Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Tech’s Leach rips BCS

Red Raiders coach campaigns for playoff system

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach signs a football during Big 12 Media Day in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, July 29, 2009.

Texas Tech coach Mike Leach signs a football during Big 12 Media Day in Irving, Texas, Wednesday, July 29, 2009.



2009 Big 12 Media Days

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2009 Big 12 Media Days

— It's one of the most disputed topics in the sports world today: The Bowl Championship Series.

Fans, coaches, columnists, bloggers, Congress and even President Obama have voiced their opinions for and against the system decided by polls and computers that determines college football's national championship.

Mark down Texas Tech coach Mike Leach as someone who's undoubtedly against the BCS.

"I think the bowls need to be an important part of a future playoff system, which I hope comes about. I don't know if it will," Leach said on Wednesday, the final day of Big 12 Media Days. "There's a lot of 'Oh my God, this has never been done, we've never heard of such a thing.' There ain't nothing unique about what I'm saying. I'm the mainstream. This other system (BCS), that's what's not mainstream. The mainstream is everybody has playoffs that involves a lot of teams. None of this let's have four (teams), and play one or any of that crap."

Texas Tech was involved in the BCS madness last year when it finished conference play 7-1 and in a three-way tie with Oklahoma and Texas. The Red Raiders never seemed to be seriously considered to represent the South in the Big 12 Championship game, due to the 65-21 waxing they took at Oklahoma on Nov. 22, 2008.

"The truth of the matter is if we lost to Oklahoma the second game of the season instead of the second-to-last game of the season, we would have gone to the championship game," Leach said.

So what's the solution?

Leach said he'd cut the regular season from 12 to 10 games, and have a 64-team playoff, where the national champion would end up playing 16 games. A reporter immediately laughed after the 10th-year coach's suggestion.

"You see this guy (reporter) here?" Leach asked during a laid-back interview with reporters that invoked laughter on several occasions. "What, I'm not off the mark here. You're off the mark. Everyone else does it this way. Hey, Texas high school football champion: 16 games. Division II champion: 16 games. Division III — well, depending, because some of those guys will fudge on a game — 15 or 16 games. NFL, the old guys? Even more than that. Everybody thinks that I went into a cave and carved all this out."

The BCS has crowned a champion since the 1998 season.

Texas Tech is coming off an 11-2 season, considered one of the best in school history. The Red Raiders lost to Mississippi, 47-34, in the Cotton Bowl.

Most pundits are predicting Tech to finish next year fourth in the rugged South division. Quarterback Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree are no longer in Lubbock, and Oklahoma State is expected to challenge Oklahoma and Texas in the South.


tdub 10 years, 6 months ago

For the first, and likely only, time in my life I can say that I wholeheartedly agree with everything Leach said here. It's about changing the culture and making the push for a playoff the norm against the vast minority of corporate BCS supporters. I don't see how money is holding this back when you're potentially adding three or four games to the schedule. There really are no excuses left.

sevenyearhawk 10 years, 6 months ago

He ain't our coach ... and the Kansas/Tech game last year in Lawrence STILL makes me sick to my stomach ...

But I tell you what, I really dig the Pirate King!

I watched the Tech/Texas replay on ESPN-U last night ... freaking EPIC!

Rock_Chalk_NYC 10 years, 6 months ago

The 64 team tourney is a bit much, but I totally agree with his comments.

We need more big name college coaches and some BCS Conference AD's to start saying this.

truefan 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't think the 64 team tourny is too much at all. We could have March madness twice a year and they would only end up playing 3 more games per season than they did before if you cut the regular season down to 10 games. And really, all we would be missing out on is the highly anticipated KU vs. Podunk State followed by KU vs. (insert nobody worth playing school here). I wouldn't be too upset and considering KU would only have to be one of the top 64 teams in the country, I think we would have a good shot at making the tourny regularly.

On the other hand, the bowl games are fun, but pretty much everyone gets to go because there are too many and they lose their importance. I mean, I loved watching KU play in Arizona last year for the Insight Bowl, but the game only really meant a little more T.V. coverage and maybe a boost in recruiting in the powerhouse football state of AZ (sarcasm).

