FanDuel - WFBC

January 07, 2009

Does the BCS violate antitrust laws?: Utah's AG is investigating the possibility of a suit against the BCS

posted by tahoemoj to football at 10:34 AM - 18 comments

When I first saw this story, I immediately thought of sour grapes. Upon reading it, I think he might be on to something! Maybe that's just the lawyer in me.

posted by tahoemoj at 10:35 AM on January 07

I generally disdain litigation that could be construed as frivilous, but if this is what is needed to fix something big (read- lots of money is on the line) that is clearly broken, then so be it.

posted by Mtigger at 11:51 AM on January 07

I don't know if this lawsuit will go anywhere (gut feeling says I doubt it), but this situation does highlight what I have always thought is the biggest flaw with college football: that there are D-I (or FBS, if you prefer) schools that start the season with absolutely no chance of winning the championship regardless of how good they prove themselves to be.

It's not like Utah is just playing cream puffs. They went into Ann Arbor and won...how were they to know when they scheduled that game that Michigan was going to stink this year? They have a good conference...not the SEC, but BYU and TCU stood in their way. They also beat an Oregon State team that beat USC, and convincingly beat an Alabama team that gave Florida a stern test. Utah couldn't possibly do any more than they did, and yet despite all of that, they never had a chance. I don't like that.

In basketball, every team in D-I can theoretically win the NCAA Tournament. You just have to win your conference tournament, then win 6 games in the NCAA Tournament. A school like George Mason (for example) has as much of a shot at it as North Carolina does.

A football playoff which includes every conference champion and enough at-large bids to fill out a 16-team bracket would be the best way to alleviate this, IMO. But we all know that something like that isn't coming anytime soon.

posted by TheQatarian at 11:54 AM on January 07

This lawsuit would not exist if Alabama had won. If this clown is so concerned about the unfairness he perceives in the BCS, why didn't he file years ago? This is a political stunt, just like Joe Barton's proposed legislation.

posted by joaquim at 01:13 PM on January 07

I tend to agree with Kornheiser's view of this in 2 areas

- The Mountain-west conference (to which Utah belongs) agreed to the system that is in place. You can't come back and cry foul now

- Specifically for Utah....join the Pac-10 or quit complaining

I do differ on his view about the Politicians getting involved with this and the concept of "don't you have anything else to worry about?". People act like the politicians/congress/etc. can only focus on 1 thing at a time...like it's impossible for them to multi-task. Let's hope they are capable of managing multiple things at one time.

posted by bdaddy at 01:55 PM on January 07

Really good article by Dan Wetzel here about the joke that is the BCS system in the context of Utah getting jobbed.

posted by holden at 02:22 PM on January 07

The Mountain-west conference (to which Utah belongs) agreed to the system that is in place.

I don't think the non-BCS conferences had any say at all in this system.

The BCS has split the top division of college football in two and widened the gap between the top programs and everybody else. The non-BCS schools would be better off participating in the FCS (Division I-AA) playoffs than waiting around for the BCS to rectify the situation.

posted by rcade at 03:20 PM on January 07

Wait a minute ... I checked the Bowl Championship Series Web site -- the Mountain West Conference, which includes Utah, is listed as one of the member leagues.

I don't think the Utah AG has a leg (ouch!) to stand on.

posted by jjzucal at 03:36 PM on January 07

Apologies to bdaddy ... I didn't notice you had mentioned this earlier.

posted by jjzucal at 03:37 PM on January 07

On the issue of whether the politicians should be getting involved, the question isn't so much, "Don't they have better things to do?", but "Should they be meddling in this?" I'm in the group that is getting tired of people looking to government to fix all of their problems, because they tend to suck at it. This isn't quite as big a deal on that front as things like bailouts and nationalized health care, because I don't think taxpayer money will end up getting involved, but the principle behind the government having to be involved in everything does bother me. Your mileage may vary, of course.

posted by TheQatarian at 04:06 PM on January 07

Thanks for the link, Holden. I was especially drawn to this comment.

"It cemented the opinion in the media and thus the public and thus the coaches and Harris poll voters that the only big-time sports league out west is the Pac-10. If you're in it, you matter. If not, you might be a cute story, but you don't."

And now, even the Pac-10, which went 5-0 in bowl games this year, has been downgraded as well. This, of course, destroyed SC's chances after they lost to a pretty good Oregon State team.

