Friday, November 25, 2011

KU football players weigh in on BCS


Jayhawks enjoy Arrowhead experience

Kansas football players appreciated the opportunity to play the Border War game against Missouri at a professional venue such as Arrowhead Stadium.

Kansas University football players might not have any bearing on the national championship picture, but — like anybody who keeps up with college football — they certainly have opinions on the BCS system, especially after watching a pair of then-top-five Big 12 teams get upset this past weekend.

Two of the Jayhawks’ previous three opponents, Iowa State and Baylor, wreaked havoc on the BCS standings by knocking off former No. 2 Oklahoma State and former No. 5 Oklahoma, respectively.

The results were surprising to some KU players, but not to senior linebacker Steven Johnson.

“Iowa State, we almost beat; Baylor, we almost beat,” he said. “I really feel as though in the Big 12 this year anybody can beat anybody every single week.”

That holds true in many BCS conferences year after year, and has led many college football enthusiasts to call for a change. Count Kansas junior wide receiver Kale Pick among those in favor of college football playoffs.

“I’ve always wanted a playoff system,” Pick said. “I love the NFL playoffs. I love college basketball playoffs. I think it’s just more exciting to go round-by-round and see who the true champion is through a playoff system.”

As for the format, Pick said eight or 10 teams would be the way to go.

“I think a playoff system would be pretty sweet — kind of do or die (in the postseason) — instead of just losing once and you’re out in the regular season,” he said.

KU sophomore quarterback Jordan Webb agreed with Pick that the BCS system, which picks two teams at the end of the regular season for the championship game, might not be the best way to decide an NCAA title.

“I can’t really say that I know too much about the intricacy of it (the BCS) or anything, but I think a playoff would be sweet,” Webb said. “Everybody thinks a playoff is really the way to decide a champion, but you can’t deny the BCS has had some awesome games.”

Other than Pick and Webb, other players at KU’s Tuesday media session weren’t pro-playoffs. Red-shirt freshman tight end Jimmay Mundine said he stood somewhere in the middle on the topic of BCS versus football brackets.

“I understand you want to have a playoff system to see who is the best. … But then again, I like it that it’s tradition that everybody has a bowl game,” Mundine said. “The fans like it, and each player likes it — we get gifts and stuff — so it’s pretty cool that everybody gets rewarded for the hard work that everybody puts in.”

Johnson was in favor of the BCS system currently in place, primarily because of the logistics of making the postseason longer.

“Yeah, a playoff would be OK, but then again, with college you’ve got school and your breaks and stuff like that, and it would kind of be difficult,” he said.

Johnson said the BCS successfully weeds out pretenders from contenders in deciding who plays for the championship and said creating a playoff system would provide another challenge for student-athletes, with extra practices and film sessions conflicting even more with their academic lives.

Senior tight end AJ Steward said there are pros and cons for both the BCS and a playoff system. He weighed in on the side of the current format, because he thought college football, unlike some NCAA postseasons, only considers the very best teams when deciding a champ.

“College basketball, the bracket system that they have, I feel like 64 teams, there’s no possible way that 64 teams would be competing for a championship,” Steward said. “I never understood that.”

He said a similar playoff format in football would take away from bowl games, which can be an appealing goal.

“Being a college player, every school, realistically, isn’t good enough to compete for a championship every year,” Steward said. “This (the bowl system) gives guys an incentive to play harder. It just makes the game a lot better when you have different bowl games to go to.”

Plus, the St. Louis native pointed out, the current format probably favors the longevity of those charged with running Division I programs.

“For the coaches, you may go 7-5 and that’s a good season,” Steward said. “You should be rewarded for going 7-5. I just feel like you can’t really get to that point with a playoff system.”

Attendance dwindling

The epic showdown between No. 2 Kansas and No. 3 Missouri in 2007 probably was an unfair way to kickoff the Border War series at Arrowhead Stadium. There simply was no way future Border War games at the home of the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs could live up to that thrilling, 36-28, primetime match-up won by Missouri. Attendance numbers in the games since then indicate that’s the case.

