Auburn, Pac 10 – Oregon, Big 10 – Wisconsin, Big 12 – Oklahoma, ACC – Virginia Tech, and Big East (cough, cough) – U Conn.
  • Two at-large conference qualifiers, the champions of the next two highest rated conferences.  This year that’s the Mountain West – TCU, and the WAC – Nevada.  Some years you might get a  Conference USA 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 Stanford, Ohio State, Arkansas, Michigan State, Boise State, LSU, Missouri, and Oklahoma State.
  • 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 Fiesta Bowl gets the championship on Jan. 11.

So how does the BPC stack up this year?  Have a look:

click on image to see full size

 

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MLS Curtain Calls

The regular season ended over the weekend, with L.A. beating Dallas to take the Supporter’s Shield and overall top seed into the playoffs.  The MLS post-season ticket looks like this:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

1. New York Red Bulls vs. 4. San Jose Earthquakes

2. Columbus Crew vs. 3. Colorado Rapids

WESTERN CONFERENCE

1. Los Angeles Galaxy vs. 4. Seattle Sounders

2. Real Salt Lake vs. 3. FC Dallas

With both the #1 seeds struggling somewhat over the last month, the field seems pretty open.  If we were to pick a team from each bracket not to advance, it would be Dallas in the West and Columbus in the East.  Salt Lake has probably played the best soccer the final month of the season, and San Jose has also looked tough.  Should be fun.

But the real news for Major League Soccer is the retirement of a handful of of stalwarts – guys who’ve been with the league since the 90’s.  Start with D.C. United’s Jaime Moreno, who’s been here since 1996 and retires as the top scorer in MLS.  He saw limited duty this year and only scored from the penalty spot, but he’s been a great asset to the league – both in the early days as a dynamic forward and now as an elder statesmen. Continue reading

Your College Football Champion…

…ladies and germs, I give you the Utah Utes.

What?  You think that other game going on tonight [Note: posted in the 3rd quarter] has any bearing?  Really?  Why, because a computer and national perception told us so?  Sure, Florida and Oklahoma are mighty good teams.  So is Texas.  So is USC.   And all those teams have one thing in common: a single loss.  Unlike the Utes.

If only there were some way, some fashion to have the top teams play a sort of tournament (like every other college and professional sport in this country) to name a national champion.  Some kind of playoff…  How novel!

Even beloved Pres-Elect Obama has publicly endorsed a playoff!  What more do you need?  At the same time, the pundits and pseudojournalists have not taken up the hue and cry.  All you hear about is plus-one.  An extra bowl game between the perceived best suitors at year’s end.  OK, then who do you take this year.  Who plays the winner of Oklahoma-Florida the next week.  Texas?  Nah.  USC?  Maybe, if they didn’t get the advantage of playing their bowl game in their back yard every year.  No, the answer is clearly the Utes. Continue reading