Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Glass Ceiling of College Football

I love this time of year. The weather starts to cool down, the leaves start to change color, and most importantly, football season is finally here. I like NFL football and I play fantasy football, but college football is my favorite sport in the world to follow. I think I’m more excited for this year than in years past with the three Heisman finalists all returning to action, top 25 match ups the first week and even a top 10 matchup the first week.

Tonight marks the first games of the year and tonight’s games have me excited like a kid in a candy store. I’m especially excited to watch the matchup between Oregon and Boise State at Boise. I’m excited because I typically cheer for the underdog non-BCS qualifying conferences because I played for one of those teams and it is fun to see the “big boys” get beat. With that being said, I have to give props to Oregon for actually scheduling a home and home series with one of the better non-BCS qualifying teams in the country. Most automatically qualifying teams schedule a powder puff for their openers and IF they schedule one of the teams like Boise State, they usually only agree to do it if they get home games. Boise State is starting the season ranked #14 and if they win they should move up. If you look at the rest of Boise State’s schedule, they should be favored to win the rest of their games and they could end up in the National Championship game right? As Lee Corso would say, “Not so fast my friend!”

I believe there is a glass ceiling in college football for all of the non-qualifying conferences and there isn’t much anyone can do to get past it. The University of Utah went undefeated last year beating BCS automatic qualifying teams like Michigan and Oregon State and even beat two other teams in the Mountain West that ended up ranked in the top 15 in the final BCS poll and they weren’t even considered for the National Championship game. Many of the voters for the all important Harris Poll, that is a crucial factor in the BCS, admitted to the fact that they hadn’t even seen Utah play. Hence, it was a shock to the world when Utah showed up to the Sugar Bowl and dominated an Alabama team that had been ranked #1 for a large portion of the season.

It is extremely hard to go undefeated in football no matter what the competition is. Even what many consider as the greatest NFL team of all time, the ’85 Bears, didn’t go undefeated. Many analysts and sports writes say that the conference schedule is too easy for the non-qualifying conferences and even if Boise State beats Oregon, they would be expected to blow out all of the teams in their conference because they are lesser teams. What the writers and analysts never
point out is that the conference games are usually more difficult no matter what conference you play in because the conference coaches play each other year in and year out and have a better feel for what the opposing team would like to do. I’ll give you the fact that the WAC or the Mountain West or Conference USA isn’t as good top to bottom as the SEC, Big 12 etc. However, conference games, no matter what conference, are more difficult because of the knowledge of the coaching staffs that prepare for the conference teams year in and year out. Therefore,
those games shouldn’t be discredited just because they aren’t blowout wins but they often do and the non-qualifying conferences pay for it in the rankings.

I don’t think the current BCS will put a non-qualifying team into the National Championship game because they are scrutinized at another level and penalized too greatly for their conference. Even if BYU were to beat #3 Oklahoma to start the year and go on beat Tulane, and
Florida State they would be penalized in the polls each week that they didn’t blow out a conference foe and they would eventually hit the glass ceiling that exists in college football. I’m not saying that these teams can’t play in the BCS, that has already been proven. I’m saying they can’t make it to the National Championship game.

What do you think? Is there a glass ceiling in college football? Could Boise State, TCU, BYU, or Utah ever get past the glass ceiling that exists and play for a National Chamionship?


  1. When the Oregon Duck's LeGarrette Blount decked Boise State's Byron Hout and the head coach was silent, I knew I had better tune in to the BYU-Oklahoma game. My hunch was right. It was a barn burner - BYU 14 Oklahoma 13. After a questionable phantom pass interference call on BYU, it looked like the glass ceiling mentioned by Head Coach Sports was was "in play". Then the yellow flag got stuck in the official's pocket for a second on a similar call on Oklahoma in BYU's game winning drive.

    Where will BYU be ranked when the next BCS poll arrives? Gotta admire Cougars coach Bronco Mendenhall humble comments after the game. Most of the buzz after the game was on Max Hall. I thought Dennis Pitta came up BIG on the last drive.

    BYU 14 Okahoma 13. What will head coach sports say next?

  2. No doubt there's a glass ceiling, and there is no solution but a playoff. Unfortunately, the BCS is the "halfway" solution that is good enough to placate enough schools to prevent a real long-term solution.

    I think a playoff of conference champions is ultimately the only good solution. But there's too much inertia in the bowl system, and for the BCS conference teams, there is little incentive to change, so I doubt we'll ever see a change.

  3. I have heard people already talk about BYU in the National Championship game because of their big win over Oklahoma. I would love to see both BYU and Boise State go undefeated this year just to see if my theory of the glass ceiling is correct. Do you really think they would take one of those teams in the National Championship game over a one loss Texas, Florida, Alabama, or USC? I still see a glass ceiling.

    Like Jonathan said, there is little incentive to change and huge incentive ($$$$$$$) to keep the system the way it is.