The problem is that everyone is scared of change and yeah, there are going to be some bugs to work out when they switch (if ever). Going to a playoff has my vote because you still have a win or go home mentality, you would still get to play in different cities and get T.V. coverage, and you would still have those odd matchups that rarely happen such as KU vs. Minnesota. Then you add on TONS of money from 64 team brackets minus out the bowl games that no one watches (Western Michagan vs. Central Michagan), stir, and you have March madness in Dec/Jan. Plus you would have cinderella teams like Utah who would stop getting screwed out of a title shot. If they are the best they would be a high seed going in and they would be the last one standing when it was all said an done. If they lose...they have no one to blame but themselves and maybe the refs if they are babies.

64 teams...make it happen.

boomrsoonr26 10 years, 6 months ago

Where is Obama to fix this sh!t already. Forget socialized health care, and over-reacting Harvard professors, fix the BCS! Make vote worth something.

djgratt59 10 years, 6 months ago

Agreed, the system is fixed by a bunch of wealthy old white men! Tear it down and open it up to the People!

Dirk Medema 10 years, 6 months ago

tdub - I don't see how money is holding this back when you're potentially adding three or four games to the schedule.

Actually, you aren't adding 3 or 4 games to the schedule, you are removing approximately 87 games from the schedule. That could result in an economc impact, and especially for the bowls that have a definite investment n college FB. (8 teams would add 1, 2, or 3 games to their current 13 or 14 game schedule, but 111 teams would lose 1 or 2 games from their schedule.)

The other challenge could be finding a 6 week period when everyone could agree to play a 65 game tourney in December and January. Most schools don't allow athletics during finals, which is complicated even more by the quarter system, etc. used by some schools.

waywardJay 10 years, 6 months ago

I love mike leach..... always the sound board.....infact, im pretty sure he DID go into a cave and draw this up...... i wish i would get televised debates betwen Leach and Gundy because both of them are Camera Magnets for the 3rd and 4th best teams in the south.......

We all need a playoff system.... it's not working without it..... but this is a CAVE scenario, Mike. You came up with 10 becauseit allowed you the best chance to advance last season.... let's se whee you rank in the 64 for this year.....

Rivethead 10 years, 6 months ago

I love Mike Leach as well. And I'm all for a playoff system. But I see two "problems" with a 64 team tourney:

1) Traditional powers like USC, Florida, Alabama, Georgia may get screwed because of the weather. With that many teams in a tourney you would have to have games in December/January in a northern climate. There is no way around it. Can you imagine: a #1 seed USC having to travel to Denver (Midwest Regional) to face a #1 6 seed UofM? USC, Florida, Texas......those kids NEVER see snow and ice. Those teams would be at a disadvantage.

2) With a 16 game season to get a championship, the best team in college football probably won't be the Champion. The deepest team will. You could have a team full of 22 starting All Americans, but if you've got zero depth under those kids, you won't win the Championship.

Jeremy LeMaster 10 years, 6 months ago

Rivethead... I'm crying over number 1. Those kids shouldn't have to play in the same elements that everyone else has, that would be unfair! Add to it that they have so much more talent and we could upset the College Football world by having them lose every once in awhile.

With the BCS, you crown a team most years that isn't the best team. Depth is part of your team, the best team would have the best chance of winning. But it isn't a guarantee (just like in March), at least they have a shot at it unlike the current system. You are handing a team the championship game and excluding a multi-tude of other teams. These teams do not play in the same conferences, the same teams, or in the same elements. You never know who is the best until the play each other. Look at the south last year..... OU beat TT... TT beat Texas, Texas Beat OU. All went 7-1 in Big 12 play and were 11-1 overall. Now, who was the best team? and that is only out of our the South Division of the Big 12 Conference!

I love the BCS... where else can you crown a champion that has no meaning!

Rick Arnoldy 10 years, 6 months ago

I’m sure he’s for a playoff but he had to be tongue-in-cheek about 64 teams. There’s only about 110 teams in Div I (I hate the Football Bowl Subdivision moniker). You would be pratically guaranteed to have teams with losing records in it.