In that first game, 80,537 fans packed an electric Arrowhead. Since then, the numbers have dropped each season, with a crowd of 79,123 showing up for the 2008 game, 70,072 in 2009 and 55,788 for last year’s game. As of Wednesday, around 47,000 tickets had been purchased for Saturday’s match-up.

KU-MU by the numbers

The Jayhawks enter this weekend’s Border War match-up with Mizzou with one of the worst statistical defenses in college football. KU ranks 120th (of 120 FBS teams) in total defense and scoring defense and gives up an average of 531 yards and 46 points per game. The Jayhawks also rank 115th in pass defense (286 yards per game) and 118th in rushing defense (245 ypg).

Missouri ranks 80th in total defense (405 ypg), 53rd in scoring defense (25 ppg), 50th in rushing defense (141 ypg) and 99th in pass defense (263 ypg).

On the other side of the ball, KU ranks 95th in total offense, at 344 yards per game, 46th in rushing offense (168 ypg) and 97th in pass offense (176 ypg). The Tigers rank 11th in total offense (483 ypg), 11th in rush offense (242 ypg) and 51st in pass offense (241 ypg).

As for scoring, the Jayhawks (89th, 23 ppg) have been outscored a whopping, 501-258, in 11 games this season, compared with the Tigers’ 362-272 scoring advantage in 11 games. MU ranks 31st in the country at 33 points per outing.

KU-MU series history

According to official records at KU and the NCAA, the Border War series is tied at 55-55-9. According to records at Missouri, the Tigers lead the series, 56-54-9. The discrepency comes from a game in 1960 in which KU topped the Tigers, 23-7, in Columbia, Mo., but later was forced to forefit the victory because it used ineligible players.

The Jayhawks are 1-3 all-time against Mizzou at Arrowhead Stadium, with their lone victory coming in the final game of the 2008 season on a fourth-down, fourth-quarter touchdown pass from Todd Reesing to Kerry Meier in the snow.

In 2007, the 11-0 Jayhawks, ranked No. 2 in the country, and 10-1 Tigers, ranked third, squared off in the most-watched game of the college football season. The Tigers jumped out to leads of 14-0, 21-0 and 28-7 before KU staged a furious fourth-quarter comeback that came up just short and led to the Jayahwks only loss of the season, 36-28. In head coach Turner Gill’s only meeting with Mizzou, the Jayhawks were toppled by the Tigers, 35-7, in 2010.


Funhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Pint Size Magic

“When the first November snow falls onto a brown Midwestern landscape, I always envision a pint-sized quarterback gently throwing a football through the falling snow his scrawny form heaving a shot put barely over the Missouri defender’s head, landing into the outstretched arms of a Kansas receiver - the game’s co-hero who humbly gave up his job to that pint-sized, magical wizard.”

Funhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Fun KU – MU History - November 29, 2008. Kansas 40 – Missouri 37. Source: Columbia Tribune, November 30, 2008 Headline: Reesing toys with MU all the way to the finish Kansas City - Kansas quarterback Todd Reesing called it "just one of those plays you draw up in the dirt." With the Border Showdown on the line, Reesing rolled right, stepped up in the pocket and heaved a throw that momentarily washed away a season’s worth of frustration. Reesing’s 26-yard touchdown pass to Kerry Meier on fourth down in the final minute of KU’s 40-37 victory over Missouri yesterday at Arrowhead Stadium offered the junior quarterback and his team a sweet dose of redemption. The enduring image from last year’s Border Showdown was Reesing, sod wedged in his helmet, beneath a mass of defenders in the end zone after MU’s game-ending safety. There could not have been a greater contrast yesterday. Reesing threw for 375 yards and four scores, broke most of the school records he set a year ago and, most important for Kansas, led two touchdown drives in the game’s last five minutes. Down four with 1:50 left, Kansas started at its own 33. Reesing completed 4 of 5 passes to lead Kansas to MU’s 26. But a pair of incompletions later, and KU’s fate was down to one play. Fourth-and-7 at MU’s 26 with 33 seconds left. "I’ve been waiting for a situation like that, a big game where it comes down to a fourth-down play on a last-minute drive. That’s what you dream about as a kid. That’s the situation you want to be put in and have the ball in your hands." Kansas called its final timeout, but the play hardly unfolded as scripted. Reesing saw his first two reads covered and Missouri’s blitzers fast closing in. "I just started moving around and praying," Reesing said. "Then I just kind of shot-putted it." The ball sailed over Missouri safety Justin Garrett and into Meier’s outstretched hands for the touchdown. "When the game is on the line," KU wideout Dezmon Briscoe said, "there is no other quarterback in the country I’d rather have than Todd Reesing."

Funhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

Fun KU – MU History - November 29, 2008. Kansas 40 – Missouri 37. Source: Columbia Tribune, November 30, 2008 Headline: Put mildly, it hurts Kansas City - The Missouri-Kansas rivalry was nearly even after more than a century of football games, so was it any wonder that the 117th edition of the Border Showdown came down to the white-knuckle drama that unfolded at Arrowhead Stadium yesterday afternoon? Was it any wonder the Tigers and Jayhawks played a fourth-quarter game of pingpong with the lead, passing it back and forth to set up the inevitable moments of glory for one team and agony for the other? Was it any wonder that a series separated by one victory - albeit one disputed victory - came down to a do-or-die play from scrimmage? Tigers up four with 33 seconds on the clock. Jayhawk ball, fourth-and-7 at Missouri’s 26-yard line. Glory for one, agony for the other. The Tigers (had) man coverage on the outside, two linebackers blitzing up the middle, nose tackle Jaron Baston falling back into coverage and a delayed safety blitz. "It was an all-out blitz," linebacker Sean Weatherspoon said. Reesing’s first read was Briscoe. "I think he slipped or something," Reesing said. "So, I just started moving around and praying. Then I just kind of shot-putted it." Adjusting his route with a double move from outside to in, Meier slipped past safety Justin Garrett down the left seam and hauled in Reesing’s lob around the 2. He cruised into the end zone for the go-ahead score. Glory, Jayhawks. Agony, Tigers.

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 8 months ago

Greatest Kansas football game...EVER!!!

ahpersecoachingexperience 10 years, 8 months ago

Asking our guys about the BCS is like asking us posters to explain nuclear fission.

63Jayhawk 10 years, 8 months ago

What would you like to know about nuclear fission?

Jackalope7 10 years, 8 months ago

Thinking the same thing when I read the title of the article.

vd 10 years, 8 months ago

If college FB is so bad (with out the playoff), why is it the driving force behind all the conference realignment? Why is all the money in FB, which has no playoff, and not in BB, which has a playoff?

Open__Your__Eyes 10 years, 8 months ago

Sad, but true.

They don't mention that because they don't want to demoralize the players, but 100 teams are just punching bags for the 20 contenders -- they have all been eliminated before the season even begins.

In case you're wondering why, why go to all that trouble? Why not just let the two best teams (based on merit alone) play in the championship? It's because the championship in college football is fixed -- like professional wrestling. The games are real, but the championship game is predetermined in a way that only traditional powerhouses can play. That's because traditional powerhouses draw the biggest ratings and produce the greatest revenue.

Now, (from a business standpoint) there's nothing wrong with fake championships, everybody knows professional wrestling is fake, but millions of people love it anyway. They stage the matches that attract the biggest audience.

So does the BCS.

No matter what those other 100 teams do, even going undefeated, there's nothing they can do to "play" their way into the championship game. No matter what happens, the deck is stacked so two high-profile teams will be in the championship game. It doesn't matter which two, the money is the same.

And now you know, the BCS is just a big reality TV show.

