Today's edition of the Big East mailblog comes to you just a little bit early. It's still jam packed, so let's take a peek inside.
Jack in Winston Salem, N.C., writes: AA, you have often said that you prefer a playoff system for football. I take it that you would rather things were settled on the field of play. But if the BCS continues to determine champions, then would it not make more sense to take the human polls completely out of the equation? Writers and coaches can't possibly know enough about every team to make an informed choice. Computers, on the other hand, can evaluate all aspects of each game. There are about 20 good computer based rankings that take in everything from relative strength of schedule to emotional baggage of players and coaches. Las Vegas points spreads are correct about 80 percent of the time and they are almost exclusively computers.
Andrea Adelson: I am most definitely in favor of a playoff, but I do not think you can let computers do everything. If there was one human element to be discarded, I think it would have to be the coaches. They most certainly do not have time to watch and evaluate every single team playing. Many do not even do their own voting. I think writers are better informed, although with humans there always is going to be some level of opinion that creeps into rankings. As for computers, I understand they can evaluate numerical factors, but they cannot watch these teams perform. So I think there has to be some combination of both in order to put together a ranking that would allow teams to be chosen for a playoff. I would be in favor of a plus-one to start if that is all we can have, with eight teams as a max.
Rob in Morristown, N.J., writes: Andrea, B1G alum here (PSU) but living in Big East Country and also have a local rooting interest in Rutgers and follow your blog daily as well as the B1G blog. My comment/question is that I do not understand your recent commentary on the Forbes article listing football programs that spent less money for more wins,concluded as "best program for the money". It seems that there are two factors that would cause this theory to be skewed, SOS being the most obvious, take a Boise State program that dominates their league every year but doesn't have a huge budget for football, nor does any other team in that conference. But the more curious factor is, shouldn't a programs worth be recognized as the money the program brings in for itself and the other schools in its conference (shared bowl game revenue), compared to how much is spent per year to keep the program going? UC may have won 9 games this year on a smaller budget, but how much did the program earn for the school? And their 9 wins got them to the Liberty Bowl which means each Big East school will net only $200,000 from their bowl appearance if split evenly? BTW, LSU and Alabama are also bringing in almost $20 million each for the SEC for playing in the BCS title game, that is what is called "Bang for the Buck"...
Adelson: You bring up an excellent point, Rob, which is why Forbes also did a ranking of the most valuable programs in the nation. That takes into account the money they bring into their universities, along with other factors as well. You see no Big East teams on the list, for obvious reasons. The TV money is not as great as the schools that are ranked, and the fan bases/booster contributions are not as large. I do think there is something to be said for winning games on a smaller budget. Certainly strength of schedule plays a role, but this ranking did not include the non-AQs. It included the six AQ conferences, which presumably have more money to spend. And teams from the Big 12 and Pac-12, along with the SEC do make an appearance.
Dr. Steven Smith in Palm Desert, Calif., writes: Andrea,I wanted to thank you for the GREAT reporting of the Big East and in particular your articles covering my team WVU! You always have a calm and informed approach and you approach fan questions and comments honestly and with not such common sense. Thanks for your most recent mention of Dana Holgorsen and his first-year accomplishments as head coach. We can all thank our AD, Oliver Luck, for bringing Dana aboard and having both the vision and courage to make a much needed change.When WVU moves to the Big 12 (When ever that may happen) I hope you find a way to then jump ship so that we all can continue to enjoy your reporting! GO WVU!
Adelson: Thanks for your kind words, Steven. I think the only misstep Luck made was not hiring Holgorsen flat out in December. Coach-in-waiting is a terrible idea that creates too many problems. I don't think we will ever see it again.
Charlie in Fort Knox, Ky., writes: Hey, Andrea. I have to respond to this portion of a mailblog response you sent to a reader: "Is Charlie Strong a Louisville lifer? Plenty of unknowns for the Cardinals moving forward." Coach Strong has repeatedly addressed this issue, going as far as saying that the University of Louisville would not become a stepping stone for college coaches. I understand folks in the media have a job to do, but can you guys please stop with the idea that he is leaving?
Adelson: I do believe Strong has a huge sense of loyalty to Louisville, and I believe him when he says he intends to stay. But can you say with any certainty that you will be at your current job until you retire? What if circumstances change? It is simply too hard to peek into the future to tell whether anybody is a lifer. My comments were not intended to be a slap at Strong and his affirmation that he intends to stay, but merely to illustrate that coaching is a vagabond profession where uncertainty rules.