Sunday, February 22, 2009

On Epicycles and the House of Plantagenet

Part 1 March Madness is a Folly

There are 344 teams in D1 basketball with 65 + 32 going to post season tournaments or 28% far below the percentage of teams going to college bowl games. The 65 “best” included first round losers: Mount St. Mary at an RPI of #159, #147 Texas Arlington, #108 Winthrop, #98 Georgia, and #90 Portland St. While #94 San Diego and #66 Siena did win in the first round, their roll as mere March filler came in the second round. Source--

The Big East put seven teams, about 11% of the 65, into the March Folly despite the fact that these teams had already, “decided it on the court”. Worse only one Big East made it to the group of eight with Louisville losing North Carolina. For all the hype the NCCA basketall tournament is a bloated income ditribution vehicle with numerous meaningless games.

If this is the correct way to do things what would a college football playoff look like? Some might say an eight team playoff, others 16, using the same 65 out of 344 of 18.9% we need at least 23 teams or 24 just too even things up. Automatic bids: the six BCS conferences, MAC, WAC, MWC, Sun Belt, C-USA.

The challenge for those that want this is the fill in the brackets in a reasonable manner. You’ll need three play in games and then some gymnastics to avoid repeating games that have already been played.

The answer that will be arrived at will be the equivalent of using epicycle to epicycles to explain planetary retrograde motion in an Earth center solar system. Or paraphrasing Dennis Miller in his brief time on Monday Night Football, “That tournament is more complicated that the House of Plantagenet.” The BCS may not be perfect but the basketball model isn’t either.

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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Must See College Football

To rise above the clutter is the goal of most if not all programs in college football and while Saturday is the prime time for college football there is so much supply it is easy for even a great game to get lost. ESPN Thursday night football is a prime time only game (for the most part)on the dial. The hard core football fan has no place else to flip. Even the least of these games is better than the very predictable network sitcom, carefully staged reality show, or a repeat of MonsterQuest. Disney Sports has finished molding the Big 12 and ACC schedules giving us a look at how to plan our fall television viewing. As of 2/12/09 the plan looks like:

9/03/09 South Carolina at NC State (ESPN, 7 or 7:30 p.m. ET)
9/10/09 Clemson at Georgia Tech, (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
9/17/09 Georgia Tech at Miami (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
9/24/09 OPEN
10/01/09 Colorado at West Virginia (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
10/08/09 Nebraska at Missouri (ESPN, 9:00 p.m. ET)
10/15/09 OPEN
10/22/09 Florida State at North Carolina (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
10/29/09 North Carolina at Virginia Tech (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
11/05/09 Virginia Tech at East Carolina (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
11/12/09 OPEN
11/19/09 OPEN
11/26/09 Colorado at Oklahoma St. (ESPN, 7:30 p.m. ET)
Texas at Texas A&M TBD
12/3/09 OPEN

From a scheduling point of view the Virginia Tech at East Carolina is one of the more interesting choices for a late season out of conference match up. With East Carolina beating both Virginia Tech and West Virginia they have played there way into the Thursday night lime light.

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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Stimulate Your Team

Is there a college football program that doesn’t have a shove ready project of some type that could put $10 million dollars into the economy right away? You want real and fast stimulus (you are allowed to say NO)? If a capital hill lawmaker is a supporter of the current proposal then add is a mere $1.2 billion so each BCS school gets $10 million each with the only requirement that the money be spent on new capital improvements to the facilities.

New indoor practice facility? Yes!

Stadium expansion? Yes!

Update the bathrooms? Yes!

Hire new staff? No! (Review the meaning of capital improvements)

Luxury boxes? Yes!

Administrative office construction Yes!

If the idea of a stimulus plan is to jump start the sagging economy, then the more quickly the money is spend the sooner we might see the unemployment rate decline. The beauty of this plan is that while the federal government does foot the bill for the construction, there is no continuing obligation to keep funding expansion after the economy recovers.

Granted in construction projects $10 million is small but if combined with effect fund raising, management, and shrewdly taking advantage of the current retreat in materials cost there is the possibility of the school coming out with a very nice upgrade.

Some may question the flat $10 million going to both the Temple and Ohio State. While on the surface this may seem to be questioned as a boom to the meek and a drop in the bucket to the might, the design here is to get the money spent and at the end of the day have something to show for it. And again without a continuing expense in the Federal budget.

In true Washing style two more elements could be added:

an additional $1.2 billion for road construction within 10 miles of a college stadium

a provision that forbids the establishment of a BCS playoff for the next 20 years
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