Well, it's official: College Football has a playoff. The BCS is Dead. Long live the BCS. Nevermind that the new system isn't exactly the ideal one, but it's the one we will have and the one that will eventually lead to a full-scale, more-than-four-teams playoff which is what everyone wants anyway. I haven't familiarized myself with the inner-workings of the system 100% quite yet, but I grasp the overall message and have found three huge positives.
One is that, from what I understand, the selection committee will not take pre-season polls into account. Oh sure, there will still be pre-season polls because we, the readers, attack them like ravenous wolves and it gives the media filler during the doldrums of summer. But, I think we can all agree that they're total bullshit and give an unfair, paper tiger-y advantage to the supposed good teams. They're the reason why TCU, Boise and Utah were never given a true shot at playing for it all. Neither of our undefeated regular season teams would have ultimately made it over Alabama, Texas, Auburn or Oregon, but the fact that we never even had a chance at all is unsettling. We won't have to worry about being left out now if business is handled on the field. Correct me if I'm wrong on this point, though.
The second positive is more of a selfish fan perspective, but it bears mentioning. Assuming all goes as scheduled, the national semi-finals will be played on New Years Eve and New Years Day, finally giving relevance back to the two days out of the year that CFB used to own. No more Cotton Bowl being played on January 6th or Orange Bowl on January 4th. The important bowls will all shift back to their regularly scheduled dates, something that can only be seen as a great thing. If the BBVA Compass Bowl or Pizza Bowl or WeedEater Bowl wants January 5th, they can have it. Just know that no one will be watching.
But the third positive is the one that should put the biggest smile on the faces of TCU fans, because the advent of a four team playoff absolutely, positively, royally fucks any chance SMU has of ever being a major player in college football for the forseeable future.
Recall a time not so long ago, right after the ACC had grabbed Syracuse and Pitt from the Big East and it looked like our-then future Conference was going to collapse. At the time, it was HEAVILY rumored that Notre Dame was a possible option for entry into the ACC and that the ACC was going to be the catalyst for the 16-team Super Conferences. Now think about what has happened since then - the SEC grabbed Mizzou and aggy to match the ACC's 14. Negotiations between UT and the Pac 12 fell apart over a TV deal which is doubly ironic considering the LHN has been such a disaster and the Pac 12 is going to have the most lucrative TV contract out there once their deal with Fox Sports kicks in. Following that fall out, the Big 12 eventually tabbed TCU and WVU as replacements for the two SEC defections. The Big East would panic and extend invites to anyone who would pick up the phone, which led to CUSA, the MWC and the Sun Belt - THE SUN BELT!! - robbing the WAC, making that Conference obsolete. At that point, anything was possible. Would the Big East make it? Would long time D-1 schools have to drop a classification to survive? HAS ANYONE SEEN KELLEN MOORE'S BASEBALL??
Naturally, the non-progressive, backwards thinking Big Ten would be the one to stop that particular shuffle when they announced they were not expanding, but all that did was set up the landscape we have now with the Big Four and everyone else. Think about THAT - by creating a playoff and doing away with the BCS, a move that was long forseen as making the Championship open to everyone, they actually SHRUNK the pool! The NCAA, everyone!! In this new arrangement, you get four major Conferences without having to super size them, the once-on-top-of-the-world ACC becomes the new MWC, the Big East becomes CUSA and everyone else may as well be in TAPPS. Heck, the only card the Big East/ACC had might have been a Conference Championship requirement, and they didn't even get that!
And SMU is still delightfully screwed.
Oh, you don't believe me? You think if the ACC and Big East continue their slapfight in Miami, you think that game will EVER determine the who goes to the National Championship over the Big Ten/Pac 12 and Big 12/SEC? Come now, don't be silly. This whole playoff thing was designed around keeping the Rose Bowl's arrangement with the Pac 12 and Big Ten in place. Why else do you think the Big 12 and SEC went out and formed their own bowl? And, if that bowl wasn't important, why did Clemson and Florida State give serious consideration to joining the Big 12 before the B12 decided not to offer at all? Don't expect that mostly one-sided interest to fade away anytime soon. Presuming the Orange Bowl keeps its existing alliance with also-rans, with the positioning that the big four Conferences have provided for themselves, the Orange Bowl is basically the Meineke Car Care Bowl with a plum New Years Day date. That's not going to be good for the long term security of those leagues. Heck, even now Boise State is waffling on the idea of joining the Big East at all and weighing their options of staying in the Mountain West. SERIOUSLY!! THE MOUNTAIN WEST!! How much does that hurt your pride if you're in the BEast?
Don't just take it from me, though - check these articles. A few choice snippets:
Dennis Dodd of CBS: "Removing the BCS label doesn't remove the reality. A playoff probably lessens access for the sport's unwashed. At least makes it more uncertain. That selection committee? Its composition will have to reflect that the Big East is no longer considered a BCS-level conference. The ACC has become less of a factor. That Big Four -- Pac-12, Big Ten, SEC, Big 12 -- are calling the shots. To be precise, the commissioners of those leagues are calling the shots.
