UConn, the Seattle Seahawks and the inequities of college and professional football

Picture if you will…

One NFL team becomes the first in league history to qualify for the post-season after losing more games than it won.  Three thousand miles away, a college team receives a BCS bowl bid worth tens of millions of dollars to the university, despite finishing the season unranked.  The college team lost that bowl game by four touchdowns to a considerably better opponent.  What happens to the NFL team remains to be seen, but they’re a ten-point underdog at home this Saturday.  Either way, football fans are once again clamoring for change.

To re-align or not to re-align, that remains the question.  Football fans are up in arms that the Seattle Seahawks made the playoffs with a 7-9 record.  Not only are they the first team in the Super Bowl era to make the post-season at under .500, they have the worst scoring differential of any playoff team ever, allowing 97 more points scored upon them this season than they themselves could muster.  For those of you who aren’t football fans, that’s not good.

UConn, a decent college football team, finished unranked in the BCS but still received a Fiesta Bowl bid by virtue of winning the Big East.  They were summarily spanked by Oklahoma, 48-20.

Don’t get me wrong.  The NFL playoffs and NCAA bowl games are still post-season football.  We’re fans.  We’re going to watch even the blowouts.  But in the back of our minds somewhere, logic prevails.  Come January, could the competition be better, the games more entertaining?  The answer is a resounding YES.

Not a day goes by where a college football fan somewhere doesn’t gripe about the sport’s (lack of a) playoff system.  Until someone comes up with a better, i.e., more lucrative option, we’re stuck with the BCS.  Oregon and Auburn finished the season undefeated and were likely the best two teams in the nation, however, TCU also went undefeated and looked pretty good in their victory over Wisconsin.  Could they have beaten either the Tigers or Ducks?  We’ll never know and THAT is what irks fans the most.

The NFL has shown recently that they’re willing to shake things up a bit.  Case in point, the changes in overtime rules that will take place for the first time this post-season.  But tweaking a few rules here and there is a far cry from revamping the entire playoffs.

This season, the NFC West was the laughing stock of the league.  They were a combined 6-18 against the rest of the NFC.  The Giants and Buccaneers both finished with ten wins, three more than Seattle.  They are now sitting home, while the ‘Hawks are still playing.  Similarly, the Big East was 4-13 against ranked opponents this season.  Do these performances really warrant reward?

Winning your division in most sports is basically meaningless.  Unless it’s baseball’s American League East, or perhaps the NFL’s NFC East, division titles hold no bearing other than regional scheduling and playoff seeding.  Do you really think the Dallas Mavericks or San Antonio Spurs give a damn about whether they win the Southwest Division if neither of them make it to the Western Conference Finals?  Let me answer that for you.  They don’t.

I’m not suggesting we revamp the entire NFL playoff seeding… or maybe I am.  We sports fans have a tendency to be too reactionary.  Just because a 7-9 team made the playoffs this year doesn’t mean the sky is falling.  Nor am I saying that better teams sitting home for the playoffs is unfair.  This is football, not Go Fish.  This season was an aberration… hopefully.  It was only a few years ago that the NFC West was represented in the Super Bowl.  But when Kurt Warner retired, he apparently took the success of the division with him.  Keep in mind, removing Seattle from these playoffs would leave the Kansas City Chiefs as the Western-most team still alive.  We wouldn’t want to alienate an entire fan base, even if their teams do suck.

However, “That’s the way we’ve always done it” is no longer a legitimate excuse.  The masterminds behind the shield would at least be best served to review what happened this season, for the betterment of the league and its entertainment value.

As far as the BCS goes, well, that’s an entirely different animal.  Allowing lesser teams from lesser conferences into a BCS or playoff system simply for winning their conference is like requiring one player from every Major League Baseball team to participate in the All-Star Game.  If the best player on the Kansas City Royals is not as good as the tenth best player on the New York Yankees, then why have him there?  Are Royals fans not going to watch because they didn’t send their second baseman?

