Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Kirk Herbstreit's Nonsense

I want to take a quick break from more weighty matters to discuss college football.  I don't write much about football on this blog, but as a two-time Baylor grad, I love what is happening with Baylor football, especially considering how pitiful the Bears were during most of my time there.

Full disclosure:
1) I am a Baylor fan and Baylor homer.
2) I think the College Football Playoff committee did a fine job last year, and, while I wish Baylor had made the initial playoff, I think the CFP got it right putting Baylor at 5 last year.
3) I think the CFP will probably get it right again this year.  I don't really care about any CFP ranking except the final one.

With that out of the way, it irks me when someone like Kirk Herbstreit says something like he said this morning on Mike and Mike. He said that if undefeated team from the big 12 at the end of the year (read, if that team is Baylor), then the CFP would be justified in leaving them out of the playoff in favor of teams currently ranked ahead of them (read 1 loss Notre Dame and 1 loss Alabama).  The reason, Herbstreit says, is that it would send a message to Baylor not to schedule non-conference cupcakes (read Lamar, Rice, and SMU).  I grant that Baylor's non-conference schedule is dismal.  It has been for years, and looks to keep going that way in the future.  But, what irks me is that when people talk about non-conference cupcake scheduling, they point the finger disproportionately at Baylor.

For comparison purposes, I want to briefly look at the non-conference schedules of the current CFP top 10 and the number of games that could be labeled cupcake.  Instead of trying to rank cupcakes, I will make the simple distinction of Power Five teams vs. non-Power Five teams (Power five being the SEC, Big 10, Big 12, Pac 12, and ACC) Though Notre Dame is an Independent, I will count them as Power Five because of their consistent quality.

1. Clemson (ACC) Conference: 8 Power Five games vs. ACC opponents. Non Conference: Wofford, Appalachian State, Notre Dame, South Carolina (SEC).  Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 10/2.

2. Alabama (SEC) Conference: 8 Power Five games vs. SEC opponents.  Non Conference: Wisconsin (Big 10), Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Monroe, Charleston Southern.  Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 9/3.

3. Ohio State (Big 10) Conference 8 Power Five games vs. Big 10 opponents. Non-Conference: Virginia Tech (ACC), Hawaii, Northern Illinois, Western Michigan.  Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 9/3.

4. Notre Dame (Independent).  Notre Dame only plays 2 Non-Power Five opponents this year: Temple and Massachusetts.  Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 10/2.

5. Iowa (Big 10) Conference 8 Power Five games vs. Big 10 opponents. Non-Conference: Illinois State, Iowa State (Big 12), Pittsburgh (ACC), North Texas.  Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 10/2.

6. Baylor (Big 12) Conference 9 Power Five games vs. Big 12 opponents. Non-Conference: SMU, Lamar, Rice. Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 9/3.

7. Stanford (Pac 12) Conference 9 Power Five games vs. Pac 12 opponents. Non-Conference: Northwestern (Big 10), Central Florida, Notre Dame (Independent). Summary, counting Notre Dame as Power Five, Power Five/Non-Power Five 11/1.

8. Oklahoma State (Big 12) Conference 9 Power Five games vs. Big 12 opponents. Non-Conference: Central Michigan, Central Arkansas, Texas San Antonio. Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 9/3.

9. LSU (SEC)  Conference: 8 Power Five games vs. SEC opponents.  Non-Conference: McNeese State, Syracuse (ACC), Eastern Michigan, Western Kentucky. Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 9/3.

10. Utah (Pac 12) Conference 9 Power Five games vs. Pac 12 opponents. Non Conference: Michigan (Big 10), Utah State, Fresno State. Summary Power Five/Non-Power Five 10/2.

Overall Summary: There are five teams in the top 10 with a Power Five/Non-Power Five schedule of 9/3.  They are Alabama, Ohio State, Baylor, Oklahoma State, and LSU.  I don't see Herbstreit ripping on Alabama for scheduling Middle Tennessee, Louisiana Monroe, and Charleston Southern. Or on LSU for scheduling McNeese State, Eastern Michigan, and Western Kentucky.  Why do they get a pass while Baylor gets ripped.  1. Alabama and LSU both play one non-conference Power Five team (because they have 4 non-conference games).  But they still schedule 3 cupcakes. 2. All of Baylor's non-conference games are against Non-Power Five opponents, but they play 1 more power five opponent in conference. 2.  Baylor schedules their con-conference opponents as their first three games and then so thoroughly destroys them that it draws attention to the inferior competition, while Alabama and LSU spread these non-conference cupcakes throughout their season.

So Kirk, if you are going to point the finger at Baylor's non-conference cupcakes, could you at least be fair and point the finger equally at Alabama, LSU, Ohio State, and Oklahoma State.  Baylor is not alone playing three teams of inferior quality, but seems to be the only one whom you actually call out for it. 

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