I would like USC's chances against either Florida or Oklahoma. And SC always schedules games against worthy out of division opponents (Ohio State and ND this year - and as said earlier about Utah v. Michigan, it's not SC's fault ND is weak this year).

Back to Utah, they're as deserving as any team in the nation. In fact, in my fantasy playoff lineup I'd love to see a Utah - USC national western semifinal where the winner plays the winner of Florida- Texas national eastern semifinal. Wouldn't that be exciting.

And though the lawsuit is certainly a stunt, the BCS is a joke. Any league that depends on computers and voters to decide a championship instead of deciding it on the field will always be a joke.

posted by cjets at 04:20 PM on January 07

the question isn't so much, "Don't they have better things to do?", but "Should they be meddling in this?"

See, I agree 100% with your comment. In fact I DON'T think they should be meddling in this at all (I'm very much a proponent of small gov't :-) I just disagree with the argument as to why they shouldn't of "Don't they have better things to do". This is exactly what Kornheiser said, in fact started throwing out examples of where they should be focusing their attention instead of this. My point was, that was a lame argument because it assumes politicians can't focus on more than one thing.

posted by bdaddy at 04:54 PM on January 07

Any league that depends on computers and voters to decide a championship instead of deciding it on the field will always be a joke.

The computers and voters are deciding BASED on what happened on the field. Some IBM mainframe didn't invent a loss against Oregon State for USC. It simply said "since teams A/B/C all lost 1 game, team A "seems" better than team B because it played better against better teams." It does a pretty damn good job of that as well.

posted by bdaddy at 04:58 PM on January 07

"Some IBM mainframe didn't invent a loss against Oregon State for USC."

No but the computers/polls determined that the loss to Oregon State was worse then Florida's loss to Ole Miss. And that the Pac-10 was worse than the SEC or Big 12. Would this still be the case if they could factor in the bowl games?

And it did apparently create a loss for 13-0 Utah. They're the team really getting shafted. And though I think the lawsuit is BS, I understand their frustration.

"It simply said "since teams A/B/C all lost 1 game, team A "seems" better than team B because it played better against better teams.""

What that does is create the standings for D-1 college football. So rather than have teams play each other to determine who is the best, the computers/polls do that. Why are Florida and Oklahoma better than USC or Utah? Not because they beat them on the field. But because the computers/polls say so. That's a lot of power given to the computers/polls.

And as a result, every year issues like this come up. As much as I love college football, it devalues the system.

posted by cjets at 06:07 PM on January 07

Just b/c Utah agreed to the format at the outset, doesn't mean that after that system has, over the course of more than a decade, consistently exposed itself to be inadequate that they should agree to stay to just accept their lot. To me, if someone agrees to something that they believe will be fair, and then it turns out to not be, they have every right to change their minds. Wouldn't we all do that? If any of us felt like we were being slighted or deceived, then we would all change our minds. We wouldn't just "take our medicine," so why should we expect Utah to?

Second, Utah hasn't been in the Mtn West very long, and it takes quite a bit to change conferences. Further, those making this argument are assuming that the PAC-10 wants Utah . . . maybe they don't. If so, then Utah is screwed.

I don't know if Utah really is the best team-but they earned a shot this year, and they're not getting it. And that sucks.

posted by brainofdtrain at 02:58 AM on January 08

I'm not sure that, when the mid-major conferences signed on to be a part of the BCS, they were told, "we'll give you some money, but by entering this agreement you forfiet any claim to a national title in perpetuity." Had that been made clear, I don't think the small school ADs would have been so eager to sign on.

posted by tahoemoj at 11:58 AM on January 08

I'd prefer a championship. Lacking that, they shouldn't do any polling until after a certain number of weeks have taken place. To me, the biggest flaw in the polls is that preseason position plays a factor. Nobody knows anything about these teams before a down is played. Just look at how people were talking about Georgia before the season began.

posted by rcade at 12:11 PM on January 08

Lacking that, they shouldn't do any polling until after a certain number of weeks have taken place. To me, the biggest flaw in the polls is that preseason position plays a factor.

I agree completely with this. If the first polls waited until October like the first BCS rankings, you would definitely see teams in different positions based on what happened on the field rather than where they were ranked before the season started.

posted by bender at 02:16 PM on January 08

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