No disrespect to UConn or the season they had, but we got an indication of how that team and perhaps the rest of its conference would have fared against the nation’s more dominant programs.  Probably not too well.

Again, we’re football fans.  We’re going to watch regardless.  But if the powers that be can make things just a little better for the sake of competition, then shouldn’t they?

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40 Replies to “UConn, the Seattle Seahawks and the inequities of college and professional football”

  1. Pingback: UConn, the Seattle Seahawks and the inequities of college and professional football, NFL | BallHyped Sports Blogs

  2. Bien hecho, loco.

    Isn’t it about time for your vacation or did you take it already?

    And yea, the Magic trade is growing on me. I’m still not convinced they got all that better. I’ve also been hearing scary rumors about Brandon Bass’ knee. If he’s not 100% come playoff time, the Magic are going to be real small.


  4. We’ll get playoffs in college football when the NCAA figures out the formula that maximizes their bottom line.
    When it comes to the pros, I think that is a matter of perspective. If it was the Bucs I would want them in if they won the division regardless of their record. The Seahawks, not so much.

  5. Chris

    So there’s an inequity within collegiate sports and the professional ranks ? You don’t say ? I was under the impression that’s the way that the governing bodies in question want it to be . Look at the NCAA for instance along with the body the BCS that oversees collegiate football and their mind numbingly stupid declarations and decisions ?. Who now takes either seriously at this juncture ?

    Don’t be phased by the fact that the Seahawks at 7-9 have made the playoffs I’m sure that the Saints are completely aware of that fact !
    I just hope that the Saints’ defense are ready to lay the wood to either , Hassselbeck or Whitehurst dependent upon who’s qb’ing the ‘hawks ?

    tophatal …………..

  6. Chris

    Any man who lays his hand on a woman is simply a coward ! I’ve heard one idiot say that Favre’s actions weren’t over the top concerning Sterger. When I asked him if that were his younger sister or mother what he’d have thought about it he simply had nothing to say ! I guess when you don’t think about the repercussions it simply makes you all the more apathetic to the world at large .

    Haywood should never been given the job in the first place given the fact that this isn’t the first time concerning these type of allegations against him. Not only that but the Pitt AD was aware of Haywood’s problems and still he hired the guy .

    It appears that the Magic are now clicking on all cylinders and the same can be said of the Heat. Unfortunately the Spurs are now playing like a rabid dog with fleas laying down against the Knicks and then losing a close one to the Celtics. Albeit that they (Spurs) still have the best record in the league.

    So with Elway having joined the Broncos in an advisory capacity (Bowlen may let him buy a stake in the team) there’s a distinct possibility that they may well have an inside track in luring Harbaugh away from Stanford. What with Elway being an ex Stanford guy himself . I still think that Harbaugh ought to remain with the program given the uncertainty now surrounding the NFL !

    Into how many pieces can one simply split $6-7 billion so that on the face it …….it’s equitable for all ? The union and the league are a bunch of dimwits !

    *Elway’s estimated worth is north of $400 million .

    tophatal …………….

  7. Chris

    Why would I want to congratulate a Buckeye ? Shouldn’t the Buckeye fans be congratulating the NCAA instead ? I mean they’re the ones who’ve allowed much of this crap to go on concerning several of the players on the team .

    I hear that when and if Cam signs with an NFL team his father is assured that his church will have a new wing to it and he’ll also have his own private plane .

    Now that the Titans have cut Young why is Adams still considering the situation with regard to Jeff Fisher ? It’s not the coach’s fault that this team has been terrible simply put Young makes JaMarcus Russell seem like a damn choirboy if you want to make a comparison . These two to my mind have been the biggest busts in the league in the last five years !

