We haven't had too many football links lately. Admittedly, I've gotten a little basketball heavy, particularly with the lull in Husky practices.
But in today's paper, TNT columnist John McGrath tackles one of the many flaws of the BCS - using the Coaches' Poll as a part of the formula. The running joke around college football is that it should be called the SID or assistant coaches poll because that's who is really doing the voting. Do you think Sark sits down and analyzes the worthiness of Michigan or looks at Boise State's strength of schedule compared to Virginia Tech? Come on. They have more important things to deal with.
My problem with Alabama is its current coach, Nick Saban. Last week, Saban reminded the voters who help determine the BCS standings – fellow coaches, along with a Harris Interactive Survey panel – to use objectivity on their final ballot. Saban was concerned that voters wary of a second serving of LSU-Alabama would support Oklahoma State, whose explosive Cowboys would provide a classic counterpunch to LSU’s dominant defense.
That’s the showdown virtually everybody outside the Southeastern Conference wants to see, but nobody will see it because Alabama nudged Oklahoma State in a photo finish – 0.0086 of a percentage point – partially affected by Saban’s ballot.
A few days after stressing the importance of objectivity, Saban’s Top Four looked like this: LSU, Alabama, Stanford, Oklahoma State.
I can’t fault Saban for ranking his own team second – he’d have been dragged out of his home and put on trial for treason had he done otherwise – but the super-sizing of Stanford, at the expense of Oklahoma State, was a joke.
Stanford finished 11-1 over the course of a schedule ranked as the 64th strongest in the country. Oklahoma State also finished 11-1 while playing the nation’s eighth-strongest schedule.
Strength-of-schedule is the most common of tiebreaker formulas – it’s how RPI figures are determined before the NCAA basketball tournament – and while an argument could be made if the teams were neck-and-neck in strength of schedule, there is no neck-and-neck when one school is No. 8 and the other is No. 64.
Saban didn’t exercise an open mind with his ballot; he exercised an agenda of entitlement. He had a vote, along with 58 other coaches, some of whom (Washington State’s Paul Wulff, Illinois’ Ron Zook) are no longer coaches. Among the coaches who didn’t have a vote was Oklahoma State’s Mike Gundy.
I’m not in a mood to rail against the many flaws of a BCS system installed to prevent a playoff, which is another topic for another day. We’re stuck with what we’ve got. I understand.
But what we’ve got does an injustice to common sense: A combination of computer rankings and human pollsters whose ballots can be curious to the point of bizarre. For instance, three SEC coaches – Vanderbilt’s James Franklin, South Carolina’s Steve Spurrier and Saban – didn’t rank Boise State in their Top 10. These are smart men seemingly qualified to render judgments on what constitutes a good football team.
Yet they didn’t have Boise State in their Top 10? What the hell are they watching?In other news, June Jones was going to be the head coach at Arizona State until he wasn't. Doug Haller has the story. ASU AD Lisa Love doesn't seem long for the job at this point.
Arizona Republic columnist Dan Bickley tries to dispel the myth that ASU is such a great destination for a head coach. And he makes some pretty good points. From his column ...
Take the common perception of ASU, the myth of the sleeping giant. Look at the school through the eyes of a wooed recruit. If the place is so great, ask yourself why most of the state's best talent opts for a different experience.
Flip the prism, and you'll find many of ASU's better assets actually are liabilities.
Great weather? Absolutely. So nice that spectator sports are a diversion, and not a way of life around here. That means the college team has to be good to draw a crowd. In great college towns, the football program only has to be.
That distinction makes it hard to recruit marquee players during the bad times, when there's zero electricity in a half-empty stadium.
Close to a major metropolis? ASU has an urban feel. Trains knife through the streets, whisking past parking garages. The campus tour is to find no campus at all. It's not for everybody.Speaking of coaching searches, UCLA still hasn't found its coach yet either, and Chris Dufresne looks at the reasons why. From his story ...
That's been one of UCLA's problems. For years it's been an insular, closed shop where people stay forever and are promoted from within. Every Bruins football coach since Red Sanders has either been a UCLA assistant coach or former player. Sanders died in August of 1958.
You can't blame outsiders for being suspicious — few have ever been allowed inside the gates.
UCLA is an enigma wrapped in a riddle wrapped in a months-old requisition order for new goalposts.
The school colors are powder blue and fool's gold.
UCLA's rigid academic requirements have always been a legitimate concern and counterproductive to building a competitive team. But then Stanford and Jim Harbaugh came along, so now what's the excuse?