Stanford's coach went ballistic this week when he figured out his team was effectively eliminated. Imagine how he would feel if he really knew how the poll numbers were manipulated. It's not exactly a transparent process, players and coaches alike are kept in the dark about how the rankings are compiled in order to maintain the league's competitive image. You guys are just the actors -- someone else does the casting.

Open__Your__Eyes 10 years, 8 months ago


Wow, how can players not know this stuff?

First, the NCAA does not have a championship in D1 college football. It's the only sports that does not have an NCAA championship.

The NCAA lost the championship in an antitrust case a long time ago. The NCAA got caught fixing the prices and distribution of television revenue which led to today's system where every conference does their own thing.

The NCAA regulates other parts of college football, like enforcement and bowl certification, but they do not negotiate television contracts or stage the championship game.

Because of the antitrust case, and the president's unwillingness to share television revenue (from football), there is practically no chance, as in 0%, there will ever be an NCAA championship in Division 1 football, also called the FBS.

The playoff concept is nice, like it would be nice to have a flying carpet, but in reality it's simply impossible.

The FBS is 4 times the size of the NFL. A playoff would take so long, the championship would be in the spring. Of course, you could shorten it by having fewer rounds, but then someone would have to pick (or vote) the teams in -- and it's that way now.

So a playoff not based on merit would be just as corrupt as the BCS. Why would anybody want that?

Sure, there are pie-in-the-sky ways to make it work. You could add more weeks to the year (68 instead of 52). Play more than one game a week. Reduce the number of teams in the league to 28 max., etc.-- but none of those things will ever happen.

AJ is right, playoffs would destroy the bowl industry. Again, why would anybody want to do that? People see the NFL and have playoffs on the brain, but the FBS is simply too big to have a representative and proportional playoff -- and college football will never have a post season like the NHL.

As the saying old goes, you can't put 20 pounds of sugar in a 10-pound bag.

AJ also points out that every team is not good enough to play for a championship every year. Then why play at all? The Royals are rarely in the World Series, but they still get the same chance as the Yankees.

If I could ask AJ, or any player a question, I'd like to know why he's against open competition for the championship. Yes, most teams are not good enough, but how does it hurt to let them try?

AJ is right in a way, see, the BCS is a rolling average and while the first standings are not released until week 7, the data starts with the pre-season poll.

Not to pop your bubble, but that means only teams in the pre-season top-20 has a chance -- because they get a head start.
For all the other teams -- 100, their season (in terms of competing for the national championship) is over before they play the first game.

Pbbut 10 years, 8 months ago

Good points, and considering the fact that the Big8 is no longer exists and effective next year, Missouri is no longer a member of its successor, I'm certain they will recognize the NCAA recordbook. If they're "too good" for the conference, it's going to be hard to rely on the conference record book to support their weak claim.

texashawk10 10 years, 8 months ago

I will happily suffer through 3 more years of Gill for win tomorrow over the Bushwhackers.

Muck Fizzou!

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 8 months ago

Which part of the Osceola burning would you like us to remember? The part where Kansas troops led hundreds of slaves to freedom?

Andy Tweedy 10 years, 8 months ago

Already done that, boy, and you'll find it in many of the history books not written by the Confederacy!

Jackalope7 10 years, 8 months ago

So, you're pro slavery. I like how all you mizzou fans always bring up Quantrill's Raid. So many time I hear from mizzou fans, "Ole Quantrill came into Lawrence and burnt that motha down." And they say it so proudly, which astounds me. Do you not remember the reason why Quantrill did that? Cause Lawrence was against slavery and Quantrill was pro slavery. So, why on earth would you support someone like that. Oh, now I remember, cause mizzou fans are a bunch of morons that can't think five minutes past their face. Freakin loser.

Kent Kossoy 10 years, 8 months ago

OK? So if you all can focus? Who wins today? The team that is soon going to the Southern Enema of the Confederacy, or the suck hole team from Lawrence?? Reading your comments is almost as painful as watching this game will probably be.

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