    Unfortunately there’ll be some idiot of a GM willing to give Young another chance . I say ship his a_s off to the UFL or CFL !
    That’s where elephants go to die isn’t it ?

    tophatal ……………

  8. Nice one Chump!

    Personally I don’t have a huge problem with Seattle making it in. I find the irony funny that this is a Pete Carroll led team. While at USC his team could have one bad half and lose by a point then be out of the national championship hunt. Now he’s in Seattle, loses 9 games, and still gets to host a playoff game. Weird stuff…

    All I can say about Uconn is I’m glad they got blown out because it won me some money!!!

  9. Aer…

    To be perfectly honest, I’m surprised that hasn’t happened yet. It seems perfectly feasible to incorporate the ‘lesser’ bowl games into some sort of playoff system that could generate hundreds of millions of dollars for the schools and the NCAA.

    I’d say more of a concern is what they do with the non-power conferences. We could be dangerously close to excluding them altogether.

    And re: the pros, I’m not suggesting we panic just yet, but there is a slight sense of unfairness that Seattle is not only in, but HOSTING a home playoff game.

  10. We’re forced to take the BCS seriously, Al. Whether we like it or not, it still determines our national champion.

    And, Al, I wouldn’t be surprised one bit if the ‘Hawks took advantage of their new lease on life and gave the Saints everything they wanted this weekend. I also wouldn’t be surprised if they got blown out.

  11. If Haywood already had a record, Al, then someone at Pitt obviously didn’t do their homework and Haywood shouldn’t be the only one being dismissed for his stupidity.

    I’m still not ready to admit the Magic are all that much better after the trade, Al. We need to take a closer look at their scheduling. Right now, they’re playing patsy teams. Before the trade, the were on the road against playoff teams with Jameer Nelson hurt. Hardly a fair random sampling. To be, they’re still a notch below Boston and Miami, just as they were before the trade.

    Vince Young is an anomaly, Al. He still has a pretty good winning percentage as a starter. I’m not sure where he’ll wind up. I do, however, have to assume that Kerry Collins is not the Titans’ answer at QB.

    I’m pretty sure some GM will take a chance on Young.

  12. Good lay on Oklahoma, Chap. That was easy money… and also the biggest point spread of all the bowl games, so nice job.

    Also, great point about Carroll. I hadn’t even thought of that.

    Again, I’m not sure where I stand on the whole Seattle thing. Winning your division is winning your division. I guess that’s supposed to mean something even if half the teams in there are horrible.

    Keep in mind, though. Non-basketball fans and hockey fans bitch about those sports’ playoff systems, saying the 8th seeds in both sports are hovering around .500 (or below) and don’t deserve to make it in. And didn’t the Padres make the post-season a few years ago with around a .500 record as well?

    Well, ladies and gentlemen, I hereby present to you the Seattle Seahawks.

  13. I think people need to stop hating on Seattle for getting in. It’s not their fault that nobody in the division was good enough to be .500 or better. I see the point that the 8th seed in hoops or hockey isn’t deserving, but giving the #1 seed a cakewalk matchup is something the best team earned, so I don’t really have a problem with it. Plus, in hockey and the NBA there’s rarely upsets. In football there always are random upsets. If the Seahawks somehow win, I’m sure it will quiet the talk of how they didn’t deserve it…

  14. Chap…

    I think we both agree that the Saints are the better team on paper.

    To play devil’s advocate, they played a more difficult schedule than the ‘Hawks AND finished with a better record, yet didn’t win their division.

    Their reward? Travel across country to play Pete Carroll.

    This is exactly why Major League Baseball added their wild card. Of course, it was a self-serving move to allow both Boston and New York into their post-season but you’d perennially have two 90+ teams in the AL East with only one of them making the playoffs.

    I’m not necessarily saying we blow up the system and start from scratch. This season was an anomaly. I am suggesting, however, they at least look at the way it stands now and see if anything can be done.

  15. Chris

    The NFL ought to think about the seedings in terms of the postseason . But as we all know that mindless Goodell is a lap dog of the owners.

