Big East Commissioner Mike Tranghese Thinks You're Stupid

Since one of our frequent visitors, Matt, provided a link to an SI article purportedly as evidence as to why a playoff system wouldn't work in college football, I took the time to read it. Hey, our readers take the time to read our drivel so why not see what they want us to see?

Well, I'm glad I read it. Because you want to talk about drivel... What we have here is some angry old men who like lining their pockets with BCS money. (Oh, the current deal with Fox is four years and $320 million dollars. That's $80 million a year Fox has paid to broadcast the BCS bowl games. Don't tell me it's not about money, because that's the only f-cking thing it's about. Not tradition, not academics... money. Understand that.)

But let's look at some specific things in the article...

Any discussion about the future of college football's postseason must start with the requisite disclaimer that "the one thing [all] of us are in agreement on is there isn't going to be a playoff," said Big East commissioner Mike Tranghese.

Yes. "All of us." All of us being, you know, the five conferences that control the BCS and have guaranteed slots. "All of us" does not include:

50 or 60 other D-1 programs, plus a few hundred million college football fans, alumni and students, who all pour money into the beast that is college football.

Such sentiments routinely frustrate the large segment of the public that clamors for a playoff and can't comprehend why Division I-A football remains the nation's only major sport -- and only NCAA football division -- which refuses to implement a full-scale tournament to determine its champion.

Hmm, yes. It is hard to comprehend... unless you simply stop trying to find the logic-based reasons and come to grips with the fact that it's about money and nothing else. But what say you, Big East Commish Mike Tranghese?

"Whenever my [league's] presidents have asked me about the positives and negatives of a playoff, I tell them the two positives are [more] money and people will stop yelling and screaming," said Tranghese. "And the negative is that the value and meaning of the regular season will be diminished. Playoff proponents who say that's not true -- that's just pure stupidity."

Take note, aspiring debaters: whenever you don't like well-reasoned and fair questions/arguments from other people (including people who pay your salary), just tell them they're stupid. Also permissible names: ninny, poo-poo head, fart nose and booger-eater.

Tranghese points to Pittsburgh's upset of West Virginia the final night of the regular season, a riveting game that severely impacted the national-championship picture. "If there had been a playoff, who would have watched that game?" he said. "It would have no meaning. West Virginia would already be in the playoff.

Except that under the "system" that most people would settle for, it wouldn't be like a 64-team field, Mikey. It would be like a 4 or 6 team field and so the desperation to stay in the top 4 or 6 would still be there. And the #2 team losing to an awful Pitt team would STILL be devastating to their chances (for example, under the system we proposed here, WVU would have been out of the playoff -- not hard to comprehend). And also... even if it were true that it would diminish the regular season (which is simply would not)... and I'll say this really slow for those who have trouble sounding out words... the current system diminishes the postseason! Doesn't anybody get that? Sure, the regular season is awesome and builds and builds and builds to this magnificent crescendo.... and then peters out with meaningless bowl games and significant doubt about who is the best and who might beat who. Wow, how magical. How "traditional." But at least everyone gets to their finals on time.

But Tranghese isn't done.

"The BCS has created what I call cross-watching," said Tranghese. "An LSU fan had interest in that game, an Ohio State fan had interest in that game. Most of that would go away if we had a football playoff -- that is one thing I'm certain of."

Oh, so the goal of the BCS is not to pit the best teams versus one another to decide a clear-cut national champ? Glad you admitted that out in the open. What you're saying is that the goal of the BCS is to make Ohio State fans care about the West Virginia-Pitt game. I see. Well, then congratulations, sir, mission accomplished.

Guess what, though.... people who love college football would still have been watching. People don't turn off the TV and stop watching because a team is in a playoff. Do you think people stop watching the Red Sox once they clinch a playoff spot? Do Dallas Maverick fans say to their wives, "Naw, let's go shoe shopping tonight, hon, the Mavs already locked up the two-seed in the West. I don't need to watch."

And you know what else? The BCS may have created "cross-watching" but a real playoff system would create even more "real-watching"!

Mike Silve, SEC and BCS prez chimes in:

"Whether you like the BCS or don't like the BCS, no matter how cynical you may be, you have to agree it has contributed to the popularity of college football, particularly in the regular season," said Slive. "Years ago, when Hawaii played Boise State, it was of interest solely to those communities. It's now of interest to everyone."

What? You mean, because Hawaii and Boise State both had an outside shot at a BCS slot? Or because they were both good? And what did Boise State's BCS bowl game victory give them last year? They were perfect, 13-0. They got nothing. And even if Hawaii had beaten Georgia this year, what would have have meant? Nothing. LSU would still be your national champ. Yeah, the BCS is awesome.

