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Experts Roundtable Discussion

Discussion in 'All Other Sports' started by BoltsFanUK, Aug 8, 2007.

  1. BoltsFanUK

    BoltsFanUK Well-Known Member

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    CFN is honored to welcome Sportsline's Dennis Dodd, SI's Stewart Mandel, ESPN's Joe Schad and the Chicago Tribune's Teddy Greenstein to join us in a roundtable discussion of the top issues in college football. From steroids to cheating, to playoffs to changes that need to be made, check out the expert thoughts on several hot topics.

    2007 Experts Roundtable

    The State of the Game

    CFN is honored to get the thoughts and opinions on some of the hot topics and the overall State of the Game from some of the most talented, influential insiders in the college football media.

    Along with Pete Fiutak and Richard Cirminiello from CFN in the discussion are ...

    - Dennis Dodd, Sportsline.com - College Football Columnist

    - Teddy "Mr. Media" Greenstein, Chicago Tribune - College Football Columnist, Media Columnist

    - Stewart Mandel, SI.com - College Football Columnist
    (You can preorder Stewart's excellent book, Bowls, Polls, and Tattered Souls: Tackling the Chaos and Controversy that Reign Over College Football from Amazon by clicking here.)

    - Joe Schad, ESPN - College Football Reporter

    Roundtable Discussion 2007 Preview
    - Part Two On-field and off-field changes, steroids and cheating
    - Part Three Overrated, underrated, 10 years from now, & what fans don't understand

    1. If it were up to you, how should college football determine a national champion?

    Dennis Dodd: It's a bit of a conundrum. College football is a unique sport that doesn't easily lend itself to a full-on playoff. College basketball has a large enough sample to make a championship bracket legitimate. In a college football playoff there's always a chance an 8-4 team could eventually become national champion. I don't think this sport is ready for that. That means in any given year a 12-0 No. 1 team could lose in the first round. Fair? Neither is that team winning a titantic struggle within its own conference then being asked to win four straight games in a playoff.

    I'm not a big playoff guy as you can tell. But I'm not necessarily a BCS guy either. We've been given a glimpse of offseason football in the BCS. I'm starting to think that the old bowl system might not be so bad. We could still do that and have a plus-one. But that presents another set of problems. Which two of the five winners would play for the championship? Human committee? BCS standings? You have to make sure a loser can't advance.

    I guess what I'm saying is there is no BEST system, and that I need a drink right now.

    Joe Schad: I understand some of the arguments for leaving the system the way it is. And many of those arguments were laid out for me in a recent conversation with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany. He notes the importance of preserving the tradition of the Rose Bowl. He notes that with even a four team playoff, up to three teams could be playing up to 14 or 15 games. He notes that even $40 or $50 million split up among the BCS schools does not create the type of financial windfall that make change essential. The bottom line is this: A four team playoff incorporating the current bowls on a rotational basis will appease the appetite of the fans. 1) Ohio State vs. 4) USC and 2) Florida vs. 3) Michigan, quite simply, would have rocked. I respect the value of preserving the importance of college football's unique regular season. But this will not dilute the significance of it. Delany and others believe opening the gate with a four team postseason would inevitably lead to an 8 and then 16 team playoff. I don't think that's necessarily true. I think most reasonable people believe at the end of any given season, only four teams deserve a true shot at a national championship. And more than anything, it will be TREMENDOUS fun and instantly surpass the World Cup and Final Four as the best sporting events in the world. As for the Rose Bowl, set it up so that if one of the semifinals matches up Big Ten and Pac 10 it is guaranteed to be played at the Rose Bowl that year.

    Stewart Mandel: The bowls would revert to their pre-BCS tie-ins (Big Ten/Pac-10 Rose Bowl, SEC Sugar Bowl, etc.), regardless of rankings, then the top four still standing enter a mini-playoff.

    Teddy Greenstein: We finally have the right system in place. I repeat: We finally have the right system in place. I'm probably in the tiniest of minorities (think: Ross Perot for '08! voters) who think that, but I'm sure of it. An eight-team playoff would kill the meaning of the regular season. Last year's Michigan-Ohio State game would have been all but meaningless.

