Adams: Strength of schedule needs more BCS weight

Since the SEC has won three consecutive national championships in football, it has little to complain about in regard to the BCS. But I can still complain on its behalf.

That's not the lead-in to another we-need-a-playoff rant. I have moved on, and - though not embracing the BCS concept of championship by ballot - have at least accepted it.

I also have accepted the fact that coaches will continue to vote in the top-25 poll, which is akin to having college basketball coaches serve on the NCAA tournament selection committee.

Such acceptance proves I'm not trying to buck the establishment and willing to bargain in good faith. I'll settle for a few crumbs in return.

All I am asking is that the BCS include strength of schedule as a separate component in its rankings format.

That's hardly revolutionary. Strength of schedule once played a more prominent role in the process.

There's nothing foreign about tweaking the BCS formula, either. The BCS has been tweaked and re-tweaked so often, what's another tweak?

Sure, the SEC has flourished under the system. But as the nation's premier football conference, it should flourish under any system.

And the best conference would benefit from a greater emphasis on strength of schedule.

SEC commissioner Mike Slive believes the conference has benefited from that.

After all, some of the computers employed in the BCS formula have a strength-of-schedule component. Moreover, you would assume that top-25 voters weigh strength of schedule in ranking teams.

"I thought the voters made a statement when LSU made it to the championship game with two losses (after the 2007 season)," Slive said at the SEC spring meetings last week. "That was a statement for recognizing the strength of SEC football."

I agree. And the BCS was vindicated when LSU dismantled Ohio State in the national championship game.

While LSU proved it was the best team in the country, it would have not had a chance to play for the championship if a series of late-season games hadn't fallen just right.

The SEC and Big 12 both needed help last season in setting up a Florida-Oklahoma championship. But if Iowa hadn't upset unbeaten Penn State on a game-deciding field goal, either Florida or Oklahoma would have been knocked out of the championship game.

I'm not concerned with what happened two years ago or last year. I'm concerned with what might happen next time.

While voters and computers might consider strength of schedule, they don't consider it enough. If they did, an undefeated Penn State team wouldn't have been ranked ahead of one-loss teams from stronger conferences.

Voters don't have a problem putting a one-loss team from a BCS conference ahead of an undefeated team from the Mountain West or WAC. But they balk at the notion of putting a one-loss SEC or Big 12 team ahead of an unbeaten Big Ten team, even though those conferences are currently superior.

A strength-of-schedule component would benefit the best conferences and best teams. It also would help ensure the best national championship match-up.

Otherwise, college football's best teams could be at the mercy of a Big Ten kicker. Next time, he might miss.

Sports editor John Adams may be reached at 865-342-6284 or adamsj@knoxnews.com.

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Comments » 22

panties4tebow writes:

Stronger than the gayterds!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

agarn writes:

The BCS needs to go away...or use it as seeding for a tournament.

jdcvols#230433 writes:

They need to ignore the so-called big 10. That conference is so overated and deserves no more chances to get to the title game...at least for a while.

dvhill100 writes:

The strength of schedule is a excellent indicator of how good a team is, and it should be included. The problem with the BCS is the standards aren't and not evenly applied.

CoverOrange writes:

I guess JA is back home in his Monday morning journalism "easy" chair. Food for thought, surely, but it is all salad.

Has anybody looked at the nonconference schedule for most SEC teams? Not all that impressive.

Is the SEC's strength of schedule higher based on playing SEC teams? Sounds vaguely incestuous. Somebody schedule to play Utah then we'll talk. Or just go to a playoff. Anything less is a "myth".

murrayvol writes:

Excellent article and enough food for thought to carry us through another doldrums week.

Now that the Coaches Poll is the only voter component the BCS is even more out of whack. Hell, they don't even fill out their own ballots.

Absent an intense lobbying effort by Urban The Meyer 2 years ago we would've been "treated" to an OSU/Michigan rematch....and the conversation on this board would be very different indeed.

tapeworm writes:

Quite frankly, the SEC is just like any other BCS Conference (except the Big East and ACC, which barely deserve BCS standings) in that it's top-heavy, just like the Big 10, the PAC 10 and Big 12. Once you get past the top four teams in any of these conferences, you have a toss-up against other BCS Conference teams. And, by the way, when you say the SEC has won three consecutive national championships, what you really mean is Florida and LSU have won them. And, mostly because USC managed to find a way not to get in the championship game.

murrayvol writes:

in response to CoverOrange:

I guess JA is back home in his Monday morning journalism "easy" chair. Food for thought, surely, but it is all salad.

Has anybody looked at the nonconference schedule for most SEC teams? Not all that impressive.

Is the SEC's strength of schedule higher based on playing SEC teams? Sounds vaguely incestuous. Somebody schedule to play Utah then we'll talk. Or just go to a playoff. Anything less is a "myth".

This is America Turbo. Money talks and it's screaming NO PLAYOFF.

CoverOrange writes:

in response to murrayvol:

This is America Turbo. Money talks and it's screaming NO PLAYOFF.