Andrea Adelson of ESPN: "So you see, there are no guarantees for the Big East moving forward, particularly if there are years when there are many undefeated teams, or years when there are no undefeated teams. What does not change is the Big East MUST go undefeated to have any shot. Then the league has to hope it has played a strong enough nonconference schedule, and has quality wins over Top 25 teams. Then it has to hope its potential representative has a modicum of national respect and is ranked in the top two of the final polls."
Pete Fiutak of College Football News: "You should be breaking something tasteful if you’re a Big East or ACC fan. Now, for those two leagues, it’s go unbeaten or bust unless something wacky happens. I’ve been surprised throughout this entire process that the ACC and Big East didn’t have more juice. They should’ve been kicking and screaming for an eight-team format with the six BCS league champs getting an automatic invite. Instead, watch how those two leagues abandon ship on as many tough non-conference games as possible in an effort to pump up the records to be in the discussion. An SEC or Big 12 champion will get into the playoffs with one loss or even two, but the Big East and ACC will never get that break."
As lyle put it when he sent me said conversation pieces, "Doesn't sound like a major conference to me." Agreed. How great is this? Think of it - SMU's ceiling is, likely, the Orange Bowl... except now the Orange Bowl doesn't even have the prestige of being called a BCS Bowl because the BCS doesn't exist. Seriously, the only real difference between the Orange Bowl and the Potato Bowl is that at least in Boise you don't have to deal with all the Heat bullshit/getting murdered by a police officer turned serial killer. And all you get for your time is the MWC/CUSA Championship that never came to pass. Truthfully, the Potato Bowl might actually become a MORE desirable bowl in this scenario. But whoa, I'm getting ahead of myself here - SMU, in their best collection of seasons in decades, couldn't even win the actual CUSA crown - what makes them think they'll even qualify for this one?
It's here that I'd like to direct you to something I stumbled upon this morning while cruising Ponyfans for inspiration. I present to you a post by the so perfectly named I couldn't even make it up "SMUfrat" titled "The Future of SMU Athletics," in all of its unadulterated glory.
I think some good points of been made about our athletic programs. I like that many members of this site and elsewhere are demanding excellence.
My first 2 years at SMU, we went 1-11 in football in CUSA and basketball was hardly spoken about on campus. When I graduated, we attended our 3rd bowl and had hired Larry Brown. We have come a long way, but havent reached our goal of top 25 in athletics yet.
Needless to say, there has been bumps in the road to get here - but that is to be expected. The BigEast is a great place for us to be. SMU has the opportunity in the BE to prove ourselves. The way I view it:
phase1: bottom CUSA program > respectable mid level conference school: check
phase2: enter a top college conference for all sports: check - BigEast
phase3: become a consistant power in this top conference - N/A
phase4: transfer into a conference with regional logistics and rivalries (Big12 or SEC or ???) - N/A
phase5: win national championships - N/A
*For those of you who dont think the BigEast is a top conference - look at it this way... Louisville almost got a big12 bid, which means they will be pushing even moreso to be a standout team in BE and win. Uconn and Rutgers wouldnt mind going to the ACC, which means they too will be trying to prove themselves as leaders of the BE. Cincinati doesnt want to be left out of the mix either. USF will want to show dominance over incoming UCF and look pretty for the other florida schools. SMU/UH/UCF/Boise will be wanting to prove their worth and deservingness also. I think competition, football wise especially, will be even better in the BigEast in the future.
Whether you agree with my phases or not - The main point is that we are going down the right direction. The BigEast will shake up any 'stale-mate' situation that may exist at SMU. Even if the BE is just a temporary training period for us - it is the only card we have to play. By standing out in the BE (the 6th best conference in the USA), even more doors can open for us.
As SMU fans, I want to make sure we are sending the right message out to the world. PonyFans may be small potatoes in the scheme of things, but I dont want potential students, other school fans, or potential fans to be put off by a defeated or pessimistic attitude. Lets not let our expectations for greatness take away from our progress and our goals.
Thats the fine line we have to be aware of as SMU fans who want to see greatness.
Ok ok, stop laughing and let's dig into this. Keep in mind that, based on the time frame he gave, this kid clearly just graduated from SMU, so his frame of reference is super, duper jacked. He clearly doesn't understand that they only reason SMU is in the Big East in the first place is because TCU paved the way, but I don't expect a lot of depth from a fanbase that hates Patterson simply because he's overweight. Because, really, aren't we all?
Ok, the five point plan! I'll give him the first one. - SMU made the admirable leap from CUSA cellar dweller to a mid-level Conference school, something we should all be so lucky to aspire to. I mean, sure, being mid-tier in CUSA is akin to getting an honorable mention at the Miss Leper Colony Pageant, but we can't all rise up from our lots in life to win Conference titles and Rose Bowls. As for the second point, yes it's technically true - SMU is in the Big East... but a TOP college Conference? Child please. I think we went over that whole thing.
