Thursday, September 22, 2011

We All Need To Put This In Terms We Can Understand

Conference realignment has my head spinning, and while Dan Wetzel pleads that no one should be going anywhere, I find that I haven't bitched about the BCS in awhile.

A dissolution of some conferences and the creation of super-conferences does put a bit of a dent in my ultimate visions of a 16-team playoff (11 conference champs, 5 at-larges). I guess I'd be fine with 10 champs and 6 at-larges (really can't think why I wouldn't). But what I can't get my head around is whether or not super-conferences would allow more inclusion into the national title race, or less.

For Mississippi State, Washington State, Illinois, and other 'good-every-once-in-awhile' schools, it's tougher. Mississippi State has to play alongside Alabama, LSU, Arkansas, Auburn every year. And then there's the SEC East. Even if everything was even, in a 12-team SEC, State would have only an 8.3% chance of winning the league. (I know some statisticians that could provide a pretty good argument against that figure, but I'm going with the 1 of 12 argument.)

Beyond that 8.3% to just win the conference, State would also have to be in position of overall record (0 or 1 losses) and would have to depend on the overall records of other conference champions (how many other undefeated's are there?). All this drives that % down sharply.

Now, go back to the beginning of that equation. 1 of 12 = 8.3%. Now we're talking 1 of 14? 1 of 16? (7.1%, 6.3%) From 12 to 16, the odds of winning go down by 1/4. That's 25%.

Too many numbers? Let's see if we can explain it a little more simply...

"All the Tostitos..."

I remember being a kid and getting inquisitive with some adults. It always frustrated me to get the "just because" or "because that's the way it is" answers.

This all kind of feels that way, doesn't it?

But look, I don't know if super-conferences are a good thing or bad thing. I'm going to hate to lose the Alabama-Tennessee game (assuming an Auburn move to the SEC East), as that's the one game that my dad actually wants to go to each year. Yesterday on Finebaum the loss of this rivalry was discussed, and Paul said that Tennessee's been so bad, the game doesn't mean anything anymore.

That's awfully short-sighted (and right up Paul's alley). I can recall Alabama losing quite a few games to Tennessee over the past 15 years. I should know - I was in school for most of them.

Regardless, it is a bit of a shame that the conferences that got it right (SEC & ACC, eventually the PAC-12) now have to possibly water-down their product - maybe/maybe not with the schools they collect, but with the competitive opportunities - because the other conferences had screwed up so bad.

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