The other common argument against a playoff -- the one regarding academics -- tends to draw more rolled eyes from the public. University presidents have repeatedly stressed their opposition to any postseason arrangement that would interfere with first-semester finals (usually held in mid-December) or would carry the season into a second semester (usually starting in mid-January).

Yes, consider my eyes rolled so hard that my eyeballs scratched on my eyebrows. This is quite possibly the stupidest and most insulting argument made against a playoff. And Tranghese is back:

"Don't insult my intelligence," said Tranghese. "Don't compare I-AA football to I-A football. Appalachian State-Delaware, that's a great game, but they are not operating in the limelight that I-A is. For anyone to think there could be a I-A playoff during exams -- the press demands, the television demands, they're just huge. People criticize us for low graduation rates -- then those same people want us to play playoffs during exams."

I'm not sure it's possible to insult your intelligence, Mike. So the reason D-1A cannot play playoff games and D-1AA can is because of... the limelight? Really? That's pretty thin.

And again, and I don't know how else to say this, nobody is suggesting we play playoff games during exams. I'd really like to know how many schools hold their first semester final exams between Christmas Day and the second week of January. Truly, please email me at and let me know if your school held exams at this time. I will then send you a personalized letter expressing my regret that you no doubt had to study on Christmas morning while your sibling opened presents and played with Tonka trucks from Santa. This is effing asinine!

And let me ask something else. Is this the only time these "students" are missing exams? What about the heart of the college football season, in mid-October, when midterms are usually held? What about that? Don't they sometimes miss those? Don't they work around them? Don't they have a cheerleader do their homework in between fluffing sessions?

Football players can play and practice from August through early December as well as all through the Spring.... but heavens no! Not during December!!

The article goes on to talk about the lilkihood of a "plus-one" system, which is almost stupider than having no playoff.... which means it's likely going to be the "solution." How would one more game have helped this year, though? Who would you put LSU up against? Georgia? USC? WVU? How would you determine it? What would it settle? And what about those years when there is a clear-cut, undefeated, above-the-rest team? They'd play another game against a random one-or-two-loss team? This will not solve anything.

HOWEVER, the one way a "plus-one" would work -- at least better than the current setup -- is the one proposed later in the article:

A seeded plus-one is exactly like it sounds -- the top four teams at the end of the regular season would meet each other (No. 1 playing No. 4, No. 2 playing No. 3) in two of the BCS bowls. (Because the BCS wants to remain at 10 berths, a fifth non-title game -- either a newly created one or an existing one like the Capital One or Cotton -- would likely need to be added.) The winners would advance to the championship game, which, conveniently, is already being played about a week after New Year's.

I still think this doesn't properly reward the #1 and #2 teams the way my proposed system would (thus lending credence to the argument about devaluing the regular season) but it's a hell of a lot better than the current debacle.

And on the subject of the "tradition" of the Big Ten-Pac Ten Rose Bowl:

That said, a seeded plus-one is sure to be met with considerable resistance from the Big Ten, Pac-10 and Rose Bowl. The Pasadena game -- which has a relationship with the two conferences dating back to 1946 -- has lost at least one league's champion to another site six of the past seven seasons. There was no Big Ten-Pac-10 matchup in four of the five seasons from 2001-05.

Hey, I'm all for tradition and I love the Big Ten and being affiliated with it. But why do we match up against the Pac Ten? This isn't 1953. It's not relevant anymore. And since the system has already been bastardized and the true B10-P10 matchup rarely happens anymore anyway, why not just move towards something that makes more sense and helps college football anyway?

Can you fathom the excitement of a playoff system -- or "plus-1" mini-tourney -- on this country? After an awesome regular season, seeing the four best team (or six or eight or whatever) battle it out over a couple of weeks... it's hard to imagine how massive that would be. It would rival the NFL playoffs. And that league seems to be having some amount of success, despite having a playoff system, wouldn't you agree?

Of course, then there are arguments about fan support and people showing up to games.

The Rose Bowl's Dorger, on the other hand -- whose game allocates nearly twice as many tickets to the participating schools (62,000) as the other BCS games (35,000) -- is more worried about potential ramifications.

"If [the Rose Bowl] is a semifinal game, I don't know how much [fan] support there would be," said Dorger. "If I'm hosting the championship game, and I don't know who the teams are until a week ahead of time, that's a terribly difficult task."

Yes, just like the Super Bowl. We don't know who is going to be in that until two weeks beforehand and it's always just a complete disaster, isn't it? Nobody goes, it's hard to get people to use tickets... they're probably just giving them away outside the building. Good point, Rose Bowl. Good point, indeed. Oh, also? You're booger-heads.

Crist the saviour (of UND football)

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