FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS
Alabama vs. 4. Ohio State
ROSE: 2. Oregon vs. 3.
Cotton Bowl: 5. Baylor
vs. 8. Michigan State
Peach Bowl: 6. TCU vs.
9. Ole Miss
Orange Bowl: 7.
Miss State vs. 12. Georgia Tech
Fiesta Bowl: 10.
Arizona vs. 20. Boise State
BLAME HERBSTREIT FOR BIG 12 SNUB
The worst thing the Big 12 can do is going for the quick fix. When no such "fix" is needed.
Sure, the conference rightfully feels it got screwed by the selection committee after being the only Power 5 conference left out of the inaugural College Football Playoff. But before the Big 12 runs out to hastily extend an invitation to Cincinnati or BYU or whomever to join the conference - or arrange a title game between its top two teams - it needs to ...
Stop. Just stop.
The Big 12 got left out not because it didn't stage a conference title game or because its conference champion didn't play a 13th game. It got left out because the selection committee proved to be no more discerning than the average fan who watches too much ESPN.
The fact is that if you replaced TCU with TEXAS, the Big 12 doesn't lose that final playoff spot to Ohio State and the Big Ten. Or if you replaced OHIO STATE with ILLINOIS, then the Horned Frogs would be on their way to New Orleans to face Alabama in a national semifinal game.
The Big 12 lost out because the schools it had in contention were small, private, Christian colleges, not college football behemoths like the four teams that made it. And in no small part because that's the way ESPN wanted it.
BREAKING DOWN RUSSELL ATHLETIC BOWL
As we inch closer to the December, 29th Russell Athletic Bowl between the Oklahoma Sooners and the Clemson Tigers, the ticket prices are bound to change. For this game, we are starting to see a drastic decrease in the prices of tickets to the game in the home of Disney World.
According to Totally Tickets, the average price of a ticket to the game in Orlando Florida costs $91.23, but can cost as little as $28. This price represents a 14% decrease in price over the past 7 days for Oklahoma football tickets. This decrease in price could be due to the loss of Clemson quarterback Deshaun Watson.
Watson was the explosive spark that drove
the Clemson offense for much of the season. When Watson was on the field, he
threw 14 touchdowns and only two interceptions for the tigers. He was the
catalyst to the nations 60th best scoring offense. While that rank doesn't seem very good, they may have been more productive if Watson had played the whole season. Cole Stoudt started the year as the starting quarterback, but threw 10 interceptions on only six touchdowns. Stoudt will start on December 29th.
FIRST FINAL FOUR IN NEW ERA
The College Football Playoff selection committee has some hard choices to make. Starting Friday night in Santa Clara, Calif., and ending Saturday night in Indianapolis, every one of its top six teams from last week won. And it only has four playoff spots to dole out.
But forget the canard that the selection committee looks at the entire picture from scratch every week; the 12 members already tipped their hand last week. The top three teams
- Alabama, Oregon and TCU - all won impressively to claim a piece of their respective conference championships. No. 4 Florida State as usual labored to win its game, but as the only unbeaten team in the FBS it will get to defend its national title.
That leaves Ohio State and Baylor on the outside, but the committee can reasonably defend its decision for leaving them out. These two teams easily had the worst losses among the contenders
- Ohio State to 6-6 Virginia Tech and Baylor to 7-5 West Virginia - and also the weakest schedules (according to Jeff Sagarin).
Despite Ohio State's impressive thrashing of Wisconsin, the problem remains that the committee views the Big Ten as the weakest Power Five conference, and with good reason. Each of the Big Ten's top four teams lost a nonconference game to a Power Five opponent, and Ohio State's loss to Virginia Tech was actually the worst among them.
As for Baylor, its nonconference schedule and how it performed against the nine common opponents will allow the committee to overlook the Bears' head-to-head victory over TCU as both teams shared the Big 12 title with identical 11-1 records.
Of course, unlike the BCS, we can no longer project the rankings with confidence, as the final decision will be made by 12 people and nothing else. And since this is year one of the College Football Playoff, we have no precedent to go by.
COMMITTEE SETS STAGE FOR FINAL FOUR
The selection committee delivered an emphatic message Tuesday night, practically anointing the four teams that will make the inaugural College Football Playoff field. That leaves Baylor and Ohio State on the outside looking in, even if they won their respective final regular-season games.
By moving TCU up one spot to No. 3
- over undefeated Florida State (12-0) - the committee is indicating that the Horned Frogs' playoff position is unassailable as long as they defeat 2-9 Iowa State at home Saturday. A Baylor victory over Kansas State will earn the Bears a co-Big 12 championship, but that, along with their 61-58 win over TCU earlier in the season, won't be enough for them to leapfrog TCU.
So that's where we stand with five days remaining before the committee's final rankings are revealed Sunday morning. Here are five other observations:
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.
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.