Turn Back The Clock On The Bowls
OUR "SUGGESTION BOX" MEMO TO COLLEGE FOOTBALL: LET'S TURN BACK THE CLOCK ALREADY!
By Jim Hurley:
Today is Thursday, January 12th and this is what Jim Sez...
Okay, so we've all had a few days to digest the end of the 2011 College Football Season - whether you're an Alabama fan or not you gotta admit that the Crimson Tide's 21-0 win against LSU was one hellacious ugly game! - and no doubt you read articles or heard that this BCS Championship Game was one of the lowest-rated title tilts in recent TV history.
Told you weeks ago that nobody wanted to see an LSU versus Alabama rematch for all the marbles, but we got one anyway and it truly set the sport back a bunch of years.
Talk about a game with no true entertainment value!
Obviously, the hue-and-cry throughout the land has been to get us to a point where we always get #1 versus #2 in a BCS Championship Game but as any hard-core College Football fan can attest that's not always a slam-dunk proposition - it's bad enough the BCS folks allowed a team that didn't win its conference (see Alabama) to play for a national championship but than for LSU to have to play an extra game (see its SEC Championship Game win against Georgia while 'Bama sat that first Saturday in December) and then have to beat an archrival twice in the same season was absolutely ridiculous.
It was all about money, moolah, cold hard cash but it turned out to be a terrible mistake by the haughty BCS masters.
Hey, you won't get any arguments from me - Alabama exited regular-season play as one of the two or three-best teams in the land but Nick Saban's crew hadn't won when it had to back in early November against LSU and so should have been eliminated from BCS Championship Game discussion... end of story.
So, you're asking us, what should have happened this year to determine College Football's national champ? We'll tell you!
It's what we think should have been happening all along - there never should have been a BCS Championship Game - it's not as if this tilt was the culmination of some playoff system, right? - and the sport and all its parties (except for this year's Alabama team) would have been better off with a "turn-back-the-clock" philosophy.
As long as we're not getting a playoff, than go back to the way things used to be and do the following when it comes to the post-season bowl games and this is what you would have had heading into the bowls this past season:
Here's how we would have handled the top handful of bowl games this past holiday season:
Rose Bowl - Wisconsin vs. Oregon. Yes, keep the Big Ten versus Pac-12 rivalry alive and well in Pasadena no matter what's happening in the rest of the College Football world. P.S., it was a very entertaining game, eh?
Orange Bowl - Oklahoma State vs. Alabama: Have the Big 12 champ represented here in the Orange Bowl as used to be the case for years and years and have them play the best possible at-large team and you would have had a great matchup here based merely on contrasting styles. Consider that if Okie State went into the game #2 (or #3) and 'Bama #2 or #3 than a win by either and an LSU loss in its bowl game would have propelled this winner to a title (think 1983 College Football season and if you don't remember back than Google it!).
Sugar Bowl - LSU vs. Boise State: Simply have the SEC champ head to its normal "home" for a bowl game against either the Big East or ACC champ or the best-possible wild-card type team and we'll come up with a Boise State Broncos bunch that was a Top 10 team when exiting regular-season play. Now, doesn't LSU-Boise State look like a monster game that folks could sink their teeth into and consider a Boise State win might just give that non-automatic qualifier school ammo to say it's #1. Juicy stuff, right?
Fiesta Bowl - West Virginia vs. Stanford: Have either the Big East or ACC champ play a wild-card or top-flight at-large team and this game would have been a real gas. Not to say that Stanford versus Oklahoma State wasn't fun on the night of January 2nd but we say the whole system of conference champs heading to specific bowl games would have added much more drama that what we all got this past Monday night. Heck, even long-time and legendary Florida State head coach Bobby Bowden commented last week that under this current BCS format "nobody give two cents worth" about all the bowls except for the national championship game and "Saint Bobby" made it perfectly clear he does not think that's good.
Cotton Bowl - Arkansas vs. Michigan State: Just think that this game should get some SEC or old Southwest Conference flavor (which it did this year with Arkansas versus Kansas State) and than bring in a conference championship game team that was Top 10 material (see Sparty).
Then, let the other twentysomething bowls scramble for the best matchups they can find in the Gator and Holiday and Capital One Bowls, etc. and you're apt to see some fun head-to-head showdowns - again we watch 20 hours of College Football live action per week and would have been better suited to make this a great Bowl Card - a lot better than what the College Football fan got in the past 25 days.
Here's the crux of what we have to say here:
The current BCS system stinks and is full of flaws as the one we just witnessed earlier this week when two teams from the same conference - one of which didn't even win its division - wound up playing for a national championship.
Let's scrap this system - immediately - and go back to the old ways where #1 might not wind up playing #2 but would play in its conference/league-affiliated bowl game and maybe things could shake out just right that we'd have the old arguments about who should be #1.
It would make all the bowls - and yes, there are too many with 35 bowl games being played these days (what say we trim back to a more manageable 25 or 26 bowl games because nobody's gonna miss the Beef 'O'Brady Bowl or the Belk Bowl or even the Ticket City Bowl... good grief!... be more entertaining and most of 'em were have some real meaning again.
Just consider what might have happened if LSU lost to 'Bama 17-14... you would have had a slew of Associated Press voters still tab LSU #1 (that's what these folks were busy saying last week before the BCS Championship Game) and so than would purpose would it have had to match up LSU and Alabama against one another one mo' time?
The system is broke, ladies and gents. Don't go forward trying to fix it (you've proven incapable of getting the job done the way we see it) - instead take a step back into yesteryear and let the bowls break the way they used to and it'll be a lot more fun for everyone.
Do it now!
NOTE: Catch our NFL Divisional Playoff Previews in the next couple of editions of Jim Sez.
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