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The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “opinion”

Syracuse Orange: Is the NIT Actually Better For The Team? No.

If you watched Syracuse Orange basketball this season, you saw a very flawed team.  You absolutely did not see a team capable of getting to the Final Four.  A few good wins do not change that, especially with several months in between them.  This was just not a very good team.  Yet it is squarely on “the bubble,” meaning that it could still somehow eke into the field.  The question that begs is whether Syracuse would be better off in the NIT this year.  The answer is “no.”

Before proceeding, let’s not pretend that any program would turn down an NCAA bid to go to the NIT.  Even if you have a one in a trillion chance of winning it all, you want that opportunity.  You also want that exposure and experience for the players.  You never, ever turn down an NCAA bid.  Instead, the issue is whether it would be better for Syracuse to (a) be in an NCAA field where winning 2 games is unlikely; or (b) in an NIT field where there is a chance of winning the whole thing and playing several games.

The thing about (b) is that it ignores reality.  Boeheim is what he is–he is never going to play young players just to get them experience.  He does not do it against Cornell in December, he is not going to do it in the NIT where it is win or go home.  The idea that we would suddenly hand over the team to young players ignores all history and tendencies.  At best, it would be a few extra minutes in games other than blowouts.  Maybe there could be a blowout in an NIT game, but that would be it–one.  If this team was capable of blowing out opponents, it would not be on the bubble in the first place.

And is it fair to Silent G to keep him on the bench?  He deserves to score and impress NBA scouts.  Cooney, for all his ups and downs, does not deserve to be benched.  Coleman needs work on all facets of his game, so it would be foolish to not play him as much as possible.  And so on.  How can you play ANY game with a goal to get experience, rather than win?   This is not the NFL preseason, it is a one-and-done tournament.

But perhaps most importantly, there is no reason to believe that this team could win more games in the NIT playing younger players.  If this team’s young players were not good enough to play limited roles during the season in big time games, there is no reason to believe that throwing them out there in NIT games is going to lead to automatic wins and “experience.”  Stated otherwise, these young players would lead Syracuse no farther in the NIT than the experienced players would in the NCAA.  And, if that is the case, what good is the NIT?

There is no need for a few more home games in the Dome in front of 11,000 apathetic fans.  Historically, Syracuse has blown games against Florida State and UMass in similar situations where the bubble went the wrong way.  The deep NIT runs have been few and far between.

All in all, there is little or no silver lining to going to the NIT.  Syracuse fans do not need to jump off buildings if the Orange are sent there, and there is certainly no reason not to take the games seriously (as fans or players), but do not pretend that it is “actually better” for Syracuse to go to the NIT instead of the NCAA.  At least, that is the opinion here.

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Proposed Changes in Sports #2: Why FSU Should Be #1 By Rule

Everyone has some opinions on what they would like to see change–both in the sports world and outside of it.  For whatever its worth (and it probably is not worth much), there are plenty of changes throughout sports that this author would like to see.  Before we touched on the College Football Playoff reporting issues.  But the rankings needs work also…as Florida State should be #1.  As should ANY team that is the sole undefeated team from a Power 5 conference after 10 games.

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF RANKINGS

OK, with the College Football Playoff Committee’s decision to have Alabama leap over FSU and Oregon based on beating Mississippi State, the Confidential cannot take it any longer.  The goal in football has always been to win 100% of your games.  Always.  Unless you are outside a major conference (see Brigham Young), going undefeated and being the SOLE undefeated team was usually the best way to win a title.  Indeed, if this season were to end under the BCS regime or its predecessors, an undefeated Florida State would be the national champion.

But, by the same token, if Tennessee or Wisconsin or Kansas State or Arizona State did the same thing, they too would be the national champion.  That is and has always been the way it is done.

In light of same, there is absolutely no reason why any one-loss team from a power conference–a dozen weeks into the season–should ever be behind a one-loss team.  None.  The system should reward perfection BEFORE it starts analyzing warts for size, shape, and color.

The rankings as of today should be: (1) Florida State; (2) Alabama; (3) Oregon; and (4) Mississippi State.  It is perplexing that the committee has undefeated Florida State #3.

The excuse is that Florida State has not played anyone.  But Florida State scheduled and beat Oklahoma State and Notre Dame out-of-conference.  What else can the Seminoles do?  They have also beaten Louisville, Clemson, and Miami within conference.  And Florida looms.  Again, what else can the Seminoles do?

In fairness, Alabama tested itself with West Virginia opening week.  The Mountaineers are 6-4 and Oklahoma State is 5-5, with WVU also having won the head-to-head matchup.  Oregon, too, tested itself… beating Michigan State.

The problem is that Oregon lost to Arizona at home.  This is the same Arizona team that lost to Southern Cal, which lost to Boston College.  Oregon walked onto a football field and walked off the loser.  That is something that Florida State has yet to do.

Similarly, Alabama walked off the field at Ole Miss a loser.  Not an embarrassing loss by any stretch.  But not so significant that a team with a perfect record should bow to it.

