A final sendoff for the week with another Big East mailblog.
Paul Boger in Cokato, Minn., writes: Andrea, Re: college football playoffs, I've always totally believed two things. 1. The champion should always be determined on the field. Not by a bunch old old boys protecting their sacred but really meaningless and boring bowl games. If Division III can have true playoff system where most of the athletes actually have classes and go to classes during the fall, then Division I can have a playoff. 2. A high percentage of coaches and AD's don't want a playoff because the current system covers their butts. If you don't play, you can't lose. Now they can whine to their fans that they got robbed by the selection committee and never got the chance they deserved. Every fan in America should boycott games until they give us a 16-team tournament. Keep up the good work.
Andrea Adelson: Well Division III does not have all the bowl games to protect, and clearly that has been a priority for the presidents and athletic directors on the FBS level as you mention. It was hard enough to envision a four-team playoff. Sixteen teams? We may never see that happen.
Fran in Newark, Del., writes: How about a selection committee pick 16 teams to play in lesser bowls advancing to major bowls. It would eliminate lesser bowls with teams with 6-6 records and make all bowl games worth watching.
Adelson: As I alluded to above, the lesser bowl games are not going anywhere. They make too much money to be eliminated, and coaches like the idea of giving their players a reward at the end of the season -- even if they do go 7-5 or 6-6.
Chuck in Louisville writes: Hi Andrea, Love the blog. Was wondering how it is that conferences like the SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, Pac-12, can call themselves the premier football conferences when the same two or three teams are always at the top and all the rest are wishful thinkers. If you can't answer maybe (doubtful) their bloggers could explain! Did not include the ACC - well because they're the ACC (tell HD: I'm sorry, but it's true).
Adelson: Thanks, Chuck. Of all the conferences, I think the SEC has the best argument. Four different teams have won the national championship in the past six years, and they usually have six to seven teams ranked every year. East teams like South Carolina and Georgia have played in the SEC championship game in recent years as well. As for the others, I have argued on this blog several times that name recognition and tradition far exceed actual results on the field when it comes to perception. The Big Ten has been down in recent years, but traditional powers like Michigan, Ohio State, Penn State, Nebraska and Wisconsin live there. Texas and Oklahoma carry the Big 12 because of their outsized reps, although Oklahoma State, West Virginia, TCU, Kansas State and Kansas all have been to BCS bowls. The one that I don't think fits is the Pac-12. Outside of USC, Oregon and Stanford, there has been not much doing in that conference for years. In fact, those are the only three Pac-12 reps in BCS games since 2002. Utah did have two as members of the Mountain West.
Mike in Somerville, N.J., writes: I am a BE guy all the way, and a Rutgers fan. I agree with your points on the BE hesitations of a selection committee. Teams are going to have to make concessions in scheduling. Syracuse is a great example - taking on power conferences - and sometimes at off-campus locations. Teams like Rutgers, UConn, Louisville, Cincinnati, and USF are going to have to do this gain some street credibility. Look at my Scarlet Knights schedule: At the Hogs - opportunity to go into SEC land and make a statement. But Tulane, Kent, and Army, and then, on top of that in the shadow of NYC, you host Howard? Howard? Anything you gain by playing the Hogs, you lose with Howard. You can't complain about credibility of the conference when flagship programs, like my Scarlet Knights, schedule too many lower conference and division teams.
Adelson: Mike, Rutgers athletic director Tim Pernetti has been very clear that he wants to beef up the Rutgers' nonconference schedule, and adding Arkansas for a home-and-home is definitely a step in the right direction. I noted that a few of the Big East teams this year have tougher nonconference schedules than teams in other, more high profile conferences. Two of the teams with the more difficult schedules are leaving for the ACC. The remaining league schools are going to have to do their best to bulk up their nonconference schedules even more, but I fear that is going to be a difficult prospect with other conferences moving to nine-game league schedules.
Chris S. in Cincinnati writes: Validation. That's what happened for us Bearcats with Brett McMurphy's article based on the best BCS teams since 2007. Cincinnati ranked 16th. The highest of ANY Big East team (including WVU) and second-best among new members (Boise in first). This helps go a long way in validating our claim that we are and have been the class of the Big East. We've set the bar in the last five years. Now let's see someone match it. It's almost laughable to hear Louisville, Rutgers, or anyone else argue that they are the class of the Big East or the team to watch. Unless that bar is being a colossal choke in the regular season, then they don't even sniff being the head of the Big East. Time to give respect where respect is due. Someone top it.
Adelson: I don't think you needed that article to feel any sense of validation. Three Big East titles in four years, and two BCS appearances ought to do that for you. I know how incredibly peeved Cincinnati fans get when the Bearcats are not picked to win the league. Just check my Twitter feed. But rather than lament all the disrespect, maybe the best thing to do is to shout "scoreboard" when folks try to argue any other team is better.