Yeah, Murray, can't argue with that many Grants and Franklins being pushed across the table. But, if the SEC is not careful, SOS could come back to bite us. See Auburn in 2003. That was my second point. My first point was that JA is a mediocre columnist.

panties4tebow writes:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

give_him_6 writes:

The games need to be settled on the field. Period

TommyJack writes:

in response to gatorz5:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

What's it like, being a troll? I'm interested in your psyche.

thevoice writes:

in response to TommyJack:

What's it like, being a troll? I'm interested in your psyche.

Feeding the ugglies will only bring them back for more table scraps. I wonder what would happen if we all just ignored them for a week, yes regardless of what they say. Anybody on board?

TommyJack writes:

in response to thevoice:

Feeding the ugglies will only bring them back for more table scraps. I wonder what would happen if we all just ignored them for a week, yes regardless of what they say. Anybody on board?

Voice: This stategy has been posited for months. You'll never get enough participation to be effective.

richvol writes:

Just hit suggest removal for all interlopers comments. The rules of GVX state that you must be "on topic". That does not allow off topic inflamatory comments like the ones posted by the interloper above which are there to try to ruin real Vol fans discussions.

Stick together and see if GVX grows some Nads to enforce their own rules.

murrayvol writes:

in response to TommyJack:

What's it like, being a troll? I'm interested in your psyche.

You're gonna need a bigger couch.

murrayvol writes:

in response to thevoice:

Feeding the ugglies will only bring them back for more table scraps. I wonder what would happen if we all just ignored them for a week, yes regardless of what they say. Anybody on board?

Unfortunately there will always be a critical mass of GVX natives who can't resist a response regardless of how inane the troll blather may be.

And once it starts.....well you've seen the results countless times.

jasonn1970 writes:

in response to hiresanders:

(This comment was removed by the site staff.)

Which is exactly why college football needs a playoff instead of the current (very flawed) system.

spinseeker writes:

'While voters and computers might consider strength of schedule, they don't consider it enough. If they did, an undefeated Penn State team wouldn't have been ranked ahead of one-loss teams from stronger conferences.'

Whose to say your conference is stronger? Apparently the media. In their preseason polls they continually overrate the SEC teams. (See Auburn and Tenneessee and LSU last year)

I would like to see the SEC actually play some good teams for their OOC games (and win) so they can justify their current rankings. I don't buy the argument that the conference play is tough enough that they don't need to schedule difficult OOC games. That is a cop out. Everyone's conference games are tough because of the familiarity among the teams.

I almost died laughing seeing an SEC writer complain about strength of schedule not being included enough. How about some deductions for playing FCS teams instead of BCS teams.

At least you are a Tennessee writer. Apparently the only SEC team that has the balls to schedule real teams OOC. The problem is: the rest of the conference gets inflated records by beating patsies. Then when they all finish just at or over .500 it's a strong conference, except they only beat 2 or 3 BCS opponents and maybe one with a legitimate winning record (meaning no FCS wins to bring them to .500).

murrayvol writes:

Your point on weak nonconference scheduling in the SEC is on target. Florida used to get a pass with FSU (and Miami occasionally) but that no longer holds water. Now it's a pocketfull of pansies, the SEC schedule, and FSU in that order.

The media underrates as well: Auburn (schedule excepted) in 04' & Utah in 08' are examples.

back2backchamps writes:

Can't argue that as a fan I would love to see a better OOC schedule for UF. I would much rather see the Gators against even a middle of the pack Big 12 team than the phooey we have to see this year. Unfortunately it aint gonna happen as long as the schools continue finance their entire athletic department off of 1 sport. 7 or 8 home games every season is the way to make sure you fill the bank account,,,and thats what big-time college sports is all about these days.

SWAVol writes:

in response to spinseeker:

'While voters and computers might consider strength of schedule, they don't consider it enough. If they did, an undefeated Penn State team wouldn't have been ranked ahead of one-loss teams from stronger conferences.'

Whose to say your conference is stronger? Apparently the media. In their preseason polls they continually overrate the SEC teams. (See Auburn and Tenneessee and LSU last year)

I would like to see the SEC actually play some good teams for their OOC games (and win) so they can justify their current rankings. I don't buy the argument that the conference play is tough enough that they don't need to schedule difficult OOC games. That is a cop out. Everyone's conference games are tough because of the familiarity among the teams.

I almost died laughing seeing an SEC writer complain about strength of schedule not being included enough. How about some deductions for playing FCS teams instead of BCS teams.

At least you are a Tennessee writer. Apparently the only SEC team that has the balls to schedule real teams OOC. The problem is: the rest of the conference gets inflated records by beating patsies. Then when they all finish just at or over .500 it's a strong conference, except they only beat 2 or 3 BCS opponents and maybe one with a legitimate winning record (meaning no FCS wins to bring them to .500).

Take the sec against any conference any day of the week. Just watch bowl time and you get to see what the conference is about. I live in Texas and have to hear all about the BIG 12. The BIG 12 is the only other conference that I have any respect for but they run second to the SEC. I collected over 300 bucks from the Big 12 boys on OLE MISS vs. TT. When the smoke clears every year the sec is the best football conference top to bottom and is only getting stronger with the new hire coaches and the recruits.

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