At this late juncture of the season, the sole undefeated team from a Power 5 conference should be the #1 team.  And this is a change that the Confidential would like to see.

 

 

Proposed Changes in Sports #1

Everyone has some opinions on what they would like to see change–both in the sports world and outside of it.  For whatever its worth (and it probably is not worth much), there are plenty of changes throughout sports that this author would like to see.  Here is the first:

THE COLLEGE FOOTBALL PLAYOFF

Why are there ranked standings for this in November?  As we speak #FSUTWITTER is afire as to how Florida State has dropped from #2 to #3, just by winning its 25th straight game.  Admittedly, the drop makes NO sense.  The team jumping FSU is Oregon, whose signature win was Michigan State, who just lost to Ohio State, who lost to Virginia Tech–the worst team in the ACC Coastal that Florida State currently leads.  The transitive game is risky, but it has to mean something.

My proposed change is that the committee stop releasing actual rankings, and instead just release a top 4, next 6, middle 5, next 5, and last 5 for the first three weeks. To strike a balance between no disclosure and full disclosure, the tiered disclosures would (a) allow some transparency; (b) keep everyone interested, (c) stimulate discussion, (d) encourage speculation as to where teams fit within a tier, and (e) allow the committee to defer having to make actual ranking decisions until teams have played at least 10 games.  Thus, for this week, the committee would issue this alphabetical ranking:

Top 4: Alabama, Florida State, Mississippi State, Oregon

Next 6: Arizona State, Auburn, Baylor, Ohio State, Ole Miss, TCU

Middle 5: Arizona, Georgia, Kansas State, MSU, UCLA

Next 5: Clemson, LSU, Nebraska, Notre Dame, Wisconsin

Last 5: Duke, Georgia Tech, Minnesota, Texas A&M, Utah

This way, the committee would only be indicating a general rank–giving teams a preliminary idea of where they stand.  The top tier would have an idea that the committee seems to like what they have done so far, but no certainty.  And the lack of certainty also adds hope for all teams and fan bases.  And does it really matter right now who is #1?  If #1 or #4 loses, they are in jeopardy.

These rankings mean very little right now because there are so many important games left to play.  In a 12-game season, where the first 4-5 weeks are primarily OOC games, there is little to go by.  Moreover, many top conferences games that fall short of being rivalries (i.e. the slate of games this past Saturday) are played towards the end of the season.

Also, what is the point of having a team at #7, if #7 can leapfrog #4 with a win even if #4 also wins.  And so on.  Why did Arizona State move up to #6  for beating Notre Dame, but Florida State moved down despite beating the same team?  Either beating Notre Dame is impressive or it is not.  That is the problem with rankings.  Each new standings only reveals the weakness in the prior rankings–as the committee seemed to miss the boat.  Only we all know that the committee can only work with what it has at the time.

In March, the committee makes its final decisions in the hours up until the bracket is announced.  The fact that there is any transparency is great.  And, at some point, the committee can and should show its full hand.  The Confidential proposes the third Tuesday of November.  At that point, every team would have at least 10 games played.  That is a fair time to finally put numbers on things.  But in these early weeks of providing guidance, the need for transparency is reduced and the need to know that the committee is only temporarily ranking teams is justified.

Not the most dramatic change ever, but one that this author thinks is appropriate.

 

 

Ray Rice, Roger Goodell, Etc.

The Confidential is an ACC blog, but occasionally will delve into broader issues .  Having spent far too much time in the car listening to talking heads analyze and reanalyze the Ray Rice/Roger Goodell issue, it is hard not to have several opinions.  Some you may agree with.  Some you may not agree with.  First and foremost… why is this a domestic abuse issue in the first place?  Let me explain.

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The Streak Prevails

Clemson Men’s Basketball starts the week after an ugly loss to UNC last night, improving their record to 57-0. That record of course being the Tarheels have won 57 times against the Tigers while in the Dean Dome, the Tigers never seeing a victory.

UNC is off to a slow start in ACC play but now improves to 12-7 overall and 2-4 in the ACC. Clemson started off hot, being 4-1 in the conference just last week, now drops to 13-6, 4-3 after two consecutive losses to Pitt and Carolina. The Tigers have a tough conference schedule coming up, facing FSU, Syracuse, and Notre Dame on the road.

To note any highlights from last night’s game from a Clemson standpoint, would be a disservice to our readers. The Tigers played flat on defense and hesitant on offense. Seeing it first hand in the Dean Dome was taxing. Stops on defense were rare and the Tigers shot 34% from the field. That’s 18 field goals made out of 53 attempts. It was not a great night for the Tiger offense, to say the least.

Leading scorer, KJ McDaniels, came up with 13 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, and 2 blocks. He was the game leader across the board for the Tigers. McDaniels has proven to be an offensive leader this season, but he can’t do it on his own. Adonis Filer came up with 12 points of his own, as did Landry Nnoko. Nnoko is improving but between him and Sidy Djitte at center, too many passes slipped through their hands down low in the paint for would be easy points.

To end on a high note, the Tigers finished the night 19-25 at the line, giving them a 76% free throw percentage for the night.

