Monthly Archives: January 2009

A Solution To The BCS Mess

Enough is enough. It’s time for an undisputed national college football champion.

It could be as easy as adding just two games. That’s it. Just two games. No crazy plus-one scenarios. No insane 16-team playoff that would require restructuring college football’s bowl season. No short-sighted misanthropes spouting about how tradition trumps truth and how the regular season IS a playoff.

It’s time for the Bowl Championship Series to finally do its job. It’s time for the participants of BCS bowls to take part in an eight-team playoff that will determine a real winner.

The bowls, Rose, Fiesta, Sugar and Orange, should serve as quarterfinal games through which the winners would advance to two semifinal games and eventually, a one championship game.

Under this proposal, the winner of the Rose Bowl would face the winner of the Fiesta Bowl in BCS Semifinal No. 1, and the winner of the Sugar Bowl would face the winner of the Orange Bowl in BCS Semifinal No. 2. The winners of these games would then play in the BCS Title Game.

How do you determine the participants of the BCS bowls? Same as always, sort of. The Rose Bowl would still pit winners of the Pac-10 and the Big 10 while the other bowls, each with their own unique histories, traditions and arrangements, would pit the winners of the other BCS conferences against each other.

Theoretically, the Fiesta Bowl could host WAC champ vs. Mountain West champ; the Sugar Bowl could host SEC champ vs. Big 12 champ; the Orange Bowl could host ACC champ vs. Big East champ.

Where does that leave teams from the MAC, the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA, you ask? Nowhere, really.

If push came to shove, I suppose the final BCS standings could determine their worth relative to other mid-major conference teams from the WAC, the Mountain West and the Big East. This would give reason to retain the BCS standings — let the percentages dictate who competes for three spots in two bowls.

That’s infinitely more fair than allowing just two teams, deserving or otherwise, a chance at a championship.

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Manning MVP? What A Joke

You have got to be kidding me! Indianapolis Colts QB Peyton Manning is the NFL’s Most Valuable Player? This has to be the most outrageous display of voters seeking the lowest common denominator, the easy answer, that I’ve ever seen.

Manning, who won his third MVP award on Friday,  Jan. 2, is now tied with Brett Favre for the most in NFL history.

But Manning doesn’t deserve this one. Actually, far from it.

Let me count the ways:

1. He played horribly as his team started 3-4.

2. His team didn’t win its division, the AFC South. The Colts literally own this division, having won it the last seven seasons.

3. He had his fewest touchdowns (27) since 2001.

4. He had his lowest passer rating (95.0) and yards-per-pass average (7.2) since 2002.

5.  He hasn’t thrown for fewer yards (4,002) since his rookie season.

Now, I know that it isn’t how you start but how you finish. Manning and the Colts did win their last nine consecutive games, including a 24-0 victory in the last game of the season over the Tennessee Titans, the new AFC South champs.

According to ESPN, Manning completed 209 of 290 pass attempts for 2,248 yards, 17 touchdowns and only three interceptions over the stretch of victories. That’s pretty great. But he is Peyton Manning. He’s supposed to play well. 

Which got me thinking… Could this year’s choice have been any more stale? I don’t think so. There were a number of players who had tremendous seasons for playoff teams that were clearly overlooked.

The Atlanta Falcons, for instance, had two players more deserving that Manning. RB Michael Turner (1,699 yards, 17 TDs) and rookie QB Matt Ryan (3,440 yards, 16 TDs) helped lead the Falcons into the playoffs a year after the team was in disarray following the Michael Vick scandal. Together, Turner and Ryan have changed the league-wide perception of the Falcons. That should not go overlooked.

What about Minnesota Vikings RB Adrian Peterson? He topped the NFL in rushing yards (1,760) and added 10 TDs as he led his team to the playoffs for the first time since 2004. He’s the best young running back since Gale Sayers and deserves any and all credit. He has single-handedly changed the Vikings’ fortunes.

Tennessee Titans QB Kerry Collins. Collins took over after Vince Young went on suicide watch and did what he had to do to get the Titans into the playoffs. The team, which got out to a 12-0 start, struggled down the stretch but still finished 13-3 and won the AFC South. Collins’ numbers aren’t great (2,676 yards, 12 TDs, 7 Ints) but nobody did more for his team. The Titans looked like a train wreck. Collins saved their season.

Could either the Falcons or the Vikings have made the NFC Playoffs without these players? Hardly. Would the Titans have a first-round bye in the AFC Playoffs? No.

Could the Colts had made the playoffs without Manning? Probably. The Colts still possess the pieces necessary to be successful and would have likely been on the cusp had backup QB Jim Sorgi been under center.

Clearly, the Associated Press’ choice of Manning represents overwhelming bias towards a player with the highest national profile. You can’t miss him. The guy is everywhere. DirecTVcommercials, ESPN commercials, Sprint commercials, MasterCard commercials. You name it, he probably endorses it. He even hosted Saturday Night Live!

Maybe next year the voters will get the stars out of their eyes and their heads out of their asses and actually spend some time watching game film and less time pandering to the NFL’s Leading Man(ning).

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