Thursday, December 21, 2006

ESPN’s useless endeavor

I wasn’t going to comment on EPSN’s insipid SportsCenter’s College Football Playoffs.

I really wasn’t.

Sigh.

Damn those voices in my head!

ESPN, apparently in an effort to keep the likes of Mark May and Kirk Herbstreit busy during the slow period of mid December, created something that, essentially, no one asked for, no one needs, and is perhaps the most useless exercise and waste of television time ever conceived – a fake college playoff.

In doing so, ESPN decided on a ten team bracket. Why ten teams? Who knows? The lower levels of NCAA football use 16 teams, but ESPN decided on some sort of “play-in” system where the bottom four ranked teams play first, while the top six get a bye.

Whatever.

Anyway, in assigning seeds, ESPN went with the following –

1. Ohio State
2. Florida
3. Michigan
4. LSU
5. USC
6. Louisville
7. Wisconsin
8. Oklahoma
9. Boise State
10. West Virginia

The top 7 seeds are identical to the top 7 in the BCS, so if one is going to pursue futile endeavors, at least that makes some sense.

Then it gets weird. Oklahoma is 10th ranked in the BCS, Boise 8th, and WVU 13th.

Why pick the last three in this order? I think the answer lies in who is being left out.

In the BCS, Auburn is 9th. And while ESPN didn’t mind putting 3 Big Ten teams in the mix, apparently a 3rd SEC team was more then they could handle.

West Virginia, BCS ranked 13th, is actually behind yet another SEC team, Arkansas at 12th. Notre Dame is also ahead of WVU, at 11.

So, 4 SEC teams are more deserving per the BCS than WVU. Could ESPN have included 4 SEC teams? Not if they are going to continue arguing that the Big Ten is the equal of the SEC, they couldn’t.

ESPN holds a nightly episode where Herbie and May pick the “winner” in their imaginary exercise. This is amusing not in the least for the fact that Herbstreit, who has been almost 100% wrong in his picks on College Game Day this year, is being asked as an “expert” to decide the faux winner.

Herbstreit, as you might recall, predicted that Miami would win the “National Title” this year. He was only off by a little bit.

Without the least bit of suspense, the “final four” are Ohio State against LSU, and Michigan against Florida. As these are also the top 4 in the BCS, picking these teams was the least imaginative result one could envision.

Now, anyone with the least mental acumen could see that – behold – of the four final teams, 2 sets have already played each other! Florida defeated LSU 23-10, and Ohio State beat Michigan 42-39. So, had the seeds been switched even a bit (LSU ranked 3rd, Michigan 4th), the result would have been the match-ups that had already been played!

And Herbie and May would have been severely challenged to pick against teams that had already played and won.

Instead, we get this – what is essentially going to be a sop to the Big Ten. (Which would fit in very well with my co-blogger’s post on ESPN kowtowing to the Big Ten)

We all know how it is going to come out. In fact, using my amazing powers, I will tell you EXACTLY what is going to happen on tonight’s episode. One of the duo – I think it will be May, but it might be Herbie, so that he can seem impartial - is going to choose Florida. The other is going to choose Michigan. Oh my, a tie, what do we do!

Well, they then “take it to the people”. And since Michigan is and will be leading in the online voting, they will “break the tie” by having Michigan beat Florida. The people will have spoken.

Ohio State will move on over LSU, and the Big Ten will get its pacifier from ESPN.

Sigh. And the beat goes on…

1 comment:

Henry Gomez said...

Herbie won't pick Florida because he already said that he thinks Michigan is better than Florida on a neutral field. May may pick Florida. To be fair to May, he was cheerleading for USC in the final weeks of the season but said Florida deserved to go to the BCS title game once USC shat the bed against UCLA.

But this is the most ridiculous exercise one could imagine.