FOOTBALL PLAYOFF MOCK STANDINGS
OKLAHOMA NEW NO.
1; OREGON OUT
Several top-ranked teams had close calls this past weekend, but every one of them managed to survive with the exception of LSU. Nevertheless, there was still a bit of a shakeup at the top of the new mock College Football Playoff standings from last week.
With most of the early-season cupcake fest out of the way, the playoff picture will begin to take shape in earnest with conference games, which essentially serve as elimination games in the coming weeks as pretenders are weeded out.
There are only 25 unbeaten teams in FBS (out of 128) through the first four weeks of the season, including two independents (Notre Dame and BYU) and just two from the non-power five conferences (Cincinnati and Marshall). The race for not just the four playoff spots but also for the New Year's Six bowl berths should be extremely fascinating and closely contested.
NOTES AND ANALYSIS)
WHAT CFP STANDINGS SHOULD LOOK LIKE
There will be no more BCS standings. In fact, there will be no standings with a formula that we can reliably project when the College Football Playoff era begins in the 2014 season. The 13-person selection committee will have sole discretion on which teams make the four-team playoff field.
A few months ago, we introduced a standings model for the committee, and asked for readers' suggestions and comments. We received a healthy amount of responses, most of which were very helpful. After taking much into consideration, we have revised our proposed standings for use by the playoff committee.
We're not arrogant or foolhardy enough to think the committee will necessarily adopt our formula, or admit it publicly. But we do hope that by starting this discussion, we'll move into a more transparent process where we won't be greeted with major surprises come football's version of Selection Sunday.
We more or less stuck to the main criteria, which the committee has emphasized as crucial in its selection process. But we have made major revisions to the distribution of each category:
1) AP poll (40 percent): The eyeball test has to mean something, and the AP poll is the only poll that's completely transparent, with each voter's ballot available for the public to scrutinize each week. It's also the most prestigious poll that's widely used by the media. (Increased from 20 percent)
2) Computer rankings (40 percent): Kenneth Massey compiles the median and mean rankings of each team from more than 100 computers each week. It's less biased than the human polls, and the large sample size removes undue influence by outliers. (kept at 40 percent)
3) Strength of schedule (10 percent): While there are many models to choose from, Jeff Sagarin has the most time-tested SoS formula
- including results from all Division I games, FBS and FCS - that's meticulously and promptly updated each week. But since SoS is a component in every computer ranking, too much influence by the SoS would create a double-jeopardy redundancy. (Decreased from 30 percent)
4) Conference championship (10 percent): Only teams that win their conference championships will get the bonus, and it has to be a significant one. A team that fails to win its conference must be so highly-ranked in every other aspect to jump champions from other Big Five conferences. (kept at 10 percent)
With that in mind, check out what the standings would've looked like after Week
FOOTBALL PLAYOFF STANDINGS)
COLLEGE FOOTBALL HAS IT OWN
Playoffs? You want playoffs,
and finally, you've got playoffs.
Nearly a century-and-a-half
after the first college football game was played in 1869, a playoff
will decide the national champion in college football's highest
division. In this, the inaugural season of the College Football
Playoff, a four-team tournament will be held at the end of the
season to determine the 2014 champion.
Bill Hancock, the executive
director of the CFP, is understandably stoked.
"The playoff will be extremely
popular, the fans will love it," Hancock predicted when he spoke to
Bleacher Report. "It's a joy to be involved in something that will
be an iconic event."
Hancock mentioned the "bracket"
aspect of the CFP, which is no doubt foreign to top-division college
football but familiar to all NCAA championships, particularly the
men's basketball tournament, which he ran for more than a decade.
The CFP won't be March Madness, as it's only a four-team, three-game
tournament, but it's a significant departure from what decided the
mythical national championship in the past.
SEC CAN THANK UCLA FOR BCS RUN
The SEC dominated the second half of the BCS era, winning seven championships and firmly establishing itself as the premier conference in college football. That has led to an expansion of its footprint, added riches from television contracts, and a nascent network to be launched this August.
But none of it happens without the biggest upset in BCS history, a game that took place on the West Coast on the final day of the 2006 regular season. The end of one dynasty beget another.
USC entered its annual rivalry game in 2006 ranked No. 2 in the BCS standings. The Trojans were poised to appear in an unprecedented third consecutive BCS title game and all they had to do was handling their downtrodden, 5-6 crosstown rival. And why not? USC had won seven straight in the series and mauled the Bruins the year before, 66-19.
A simple USC victory would've set up a BCS title game against Ohio State, leaving Florida (and the SEC) on the sideline. It would've been an eighth consecutive season without an undisputed national title for the conference. After Tennessee won the first championship of the BCS era in 1998, the SEC only appeared in one title game in the subsequent seven seasons, and that resulted in LSU's split title with USC in 2003.