Clemson at UNC

This Clemson team is young, consisting of four freshman, four sophomores, and five juniors to make up the Tiger squad. Playing on the road, especially in Chapel Hill, is tough and the Tigers have their work cut out for them in the coming weeks.

In other Clemson news, a non-basketball related highlight of the evening was having Clemson football coach, Dabo Swinney, in the Dean Dome last night. Sitting a few rows behind the Clemson bench, the dynamite coach just signed a new 8-year contract with Clemson, keeping him a Tiger through the 2021 season. At halftime, Clemson fans throughout the dome stopped by to take pictures with the Orange Bowl Champion, including yours truly. It’s a check off my bucket list and as much as it pains me to say, I guess I have Chapel Hill to thank for that.

Clemson takes on Florida State this Saturday in Tallahassee. Catch the ACC matchup at 3pm on ESPN2.

Highlights of the 2014 BCS Discover Orange Bowl

 

1.       Winning the 2014 BCS Orange Bowl—Awwwww yeah! It literally came down to the last minute when Ohio State was down 40-35 with the ball at the 50 yard line. Braxton Miller threw a beautiful interception, caught by Clemson’s own Stephone Anthony. This sealed the deal for the Tigers and bonus points: Urban Meyer didn’t react by punching Anthony in the throat.

2.       Tajh Boyd—In his final game as a Clemson Tiger, Tajh went out with a bang. As Dabo Swinney said, “He put an exclamation point on his legacy.” Tajh finished the game with five touchdowns and 505 all-purpose yards, 78 more yards than the Ohio State Buckeyes. We’re really going to miss his leadership and I can’t wait to see him play on Sunday’s.

3.       Dabo Swinney—You could probably make a highlight reel of just Dabo after the game, he was animated to say the least. Personally, his best moment was this magnificent sound bite, “we are the first team from the state of South Carolina to ever win a BCS game”. Ah yes, not only did we get the sweet victory but getting to rub it in Steve Spurrier’s face doesn’t hurt either. For whatever reason, if any Gamecocks are reading this, I say, suck it up. Spurrier is no angel in this fight. You’re mad because Dabo’s comment was the truth and it was said on a bigger national stage. You know, seeing as it was the stage of a BCS Bowl. BOOM, roasted.*

4. Sammy Watkins—Saving the best for last. Sammy set an Orange Bowl record with 16 receptions and a Clemson and Orange Bowl record with 227 receiving yards. He was unbelievable. With an average of 14.2 yards per catch, he was Tajh Boyd’s go to receiver and his talent is going to be greatly missed. As a true junior, Sammy has declared for the NFL Draft. While we’ll miss his lightning speed and magnetic hands, he’ll represent Clemson well in the NFL next season.

Honorable Mentions:

  • The Clemson Defense—While the score might reflect a shootout, it was truly entertaining watching the Tigers contain Ohio State QB, Braxton Miller, to a mere 35 yards rushing. They completely shut him down on the ground. With 18 carries, he rushed an average 1.9 yards per carry, his lowest of the season.
  • Santa Claus—if you read my last article, the only thing on my Christmas list was a Clemson win. Ole’ Saint Nick pulled through. Thanks big guy.
  • The Referee’s—One song comes to mind when trying to describe the officiating from Friday night, “these boys can’t hold us back, these boys can’t hold us back, we too deep (ay, ay)”. The anthem of a generation Clemson Football. Good try ref’s, you’ll need some more flags to stop this excessive celebration.

Check out the video here:

 

 

*Let the record show I have a much deeper opinion on this matter but for lack of reader attention span will not disclose it here.

Louisville v Clemson: Football 2013

The ACC media days just ended with a lot of folks predicting that Clemson would win the ACC title this fall.   Meanwhile, Louisville is certainly projected to dominate the AAC.  Our recent poll regarding the expected ACC winner, which included Louisville in jest, was utterly dominated by Louisville.  The question that begs, however, is who would you pick to win a game between Clemson and Louisville?  And this is a game that may actually be played, as both teams could (and should) win BCS berths.  Anyway, here is what we think.

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The ACC & Texas

To the average pro-imperialism Big 10 fan, the ACC is ripe for colonization.  Indeed, there is a certain sense of “Well, the grant of rights is nice, but we’ll be back for Virginia, North Carolina, and a few other schools soon enough.”  Just take a look at the comments over at Frank the Tank.  The only issue for them is whether the Big 10 goes to 16 or 20 or 24.  Let’s assume, however, that the Big 10 was able to take Kansas and Virginia (as they predict) in the next round of expansion… do not be surprised to see Texas in the ACC.  Consider this…

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Quick Poll: ACC Basketball v SEC Football?

The Confidential Cup!

As previously noted, Big 10 fans do not like the Capital One Cup.  Now, the world could be polite and let the Big 10 have its complaints and criticisms.  But not the Confidential.  The Confidential is creating its own “Cup,” this one being so very ACC-centric that it will be sure to anger Big 10 fans.  Here is the scoring system:

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