    Both the AFC and NFC West have become so poor that it’s a shame the fans there have to be subjected to that diatribe.

    So Luck will remain in school it may well now lessen the odds of Hrbaugh leaving to join an NFL team , in particular the Broncos.

    Young could have well have a pretty good winning percentage but that simply doesn’t mean he’s a great player or someone I’d want to be leading a team . He chews out his coach infront of his teammates and then leaves the club. Then in his response he says he’s not abandoning his team . Is that what you’d want from a teammate much less a friend in your time of need ? Gimme a break Chris stop drinking the Kool Aid .

    Young is an infantile as_hole who’s no longer needed in the NFL.

    Any GM taking a chance on Young had better have the balls to accept the responsibility from any fallout that’s sure to follow. He’s not a starter in my estimation ……. no team would want to take that sort of a risk with him as a starter. Backup maybe but starter an emphatic no !

    Chris , the Pitt AD is an a_s ! He too ought to have been fired as well.

    As to the Magic they’re slowly jelling and they could prove to be worthy contenders to the likes of the Celtics and Heat within the East .

    Love the fact that ‘toine Walker says he’s at peace playing in the D League of the NBA . I guess when you’ve blown your career earnings ( * est $150 million ___ ) on hookers , gambling and not supporting your kids then there’s got to be a lot to be thankful for …….. what an a_s !

    tophatal ………..

  16. Goodell has to listen to the owners, Al. They’re the owners. He’s no more a lapdog than Selig. Stern is really the only commissioner with enough sack to call out an owner, i.e., Cuban.

    All I’m saying re: Young, Al, is that if JaMarcus Russell can stand several chances in the league, then Young can too. I actually see the Cardinals as a decent fit. What does either side have to lose at this point?

    In the NBA’s Eastern Conference, as I’ve said all along, whoever lands that number one seed will be sitting pretty as the other two teams will have to battle it out against one another, not that Atlanta or Chicago will be a walk in the park.

    And I see the antics of Antoine Walker continue. I imagine he’s probably rolling with a considerably smaller bankroll than he’s accustomed.

    Be right over to check out that BCS piece.

  17. Chris

    Bidwill (Cards’ owner) won’t go down that road again not after Leinart . If you remember Leinart was bitchin’ ‘ cause he wasn’t getting any playing time ? Less he forget his teammates and his coach had no faith in him at all. Look at him now ? Would you even want him as a backup ?

    The Magic could surprise one or two with this roster but I believe and see the Bulls as the dark horse within the conference. They hit their stride and make a few deals then there’s no telling what they can do.

    ‘toine needs money like a crack addict needs another hit.

    Goodell and the owners know the current system is imperfect and even with Falcons’ President Rich McKay bringing up that idea about re-seedings ………. that was shot down faster than Miley Cyrus can take a hit of salvia or Lindsay Lohan bailin’ from rehab .

    Carroll should consider himself lucky . I guess Paul Allen (Microsoft co-founder and Seahawks’ owner ) really does know a thing or two ’bout football. Next season if they go 6-10 I wonder if the wolves will be knocking at the door ?

    The BCS Stands For What .. ???

    tophatal …………….

  18. Leinart was a questionable pick to begin with, Al, which is why he dropped to ten in that draft. He’s now a third-string QB for the 49ers. There weren’t quite as many concerns surrounding Young but there were still questions.

    But if you ask me whether I’d rather have Vince Young, Max Hall or Derek Anderson, I’ll take Young no question. Besides, they can probably get him for cheap if he’s cut. I’m not sure how much money that team will be willing to spend but I can’t see them starting a quarterback they pick up in the upcoming draft.

    I’m not saying Young will bring Arizona back to prosperity. I’m saying they could do worse.

    I agree, the Bulls will be nice. It’s too bad they lost Noah right when Boozer came back. Those two will need some minutes together come playoff time.