The field has to be big enough so that you don’t create even more separation between the haves and the have-nots. A 16 team or 24 team field with each of the conferences guaranteed one spot is ideal so we don’t keep seeing USC and Florida playing for the championship every year. Games are played at the higher seeds fields until it’s down to 8 or 4 teams so fans don’t have to travel as much.

bcc 10 years, 6 months ago

I don’t understand why a playoff system has to have 64,32, or event 16 teams, and why will a playoff system mean the end of bowl games. Also what is the big problem with using the computers? If you ask me the computers aren’t the problem with the current system, it’s the so called experts (ESPN). They are the ones saying no way to the idea that a Utah or TT or even KU could play for a national championship. They don’t deserve to play in one because they aren’t a traditional powerhouse, they can’t have that good of a team because back 5,10, 15 years ago they weren’t that good.

I say leave the computers they are the only factor that doesn’t include a bias (SEC, Pac 10). Why not use the computers to figure the top 8 teams, of that season, regardless of their conferences. Most people can agree on them, maybe not the order but the teams. Let those teams duke it out for a championship, they could even call these games “The BCS Bowl Games” they would have to add a few, which would generate more $$$. With the other teams let the current bowl system stay. Keep the conference bids, most of the non-BCS bowls only care to the teams fans and the community in which the games are played in.

I know my setup is not perfect, never said it was, but keeping the current system or changing the non-BCS bowl games, is just like not letting Mr. Rose (the player) in the hall. Just plain stupid.

labbadabba 10 years, 6 months ago

I don't think it's a stretch to have a 12-16 team tourney. That's four weeks which is roughly the length of bowl season.

The other bowls can remain intact for team that didn't make the cut in the tourney. The big BCS bowls (i.e. Rose, Orange etc) can be used as the final round games in the tourney.

Seems pretty simple to me.

tominkc 10 years, 6 months ago

I'm all for a playoff but I think 64 teams is going way overboard. Actually, I think 16 teams is probably too many. I know this isn't an original argument, but opening the door too wide with a playoff will make the regular season lose too much of its meaning. I like the fact that the margin for error for elite teams is razor thin. I like the debate that brews all season long. College football keeps you on the edge of your seat every week, and that's something no other sport can say. I just don't see how you can have a large playoff without losing that.

But I do think a 4 or maybe 8 team playoff makes sense. Hopefully, that would avoid situations where truly deserving teams get left in the cold. The tough (and important, I think) thing is not to be tempted to keep expanding.

truefan 10 years, 6 months ago

How is 64 teams overboard?! In 2008 there were 34 bowl games. That means that 68 teams played in bowl games that year. So take the top 64 of that group, place them in a bracket. Take two complete underdogs to play in a play in game for the rights to play the number 1 overall seed and you've got 66 teams playing in bowl games. So to the two teams that don't get hoo. Let the Champion fight for their crown I say!!!

tominkc 10 years, 6 months ago

I would agree that there are too many bowl games. But I don't think the answer is to take nearly all of the bowl-eligible teams and throw them in a playoff. Maybe I'm on the fringe, but I don't think a 7-5 team has any room to complain about not having a shot at a playoff. Plus, a 7-5 or 6-6 team would have zero chance at winning a playoff if allowed to participate.

That's why I think there should be a playoff, but one that is limited to no more than 8 teams. If that's the number, most years you can say that any of the teams that get in have a shot to win it. It would do less damage to the regular season, in that teams will still have to fight to make the cut. Finally, it leaves enough teams out that it doesn't make the non-BCS/playoff bowl games completely irrelevant (though again, I think there should be less bowl games). Those bowls, I think, give a team that's 5-3 in week 9 something to still play for.

At the end of the day, I want a playoff, but for me you have to find a way to preserve the importance of the regular season.

justanotherfan 10 years, 6 months ago

The FCS, D-2 and D-3 all have 24 team playoff systems, which seems to work quite well at those levels.

And typically, the top teams do end up winning it all at those levels. With 24 teams, the top 2 teams in each region get a bye in the first round, so basically the top 8 teams in the country get a week off while teams 9-24 beat each other up for the right to play @ one of those top 8 the next week.

While there are some upsets in the second round, typically the higher seeds hold serve on their home turf. Where it really gets interesting is the regional title games. Although those games are also at the home of the higher seed, by then you are dealing with either a lower seed that has already won a game in the playoffs on the road or a #2 seed that may be a conference champ (possibly even undefeated) in their own right.Those games are almost always epics.

Semifinals and finals are played on (relatively) neutral fields.

