The Confidential

The ACC Sports Blog

Archive for the tag “thoughts”

NCAA Bowl Change Necessary–But Not What You Think!

There is plenty of discussion regarding bowls given that the 40 bowl games this year required 80 teams to fill them–requiring the selection of a few 5-7 teams and one bowl game featuring a matchup between two teams from the same conference.  There is certainly ample reason to revise the bowl system to add some…. well…. sanity.  Surely, eliminating some bowl games would make some sense.  But an even more important change is necessary–allowing all schools to have the same number of additional practices–either to be used in preparation for a bowl or during the Spring.

It is an odd situation that the NCAA is so geared towards the haves at the expense of the have nots that only bowl eligible teams get to continue practicing.  In many ways, this is the biggest reward for a meaningless bowl–a chance to let some young guys get valuable reps in practice.  But once upon a time bowl games were only for 20 or so teams, meaning that a large majority were not getting those practices.  While unfair to the inferior teams, the greater good of having meaningful bowl games prevailed.

Now, however, 80 teams get bowls and about 40 do not.  So what once was a reward for a minority is now a penalty for the minority, as 1/3 of the FBS schools lose the extra practices by not making a bowl.  This, in turn, creates a demand for bowl spots.  This demand for bowl spots creates a demand for bowls.  And this leads to 40 bowls, too many of which feature teams at or (now) below .500.

One way to even things up and reduce the demand for bowl games is simple–just allow all teams to have the extra practices.  The only exception would be for the playoff teams–who are allowed enough practices to do what is necessary.  All remaining teams would get the same number of practices (say…15) between season’s end and spring ball–and teams could use them as necessary.  Call them “winter practices.”

In fact, it is perplexing that a team playing in a mid-December bowl will get less extra practices than a team playing in a comparable bowl scheduled for early January.  There is no reason for this whatsoever.

With this change, all schools would be able to have 15 winter practices.  Some schools may use all 15 for their bowl game.  Other schools might want to use 10–even if bowling–to add 5 more to the spring.  Other schools might prefer to skip a meaningless bowl game to have all 15 winter practices in the spring.  This makes complete sense if a school is breaking in a new quarterback, and certainly where there is a coaching change.

From there, the bowl games can return to some sense of sanity.  With demand for bowl spots no longer linked to the extra practices, the bowl games can once again be rewards for above average teams, rather than avoiding the penalty of being below average.  There is certainly some reason for someone to complain about a change like this.  But it seems like a very easy way to level the playing field and drive out the meaningless bowls.

Quick Thoughts on the Bracket

With 24-hours to digest it, and less than that until play-in games start, here are the Confidential’s quick thoughts on the bracket:

The NCAA did Wichita State a favor.  Suppose that the Midwest bracket was changed to make Louisville the 2-seed, and UCLA the 4-seed, with Kentucky swapping with UMass as the 6th/8th seeds.  With Louisville a 2-seed and Kentucky a 6-seed, everyone could step in off the ledge and stop looking for further signs of the apocalypse.  Not suppose Wichita State runs that table to get to the Final Four: (a) Game 1, a victory over a 16th seed; (b) Game 2… win over the winner of Kansas State/UMass…yawn; (c) Game 3… win over the winner of UCLA/St. Louis/Cinderella…still not impressing anyone; and (d) Game 4… win over Louisville or Duke.  With one win over an impressive, name opponent… Wichita State would still be somewhat of an question mark heading into the Final Four.  NOW, if Wichita State gets to the Final Four, it will have beaten good names AND good teams.  This is much better than if Louisville was a #2, Duke was a #3, and Creighton was a #4.  The casual fan will want to see Wichita State up against the best before deeming the season historical.  Mission accomplished.

As for Louisville, chillax.  The committee was instructed to look at the whole season.  If the committee was to look at just the last 6 weeks, it would be violating that directive.  In the not-so-distant past, momentum heading into the tournament was relevant.  Now, it is has been formally deemed a lesser variable.  Maybe it should be changed back.  Fair enough.  But to do so in this bracket would have been to violate the current rules.  Moreover, imagine if the bracket was this: 1. Michigan, 2. Wichita State, 3. Louisville, 4. Duke.  Would moving up one seed have mattered?  No!  Same basic opponents.  OK, just switch Louisville and Duke, without switching Wichita State and Michigan–still have to beat two of the three anyway.  The order is insignificant.  Just go win the darn games.

While the Midwest bracket is tough at the seeded level, are St. Louis, UMass, and Texas scaring anyone more than Kentucky?  No.  And is Kentucky really scaring anyone?  It is a perfect matchup for Wichita State–let the country root for the #1 seed against the collection of one-and-dones.  Great way to get fans rooting for a #1 seed for a change.

The East bracket is sneaky tough, with Virginia, Villanova, Iowa State, and Michigan State.  Villanova is a 28-4 team, but seems like the worst of these four teams right now.  Does that make sense?  Actually, it does.  The South is not horrible either.  If Syracuse gets is mojo back, that is three teams that might have been #1’s a month ago.  Throw in UCLA, VCU, Ohio State, and New Mexico… and that is a deep region.  The West.  Sigh.

What do you think?

P.S. Still time to get into the Confidential’s bracket contest @

More on the ACC Bowl Picture

Great article by MCaffrey regarding the bowl situation.  Here is some more info.

Read more…

Big XII Expansion Thoughts

The folk over at Frank the Tank are having fun talking about Big XII expansion scenarios.  Assuming that the Big XII wants to add two schools… and cannot steal from the ACC, SEC, B1G, or Pac-12, where does the Big XII go?  Frank the Tank lists them in order as Cincinnati, BYU, San Diego State, Central Florida, South Florida, and then Tulane.  The question for ACC fans.  Which would we like to see?  Which would we hate to see?

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