    We’ll see if Pete Carroll and his Seahawks are having the last laugh Saturday night.

  19. Chris

    I can’t see them taking that chance ! Character issues asides what he (Young) did with Fisher to say the least was uncalled for ! You think he won’t try the same thing again with Whisenhunt if he were to be yanked from a game ?

    Boozer and Noah together makes that team so much better and think about it they’ve still got money and could pursue ‘melo or go after him via a trade.

    That game could come down to mistakes as it is the Saints haven’t been that impressive and have had these idiotic lapses during games .

    That game between the Eagles and Packers is by no means a foregone certainty in favor of the Eagles. It’s going to be a close one I think !

    tophatal ………

  20. I agree it isn’t fair, but I guess what I meant was that sports aren’t fair. Should we over react and change everything? I don’t think so. If they change it I’m sure there will be other problems that arise.

    Everyone is in love with the new overtime rule, but I’ll play devils advocate on that one. Say your team is in that game, and both teams get a field goal. A couple possessions later your team wins. What are the repercussions of having the team that won play five or six extra possessions? They are going to be more tired towards the end of the next playoff game, and will lose. Mark my words, this will happen this year in the playoffs. If there’s a long overtime because of the new rule that team will lose the next round in a 4th quarter collapse.

    I’m just saying change isn’t always the right move, not that you are saying that, but take it from a Warriors fan who saw the Warriors set the record for the most wins in the regular season and not make the playoffs. Other teams deserved it more than Seattle, but I don’t think anyone should be bitter.

  21. Thought provoking post Chump but the BCS and Seahawks just don’t do it for me. I’d suggest tackling a subject that just isn’t getting enough national coverage: the flowing Jesus-like locks of Charlie Whitehurst.

    To me (thanks a lot JVG) that is a topic that needs to be discussed!

  22. Al…

    In the end (or to use a sports cliche, at the end of the day), whatever Whisenhunt wants, Whisenhunt will probably get.

    The Cards need a quarterback. I’m not sure there’s that many of them out there. I’m assuming Derek Anderson has worn out his welcome.

    We don’t yet know how Noah and Boozer will play together, particularly with penetrating guards like Rose and Deng. We shall see but I’d be surprised if they, or Atlanta, knocked off either of the big three in the East.

    That Packers-Eagles game should be a blast to watch.

  23. Chris

    If the Cards are in need of a qb I hear that Cam Newton’s father, Cecil is willing to let ’em have his son at the right price ? All it’ll take is at least $45 million as a signing bonus and the Bidwills adding a new wing to his church .

    That Bulls team definitely intrigues me !

    And that Packers’ Eagles game should be great to watch from start to finish .

    Why do I get the feeling that Ed Reed and Ray Lewis are going to make the Chiefs pay this weekend ?

    So O J Mayo simply learned nothing from the Gilbert Arenas incident in DC ? He too has now got into it with a teammate after a game of cards where he’s said to be owed money. Punched out that teammate on the flight home from a game and then told Michael Heisley the Grizzlies’ owner that he ought to keep his nose out of his business. WTF ?

    So Dolphins’ owner Stephen Ross wants to make Jim Harbaugh the highest paid coach in the NFL at between $7m & $8 million a year ? Now comes the bad news Chad Henne is the Dolphins’ qb .

    And we thought that Dan Snyder was the only owner in the NFL with a loose screw ? Didn’t that front office (Dolphins) learn anything after the Nick Saban fiasco ?

    Alan aka tophatal ….

  24. Chap…

    If you noticed, I tried to keep that four-letter F word ‘fair’ out of the piece. I don’t have a problem with Seattle earning a playoff spot by virtue of winning their division. I also don’t have a problem with NFL brass looking at the current playoff structure and possible ways to revise it.

    You bring up another good point about those overtime rules. They do seem a little college-y, don’t they? And you’re right. They could easily change those rules back if a team is on the field an extra 20 minutes. Although it’ll make for great TV.