    A Plus-One is less offensive to me, but it still would create problems: Two years ago, a two-loss Notre Dame or Ohio State team would have had the same shot for the title as undefeated Texas and USC. Is that fair? Last year, 10-2 LSU would have gotten the fourth seed over 10-2 USC, 11-1 Louisville, 11-1 Wisconsin and 12-0 Boise State. Is that fair?

    College football has never been more popular. Every game counts, even in Week 1. The "my team is better than your team" debates are a fabric of the game. In the NFL, the best teams rest their starters at season's end. Early-season college basketball games are glorified exhibitions. No one cares about the NBA until the playoffs.

    Why should we mess with college football?

    Fiu: Keep the BCS (with a few overall tweaks to the formula), take the top four ranked teams that won their conference championship (or Notre Dame, if it’s in the top four), and play 1 vs. 4 and 2 vs. 3. That would keep the tradition and spirit of the regular season, while settling the issue on the field.

    Richard Cirminiello: While the talk of a full-blown, NFL-style playoff is trendy and fun for roundtable discussions, it’s also an overkill remedy for solving the current problems of the BCS. Forget the eight or 16-team playoff, and start dialing your local representatives and college presidents about the plus-one format. The plus-one is so seamless and makes so much sense, it’s absolutely criminal it hasn’t been implemented sooner. Simply put, you pit No. 1 vs. No. 4 and No. 2 vs. No. 3 in BCS bowl games on New Year’s Day with the winners squaring off a week later for the national championship. That’s two more meaningful bowl games, increased drama at the end of the regular season, and almost no chance that an unbeaten team, such as Auburn in 2004, gets rooked out of a chance at playing for a title. All without adding or deleting a single bowl game. Plus, the school presidents will be happy with the addition of just one extra game for two programs, as will bowl traditionalists, teams that realize one loss isn’t a death knell, and the waves of fans pining for a better way to crown a champion. No system is going to be flawless, but unless you’re the No. 5 team in the rankings, what’s not to like about the plus-one?

    2. Considering the BCS is here to stay for the foreseeable future, what tweaks would you make?

    Stewart Mandel: Condense the schedule. I realize the host city needs a week between its regular bowl and the title game, but there's no reason the other four shouldn't be played within a day of New Year's. That would make New Year's Day more exciting and set the title game even further onto itself.

    Joe Schad: Wow. It is interesting that the AP Poll is the most commonly cited poll and yet not a part of the BCS equation. I'll bet many fans don't even realize that. I suppose it will be messy no matter how often you tweak it. Legalities likely prevent this but more than two teams from a conference (ie. Wisconsin 2006) should be eligible for a BCS Bowl. And teams shouldn't automatically qualify based on final BCS standings position. Although I understand this does protect the Boise States of the world from the Notre Dames (if not Wisconsin).

    Fiu: First, I’d make strength of schedule a huge, huge factor. That would put the pressure on the better teams to play better non-conference games. Second, I’d diminish the importance of the human polls. More on that later. Third, I’d make a rule that only conference champions can play for the national title. I can’t believe I have to fight so many people on the fact that if you’re not good enough to win your conference, technically, you shouldn't deserve to win the national title. It’s a surprisingly tough concept to grab for our playoff-loving nation. Fourth, I’d eliminate the automatic bids. If you’re in the top ten, you’re in. And finally, to keep this in the realm of the realistic (as opposed to a full-blown playoff system that won’t happen for the foreseeable future), I’d go with the plus-one format. If you want a big playoff so badly, then cancel the regular season, come up with one big playoff, and then you have what you really want. Outside of the NFL, to a lesser extent, no other sport has a regular season that matters. College football has to preserve that, but it also needs a better way of coming up with a champion.

    Dennis Dodd: Plus one. See answer number one. Not perfect, but better.

    Richard Cirminiello: First off, the one tweak that should never happen is the removal of the computers from the BCS equation. Voters can be swayed, lobbied or just generally asleep at the wheel. Computers can’t, which is why they’re an integral and underrated component of the rankings. Ideally, the top ten teams would get invites to the five major bowl games, but there is

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