And the argument that it adds too many games is just silly. As I said, all of the lower NCAA divisions have playoffs. Most of the time, the championship game is the 15th of the season. And most of those road trips are by bus. In D-1, with 12 regular season games, plus a possible conference title game (if those are still around in a playoff system), a team could potentially play 17 games.

As for the regular season losing meaning, its actually the opposite in a playoff system. In the lower divisions for instance, if you aren't either first or second in your conference, you probably won't make the playoffs. So winning the conference is EVERYTHING, especially because a conference title will probably get you a home game in the playoffs.

For instance, last year MU would have been playing OU in the Big XII title game for a spot in the playoffs (and a chance to win it all). Buffalo would have been playing Ball State (in the MAC championship) for a spot in the playoffs, not the Whatever Bowl. The Sun Belt champion would have a chance to play for the title. They wouldn't necessarily win, but if you're Buffalo for instance, and you're conference champ, now you get a first round home game against Texas Tech or something. If you're BYU and you're second in the Mountain West, you get a first round date with Ohio State. Instead of Utah playing Alabama, they get a bye and then get a home game against the winner of (hypothetically) Tulsa and Boston College.

That sounds like fun.

ku_tailg8 10 years, 6 months ago

TominKC...I agree 64 teams is overkill. Football isn't like basketball where a cinderella story can jump up and bite someone. 16 teams and maybe even 8 would be enough for me. An 8 team playoff would add 3 weeks to the season and since they take a month off before bowl games it can fill the void in December. I realize if there are 8 teams someone will whine about being team #9. They can still keep the bowl games but do it in a playoff system. This system is way too retro and something needs to be done.

Gordon Penny 10 years, 6 months ago

I actually think that 8 teams is going to generate just as much controverst as the current system. For instance, how could you give three of the spots to Texas, Texas Tech and Oklahoma last season? Who would you give the other five spots to? If you only have 8 teams then you are going to have to create some arbitrary BS rules to figure out who those spots go to. These rules will be akin to the crock that only 2 teams from one conference can go to a BCS game (think Oklahoma, Missouri and Kansas the year Kansas went to the Orange Bowl). The same fallout is likely to happen if you get 24 teams.

On the other hand, I agree with those of you who say that a 6-6 or 7-5 team should not be allowed in a playoff. I could not agree more. Maybe we should eliminate the number of teams required for the tournament, and then just take all the teams with a record of 10-2 or better, or 9-3 and better, and put them in a tournament no matter how many of those teams there are. This system seems to me the fairest system since it is not limited by an arbitrary number, but is limited by teams' performance on the field.

Just my two cents.

BTW, I absolutely despise the fact that conference champions get automatic bids into anything -- such as the BB tournament, or any kind of football playoff. Grr. Football might be acceptable since there is no chance that a team with a losing record can win a conference tournament and get an automatic bid. The best of the best, right?

jayhawkintx73 10 years, 6 months ago

There are only about 120 Division I football teams where there are close to 300 division I basketball teams. I don't like the BCS system, but it would be very difficult to have a play-off system that would dismiss some of the teams that would deserve to be there, even if it is Kansas when they play 3 or 4 teams rated in the top 10 or 15 liked we did a year ago. No other Division school that comes to mind played Texas, Oklahoma, Tech, and Missouri in the same year. We get knocked every year for a cup cake non-conference schedule. There are only so many good teams, and not all top 25 teams can play 2 or 3 teams in the non-conference that would be considered strong opponents. We're always going to get at least 1 or 2 cupcakes, because those schools seek out programs like KU's for the money for their programs. LSU does the same thing by playing in state foes like LA Tech and SE Lousiana. We also played both of those teams and beat them. Michigan schedules at least one game a year with an in state foe like Central Michigan, whom we also played and crushed. But you can bet that if Michigan is 10-2 and Kansas is 10-2 Michigan would get the higher seed almost every time. Same with LSU. At least that would be my take on it. Almost impossible to have teams deserving to miss it and have teams that aren't so deserving make it.

NebraskaJayhawk 10 years, 5 months ago

I agree with the post about an 8-team tournament. Seriously, if you took the top 8 teams, you would come out with a true champion. Let the BCS pick those 8 teams....who cares. But let it be played out to determine a champion.

Typically there are some teams that are not considered to be crowned even though they have every right to be. With 8-16 teams, this would surely include all of those deserving of the chance.

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