  25. So, Drew, are you suggesting Whitehurst is a poor man’s Tom Brady?

    If the Seahawks and Pats both make it to the big game, can we then call it the Paul Mitchell Bowl?

    Just for that, I’m rooting for Seattle now.

  26. I hear Cecil will be attending the BCS title game, Al. Who do you think splurged for the tickets and plane fare?

    And I wouldn’t fall in love with that Bulls team just yet. Long season to go. I don’t see them beating Orlando, Boston or Miami in a seven-game series.

    Packers-Eagles? Must see TV, Al. As a matter of fact, I think all four games this weekend will be spectacular.

    I hadn’t heard that story about OJ Mayo but somehow it doesn’t surprise me.

    It sounds to me like Miami never had a shot in the Harbaugh sweepstakes and all they did was disrespect their current coach in the process. By the way, what’s Bill Parcells doing these days?

  27. “Fair” is a touchy word in sports, because it usually isn’t from payrolls to calls in the games. I think the NFL does the best at trying to appease everyone, which is nice. I do like that they tried to change the overtime rule, and will be entertaining when one of these games goes into OT. I just hope it doesn’t screw the winner over the next week. If that does happen, you can pencil my bet in for whoever they are playing!

  28. Like the tail end of a back-to-back in the NBA, Chap. I see your point.

    What would be really funny is if the networks carrying playoff football had Donovan McNabb come on and explain the Overtime rules to everyone.

    How sweet would THAT be?

  29. Chris

    If Cecil is going to be there I can only surmise that Cam’s mother paid. Either that or it was the Deacon of the Church.

    So Harbaugh will coach the Niners ? I bet that must get under Elway’s skin ?

    I’d like to the Stephen Ross for showing that even he can make both Al Davis and Dan Snyder seem smart ! Did he learn nothing from the Saban fiasco ? Who the hell offers a first time coach $7-$ 8 million a year to coach their team even if it is the damn Dolphins !


    tophatal …………….

  30. Al…

    Don’t you think that’s the least the church could do for almost ruining Cam’s college career?

    Kind of odd that Harbaugh takes the Niners gig. Do they tank the 2011 season (assuming there is one) so that he can draft Andrew Luck?

    I wondered how I would feel if Urban Meyer left the Florida gig to coach the Bucs only 120 miles away. That’s pretty much what happened here, isn’t it?


  31. Okay, so first off, I don’t necessarily agree with your “we’re football fans, we’ll watch regardless” assessment, and I’m assuming the ratings bear this out…

    Also, when you talk about not wanting to alienate fanbases, this is exactly why Royals second baseman DO make the all-star game (and it’s partly the reason why the NFL can’t just move the entire NFC West to Europe).

    I’d point out, too, that relatively rare cases like Seattle and UConn at least provide Cinderella potential, and to this end, you gotta admit that Seattle-New Orleans was easily one of the most entertaining games of the year.

    I personally wouldn’t change anything about the NFL’s alignment if only because these things are cyclical and the league has in place a self-correcting mechanism (i.e. the Draft). As you alluded, we tend to be short sighted about instances such as these… They don’t happen very often, and this could all be a blip on the radar when both the Rams and Niners when 10 games next year.

    As for college, I’m all ears. Wanna just do away with the Big East?

    Good, thought-provoking read.

  32. Fro-B…

    The Big East’s football team’s are the considerably uglier step-sister of the conference’s basketball teams. It’s amazing how their roundball can be so good and their football so bad.

    I’m cool with leaving things the way they are in the NFL. But keep in mind, Major League Baseball revised its playoffs to accommodate for the monsters in the American League East.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw Goodell tweak a few things here or there over the next few years.

    (Did you just say the Niners were going to win 10 games next year?? Nice to see Gainesville Green is still alive and well in North Central Florida)

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