Sunday, February 10, 2008

Nothing Like Evidence

I originally made this point as a comment to the last entry. But I think it bears a little more scrutiny, so I made it a post.

If you need evidence that 4-4-4 works and is necessary, look at the title game this season.

LSU played in the SEC, a tough conference without a doubt. Few, if any, tier 3 teams in there, and even the 3's can be tough outs. They played a total of seven games against teams ranked at kickoff. Non-conference, they played VaTech, then had Florida, Auburn, and Alabama during the regular season. Then they went through Tennessee to get to the title game itself. No shortage of challenges there. Even with two losses, their strength of schedule and win in their conference title game got them to the BCS championship.

tOSU played in the Integer, usually decent but this year way down. Their non-conference schedule was a joke, including Youngstown State and Akron. They had no games against top-20 teams at all. But they won all but one, and managed to get into the title game based on one loss and the fact their conference doesn't play a title game.

The results of that game speak for themselves. The tempered, challenged team blew the doors off the team that had scheduled itself into the game. tOSU hadn't played anyone of note, while LSU had been challenged throughout the year. Their experience meant they knew how to respond when the chips were down.

You can't play six or more games against crappy competition and limit yourself to a max of two quality teams each year. It doesn't work. You may end up in the title game if you back into it, but you're not prepared. Eventually, the selection committee sees through your act and you don't get considered anymore. By then, there's a layer of rust on the program that might be difficult to remove.

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Blogger Craig said...

In OSU's defense regarding scheduling, I'd guess Washington was either a tier 1 or a high tier 2 at the time they were put on the schedule. The Buckeyes got killed by every single "challenge" team on their schedule having a bad year.

2/10/2008 10:58:00 PM  
Anonymous Scranton Dave said...

Mike, your points are valid, but the reason Ohio St got trounced the last 2 years wasnt because their schedule didnt test them enough ( I agree their schedule especially this year was a joke) it was because they werent that good and they didnt belong in the game. If Notre Dames teams in 2009 and beyond are Title contenders like we think they could be, playing a 4-4-4 doesnt make sense. A 2 loss team getting to the title game wont be the norm. Like I responded to your original post, I hate that it is this way, but until teams are held accountable for their schedules, teams will do what Ohio St did this year.

2/10/2008 11:42:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What "tier" team is Notre Dame?

2/11/2008 02:40:00 AM  
Blogger root said...

Actually, in any other year LSU's schedule would have PREVENTED an obviously worthy team from playing in the BCS title game. If any other team of merit had just one loss, LSU would have been on the outside, because of their schedule. tosu, however, had no business being there, but got in because of reputation and a pathetic schedule. Like it or not, playing two quality teams per year is all it takes for the BCS...

2/11/2008 08:21:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ohio State's 2007 schedule was:

Youngstown St (Tier III)
Akron (Tier III)
Washington (Tier II -- arguably, though III is a possibility)
NW (Tier III)
Minn (Tier III)
Purdue (Tier II)
Kent State (Tier III)
MSU (Tier II)
PSU (Tier I)
Wisconsin (Tier II)
Ill (Tier II -- arguably, though III is a possibility)
UM (Tier I)

Their problem was that their regular season schedule was a 2-5-5 model (and a couple of those Tier III teams are really part of the unmentionable Tier IV group).

This, perhaps, helps make the case for 3 Tier I games, but not 4. It also makes the case that 5 Tier III games (and *any* Division I-AA opponents) is a bad idea.

But, the other replies on Rock's House and here aptly demonstrate that OSU's 2007 season is not sufficient evidence that a 4-4-4 model is necessary. OSU was blown out because LSU was loaded, OSU had 7 weeks off, and OSU was rebuilding with young players at many key positions, not because they were ill-prepared by a soft schedule.

On Rock's House, you state that you would have no problem with 3-5-4. That's how I think the discussion should be framed ----- not with the leap to "4-4-4 is necessary."

3-5-4 is necessary. 2-5-5 is awful and embarrassing. But 4-4-4 goes a little too far (as LSU would probably attest to this year, after losing 2 games).

Finally, it's primarily the overabundance of Tier III (and Tier IV, and Division I-AA) teams that made OSU's schedule unpalatable.

2/11/2008 09:22:00 AM  
Blogger jim / Redondo Beach said...

...Washington will be a Tier 3 team until willingham's next stop at Sacramento State...

2/11/2008 10:02:00 AM  
Anonymous squid said...

You can't play six or more games against crappy competition and limit yourself to a max of two quality teams each year.

Ok, so two top-15 (Tier I) teams is not enough. But why does that require playing four top-15 teams? Why not three? I haven't really read why 3-5-4 or 3-6-3 isn't better than 4-4-4.

USC, Michigan, and one other game that we rotate among Oklahoma, Penn State, Alabama, FSU, et al. should make for a good schedule.

4-4-4 in a BCS season becomes 5-4-4. If a strong Notre Dame team has a 60% chance of beating a top-15 team, then it's very unlikely that ND would win all 5 games, or even four.


2/11/2008 11:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Can someone please explain to me what criteria is being used to place a team into a "tier"? It seems that the main seperating point in evaluating a team is what point a poster is trying to make.

2/11/2008 02:25:00 PM  
Anonymous Scranton Dave said...

I have a couple of issues with posters on this subject. First of all Craig when did Ohio St schedule Washington? Unless it was in 2000 or 2001 they were not tier 1 or high tier 2. Also, Penn St is not tier 1, it isnt the 90s anymore. I completely agree with poster root. Dont defend Ohio Sts disgusting schedule this year. The Big 10 sucks besides Ohio St and Mich and Youngstown St, Akron, Washington and Kent St is a disgusting out of conference schedule. With all that the BCS rewarded them with a berth in the BCS Title game because I guess they were more deserving with 1 loss with that schedule than all the 2 loss teams that were cleraly better than them. Bottom line is the BCS needs to go.

2/11/2008 05:15:00 PM  
Anonymous tim said...

I have also predicted that Ty's ultimate destination will be Sac State

2/11/2008 10:22:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Am I the only one who knows we haven't been within sniffing distance of the championship in 15 years? Let's worry about not crippling ourselves with an outlandishly difficult schedule and stringing a few winning seasons together first. All this talk of tempering ourselves with a properly balanced schedule for a NC game is incredibly premature given the general state of the program over the last decade and a half.

2/12/2008 04:29:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am not a fan of OSU ot their WEAK schedule. I have to disagree though that scheduling your way to the title game doesn't work. Look at OSU's recruiting this year. While their weak schedule cost them this year it may have given them the talent and exposure to wi it all in a few years from now. had they scheduled tougher they would have lsot 3 or 4 games not been in the title game and would not have the recruiting class they have in 2008.

Also, i would rather play in the title game and have a shot at the title than playing in a 2nd tier bowl game. Although they did not win, you never know, you get a few turnovers, and a special teams play you can win. I've seen OSU do this seeming 4 or 5 times in 2001 when they won the title.

Bottom line is scheduling tough schedule will shoot yourself in the foot with the was the BCS is set up. Until the BCS goes away you will contine to see weaker and weaker schedules, these schools are learning and they are not dumb.

3/11/2008 10:33:00 PM  

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