Moving on... phase 3 involves becoming a constant threat in that Conference, something that will be much, much easier in a few years when the roster is settled. I get that SMU feels they can be a legit threat against the Central Floridas, Navys, Houstons and East Carolinas of the world. But... didn't they JUST LEAVE A CONFERENCE WHERE THEY COULDN'T COMPETE WITH THE CENTRAL FLORIDAS, NAVYS, HOUSTONS AND EAST CAROLINAS OF THE WORLD? Add San Diego State and Boise to the mix along with current members Louisville and Cincinnati and you've got yourself a stew of seasons barely breaking .500 goin! So perhaps the Ponies shouldn't get ahead of themselves.
Phase 4, however, is where the wheels really start to fall off, though. For one, with the ACC becoming an afterthought along with the BEast, every member of that Conference is going to entertain jumping in any life raft one of the Big Four throws them. You're telling me the Big 12 or SEC - the two leagues that fit the "regional logistics" for SMU - are grabbing the eternally rebuilding Ponies over Florida State, Clemson, Virginia Tech, North Carolina, Miami, North Carolina State and perhaps even Duke and Georgia Tech? Child PLEASE. Heck, Wake Forest and Virginia would be likelier targets. And that's not even taking into account the schools they'd need to beat out in their own Conference. Louisville and Cincy clearly want out and have been flirted with. If Justin Fuente is able to turn around Memphis' program, they probably jump the line too when you take their basketball team into account. This without even mentioning that SMU doesn't even have a baseball team! The third highest money making sport in NCAA! The point being, SMU is AT BEST 11th in line for an upgrade, and if you've ever seen your name that far down on the board at the gate, you mentally take your seat in coach and like it.
And then comes Phase 5, the coup de grace. Let's pause a moment here and remember a time when we were young and naive, when we really could grow up and become an astronaut or President of the United States. Weren't those phenomenal times? Apparently we should've all gone to SMU, because they're all still living in them. Let's not even mention the phase itself, let's just talk about being in major Conference. Despite our big talk and brash confidence, being in a major Conference is going to be hard. We're going to lose. We're going to sometimes lose by a lot of points. But it goes in cycles - some years you're up - UT in 2005 - some years you're down - UT the past 2 seasons. But if you have a program built, it's always going to come back around at some point. None of us should expect TCU to win the Big 12 every year as became the norm in the MWC because that's not realistic. But winning it every 2-3 years? Now that's something to shoot for.
What TCU has built has taken over a decade. It's taken a lot of heartache. It's taken 5 Conferences. It's taken the team fighting through home games where there are only 10,000 in the stands. It's taken the bad Utah game and the Fiesta Bowl. It's taken winning games you shouldn't - OU- and it's taken losing games you should -the aforementioned Utah- but all of the pieces go hand in hand to make what has come together these past few years.
SMU, however, doesn't have that. SMU has 2 bowl appearances and 0 Conference titles under June Jones. SMU has a rinky dink stadium and miserable fan support. SMU is still moving from shit Conference to shit Conference, as TCU once did, except in this case it looks like the music stopped in their particular game of musical chairs. Nonetheless, SMUfrat fully expects SMU to not only get into a major conference but to win a National title fairly easily once they get there. And that is why everyone should hate SMU.
To be fair, it'd be wrong of me to say that SMU doesn't know what it means to be the odd man out. Clearly the whole Death Penalty situation set the program back an unfathomable amount. But they brought it on themselves, didn't they? Why should we feel sorry for them? And shouldn't their 25 years of abject failure make them understand that this shit just doesn't happen overnight? lyle probably put it best when he said, "cocaine and Range Rovers are a helluva drug," and that's about the only explanation. That post is the definition of the entitled attitude of an SMU fan. They road our coattails into the Big East once the Big 12 showed us some leg- a fact none of them will admit but CLEARLY resent us for- and now they just expect the free ride to continue. Well, I've got news for those halfwits - the free ride is over. Take it from someone who was in the original Mountain West Conference - undefeated seasons don't mean shit when it comes to the National title race. SMU would need to run the BEast and schedule at least 2 MAJOR non-con games, plus have some losses from one of the big Conference to have a shot. Personally, I hope we stop scheduling them. Think about it - as things are, we will be the only marquee team on SMU's entire schedule. Why should we do them the favor of an SOS boost? With the Big 12 move, the whole SMU/TCU thing has become severely devalued for me. It's been too one-sided and the unneccessary hate the game generates isn't worth it for me anymore. An SMU troll might say that this makes me afraid of SMU, but that'd be comically incorrect. SMU has beaten TCU twice since 2000. Fluky shit happens all the time. That doesn't make it a rule.
And it damn sure doesn't make you TCU.
Have fun playing JUCO ball.
And that's today's lesson in SMU Hate.