There was little doubt that USC would go on to trounce the Buckeyes in the BCS title game as Florida eventually did. The Trojans would've won their third national title in four years and left little doubt as to who truly rules the BCS. They likely would've gone to another one or two BCS title games in the following two seasons.
But that dynasty inexplicably got derailed on that December afternoon at the Rose Bowl by the underdog Bruins. USC's high-powered offense was totally stifled and shut out in the second half. It was the only time in Pete Carroll's final eight seasons at USC that his team would be held under double digits.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL SHOULD DUMP DIVISIONS
With all the bellyaching about the recent decisions by the SEC and ACC to keep eight-game conference schedules, a most important point was largely missed. The scheduling setup makes competition within those conferences unfair.
Whenever there's an imbalance in the strengths of the conference's divisions, the race for the championship will become lopsided. Essentially, you'll rarely get the two best teams to play in the conference championship games.
And on top of that there's also the issue of preserving the familiarity and cohesion within the conferences. When the SEC decided to adopt the 6+1 model, with seven of the eight conference games permanently set, it means that six teams within your own conference won't set foot on your campus for an entire decade. In the case of the ACC, teams will see Notre Dame
- technically not a member - more often than a few actual member schools.
There is an easy way to fix this, and it's already been put on the table: College football should dump divisions.
OTHER CONFERENCES SHOULD BOYCOTT SEC
The SEC wants to have its cake and eat it, too. The other conferences shouldn't lend it a fork.
The SEC's long-awaited resolution to its scheduling question is to not do a dadgum thing. It will continue to play eight conference games with just this one caveat
- each school is mandated to play another Big 5 conference team each season beginning in 2016.
But why should the other four of the Big 5 conferences accommodate this? What's in it for them?
By the 2016 season, the SEC will be the only one of the Big 5 conferences to play only eight conference games. The ACC also plays eight, but five conference members must play Notre Dame each year, so technically that makes it 8.35. The Pac-12, Big 12 and Big Ten will all be playing nine conference games by 2016.
Our previous extensive study of the 2014 out-of-conference (OOC) schedule already revealed that, across the board, the SEC plays the weakest non-conference games. Each of its 14 members plays one FCS team in its four OOC games and six of them don't play any OOC games on the road. Four SEC members have OOC schedules ranked in the bottom 10 among 124 non-independent FBS teams.
By keeping the the eight-game conference schedule, the SEC essentially tips the competitive scale in its favor for both the top and bottom teams. For teams vying to get into the four-team College Football Playoff field, they improve their chances by needing to win fewer games against top competition. For the cellar dwellers, they may qualify for a bowl berth with a mere 2-6 conference record.
THE SUPER BOWL OF POKER
Football's Namesake in the Card
When talking about America's sports industry, "Super Bowl" would
most likely mean the NFL's finals. Every time we mention Super Bowl in
front of football fans, stories of how Pittsburgh Steelers battled for
six Super Bowl victories would surface. Or perhaps, we would hear
about how the reigning champs Baltimore Ravens made a triumphant run
this season. For non-football fans, Superbowl XLVII may be most
Beyonce's iconic performance during the halftime show. But for
poker enthusiasts especially those who witnessed
Ungar's greatness in the 80s, "Super Bowl" meant the Superbowl of
the World Series of Poker enjoyed its iconic status today, one of its
competitors was the SBOP. You see, the SBOP was a brainchild of former
1972 WSOP Main Event Champion,
Amarillo Slim. Before the competition made its debut in a
competitive industry, poker fans only tuned to the WSOP events. For
the former champ, he saw this setting as an opportunity. "The World
Series of Poker was so successful that everybody wanted more than one
tournament," Slim said in a report by Poker News. See, he wanted to
take poker all over the world, be it in Germany, Hong Kong, or with
neighboring states. And so, a different Super Bowl was born. SBOP may
not be as large as today's
PartyPoker-sponsored World Poker Tour, but it was one poker
tournament that card gaming experts and amateurs alike turned to,
especially in a booming entertainment industry.
Much like football's Super Bowl, the event housed competent players
and some are even included in today's Poker Hall of Fame. The 1986
Deuce-to-Seven Lowball event in particular, was among the most talked
events in SBOP history. See, the final three competitors of the event
are now Hall of Famers. There was Doyle Brunson, Billy Baxter, and
Johnny Chan. In a way, they paralleled the likes of football greats
Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, or Joe Montana. Unfortunately, while the Super
Bowl in football flourished, the event's namesake in poker was the
The lack of stability and a fixed venue prompted SBOP's operators
to discontinue the once glorious event. Luckily, after the fall of
SBOP, multiple poker tournaments arose. There's the West's staple
European Poker Tour which made rounds in poker hubs like Germany and
France. One can say that even with SBOP's fall, it was a blessing in
itself since it paved way to a new generation of poker players.