Thursday, December 04, 2008

College football deserves the BCS

Tommy TubervilleCharlie Weis

On good days I wouldn't wish the BCS on Division I-A college football. No serious fan prefers that lousy, irrational system over a real playoff. But December 3, 2008, was not a good day in college football.

Auburn fires a good coach in Tommy Tuberville, while Notre Dame clings to Charlie Weis, who is quite possibly the worst football coach in the universe. At a minimum, Weis is probably the most arrogant coach in the business.

Charlie WeisIn ten seasons at Auburn, Tuberville went 5-3 in bowl games, won six consecutive Iron Bowls against Alabama, and posted a magnificent 13-0, SEC-winning record in 2004. The BCS cheated Auburn out of a shot at the national title. Weis can't name a single victory of note. His high-water mark came in 2005, in a 31-34 loss to Southern California that prompted Notre Dame to extend his contract and to saddle itself with a buyout reported to be as high as $20 million. That is a bit more than the payout per team for a BCS bowl appearance. For the foreseeable future, Notre Dame is no likelier to appear in a BCS bowl, notwithstanding that system's strong bias in favor of the Irish and their rabid fan base, than it is likely to break its nine-game losing streak in postseason play.

Oh, did I mention that Tuberville, a 14-year veteran in college coaching (four at Ole Miss, ten at Auburn), works for $1.375 million less than Weis? Losing is awful enough as it is. Imagine how much it must feel to spend profligately for terrible results.

A sport this irrational deserves a championship system that is as bad as the BCS. This prescription is as harsh as condemning American legal education to the continued reign of the U.S. News & World Report rankings. Then again, law schools also make regrettable personnel decisions. Perhaps it is enough to praise the deans and professors who deserve better and to hope that somewhere, somehow, someday, our corner of the American academy will discover the sense of decency and proportionality that evidently eludes our athletic counterparts on campus.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well, MoneyBonanza's comment aside, your post is quite right. How can a system be rational when a winner is fired and a loser is retained. Well, the point is that they are playing different games. Auburn has a chip on its shoulder and want results now and every year. Notre Dame has prestige capital that it expended by the dismissals of Davie and Willingham, and is now trying to recapture. Because the recruits are good, the idea is that continuity may be beneficial. Here's the punch line: look for a massive turnover in Notre Dame's coaching staff. Weiss kept his job, but the system must change. And, even Notre Dame will wear weary if a cupcake season next year results in less than 10 wins. I wish Willingham had been given his chance, as he would have brought the Brady Quinn team to two bowls too. The problem was recruiting, not wins. And so, if you recruit well there is always hope for next year. Isn't that moneyball at work??

12/05/2008 6:42 PM  

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