The title portends a gateway to a vagary of takes on a multitude of topics. Really, I just like college football and energy economics.
You should too.
Friday, January 6, 2012
The Ratings Say Otherwise
I've been pissy over K-State being passed over for a BCS bowl for awhile now, and I'm about to be vindicated. On New Year's I had the fortune to debate the Sugar Bowl selections ad naseum with the University of Detroit Associate Athletics Director (and, more importantly, a U of M alum). While the idea that K-State fans wouldn't come down to New Orleans has been thoroughly debunked, I had no comeback for the television argument (V. Tech and/or Michigan has more national appeal than a better, higher ranked Wildcat team). The discussion then went to non-BCS conference teams, and how the lack of national interest will always preclude them from consideration of BCS participation as well. Yet let's compare this year's games with last year's:
2012 Orange Bowl (West Virginia over Clemson, 70-33): 5.3 rating In 2011, the Orange Bowl (Stanford over Virginia Tech 40-12) drew a 7.1
-This game was awful. I'm sure it would've had a better rating if Clemson showed up for more than a quarter of play.
2012 Sugar Bowl (Michigan over Virginia Tech, 23-20 in OT): 7.0 rating. In 2011, the Sugar Bowl (Ohio State over Arkansas 31-26) drew a 9.5.
- Last year's teams had better resumes and featured Big 10(+2) v. SEC rather thanBig 10(+2) v. ACC . Notice: Stanford's blow out of V. Tech last year in the Orange Bowl garnered better ratings than Michigan's OT squeaker over the Hokies this year. A BCS bowl game that goes into OT only getting a 7.0 rating? America obviously didn't care about this game.
2012 Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma State over Stanford, 41-38 in OT): 9.7 rating. In 2011, the Fiesta Bowl (Oklahoma over Connecticut 48-20) drew a 7.1 rating.
-The 2012 version was a great game. The 2011 version was an awful game. Once again, notice how an awful game last year generated more viewers than an OT game played this year (UM v. V-Tech). Pattern?
2012 Rose Bowl (Oregon over Wisconsin 45-38): 11.8 rating. In 2011, the Rose Bowl (TCU over Wisconsin 21-19) drew a 13.1 rating.
-The meat of the issue. I will defend to the death the fascination we have in David v. Goliath. TCU won't get a lot of people excited next year when they join the Big 12(-2 or 3). But as a member of the Mountain West, people tuned in to watch them play Wisconsin. A Wisconsin team that was more exciting in 2011 than 2010 with Russell Wilson at QB. A Wisconsin team that played a much more offensively dynamic team in Oregon this year. A Wisconsin team that once again only lost by a possession.
So there you have it. Americans prefer match-ups with good teams in good games. They also have a fetish for good teams that get consistently snubbed by the powers that be due to conference affiliation. You can argue all you want about national branding and alumni support, but that pudding's baked with proof: nobody cared about a very close Sugar Bowl game this year. K-State (and Boise) deserved to be in that game. Unlike V. Tech and Michigan, those two were actually ranked in the top ten.
-Please don't "better resume" me on this. V. Tech beat every ranked opponent they played in the regular season. That would be one team: Clemson. Who they later lost to 38-10 in the ACC Championship game. Clemson then went on to lose to West Virginia (the Big Least’s best team, for what it’s worth) 70-33. Quality win, what?
Michigan, on the other hand, beat half the ranked teams they played this year. That would also add up to one win against a ranked team: #20 Nebraska. Who finished the season with four losses and likely drops from the rankings following their loss in the Capital One Bowl.
K-State's resume doesn't need defending. They played four ranked teams. They beat two, lost to Okie State by one score, and had a bad loss to Oklahoma. Boise State also beat 1/2 ranked teams it played, putting the hurt on Georgia and dropping one to TCU. Oh, and they beat Tech last year.
In conclusion: two teams with crappy rankings were brought in to play in the Sugar Bowl due to their "intangible catchet." One team couldn't even get its fans to buy tickets for the game (which isn't a surprise, given Virginia Tech fans have failed to support their team the last three BCS games they attended. Probably because they hate watching their team lose, which is almost guaranteed, as the ACC has gone 2-13 in BCS games. Did I mention the Sugar Bowl Committee justified its selection by citing Tech's stellar success in past BCS appearances?).
As such I make this (bold?) prediction: tonight's Cotton Bowl (which sold out w/in a week of being announced, b-dubs) will have a better rating than the Sugar Bowl. If not, I'll eat crow, but I highly doubt this will be the case.