Thursday, April 19, 2007

Cheese also comes from dopey coaches

Beware, gentle readers: All is not well in Wisconsin, land of cheese and driving the speed limit in the passing lane.

It seems now-second-year UW football coach Bret Bielema is a little cranky. Four months after the games were played and two days before his program's spring game, Bielema is still pissed off his team didn't get a BCS bid.

And who does he blame for that? Notre Dame, of course.

Bielema is still smoldering because his 12-1 team was left out of the Bowl Championship Series last year even after outperforming the Fighting Irish, a team Bielema says is virtually guaranteed a BCS berth every year....

Bielema knows the rule exists so the BCS has an open spot for each of the major-conference champions. But he wonders why BCS rules treat Notre Dame, an independent, nearly the same as a conference champion.

"I understand why certain teams get exemptions; I don't understand why Notre Dame does," Bielema said. "If they want to play by conference rules, join a conference. They don't take, maybe, into consideration past bowl history. Notre Dame hasn't won in the last nine bowl appearances, or whatever it is. And to me, we've proven over time that we deserve the opportunity."

I expect this level of dumb from Integer fans, but when it start to bleed into the coaching staffs, we've got trouble in River City. There's so much wrong in there, I hardly know where to start. So we may as well begin the beguine at the beginning.

"...the Fighting Irish, a team Bielema says is virtually guaranteed a BCS berth every year."

There aren't any quotes around that sentiment, so I'm left having to pray Bielema didn't actually say something that dumb. No, Bret, Notre Dame is not "virtually guaranteed a BCS berth every year". They have to do the same things you do -- win a minimum of nine games (although that's not always guaranteed to get them in) and finish ranked in the top 12 of the BCS poll. If they were "virtually guaranteed a BCS berth every year", I imagine they'd have more than three appearances in the ten seasons the BCS has been in effect.

In fact, it's more difficult for them to get into the BCS than it is for you because they have to depend on sentiment and how the other teams do. All you have to do is win your (sometimes crappy) conference. Ask some of those nine-win Integer squads that made it to the BCS in recent years how tough that was. Or query some of the Pac10 teams before SC got their checkbook out. Go check out the roster for the 2002 season BCS games and get back to us how "guaranteed" ND's position is.

"Bielema knows the rule exists so the BCS has an open spot for each of the major-conference champions."

If so, he doesn't "know" much. The rule doesn't exist to protect major-conference champions. All of them already have a bid, so the number of overall teams doesn't matter.

The rule exists because of the payout schedule for BCS appearances. Neither the Integer nor any of the other conferences wanted both second-school payouts to go to the same league, so they set that maximum to ensure the widest spreading of wealth possible. Typical of the Communistic practices conferences usually engage in, which is why I'm glad ND isn't in one for football.

Bret obviously still has post-seasonal traumatic disorder and is looking for someone to blame. Instead of the Notre Dame strawman, Bret should target his anger at some other targets, like....

His conference. The Integer power brokers agreed to the two-team rule to protect their bank balance. They also set up the unbalanced schedule that didn't give the Badgers a shot at Ohio State. Complain to your conference commissioner, provided he's not too busy sending bizarre press releases about recruiting classes and investigating phantom boogeymen who are talking down one of his crappiest programs.

The BCS voters. You know, the guys that voted Michigan ahead of you even after they got pounded by the Buckeyes. Your league pumped up the "Battle of the Century" crap so high, the Wolverines didn't fall like they should have after that loss and your Badgers paid the price.

Himself. Personal accountability, there's a novel concept. Hey Bret, how about you take responsibility for your team not being able to keep its foot on Michigan's throat after they came out completely flat against you in September. Or taking responsibility for playing a horse-manure schedule, particularly out of conference, that most likely cost you precious BCS points. Or how about just saying, "The buck stops here, if we missed the BCS, it's because we didn't get it done when it counted". That's what Charlie Weis would say, after all.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

While rules are rules, Wisconsin probably deserved a BCS Bowl just as much as ND. The current bowl system will always favor the "Classic" or "Popular" Teams (Bowl games are chosen as much for TV Ratings as they are for field performance) and until there is a full fledged playoff the Championship Game in College Football will remain, in most cases, Mythical.

4/19/2007 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous Ryan Sioux Falls, SD said...

NEWSFLASH to coach Bielema: Money makes things happen is sports, and in life. Was he born yesterday? Yeah, I'm sure the UW Women's Field Hockey team 'deserved' a $15 million budget last year too, same as the Badgers Football Team. And their own stadium. But that ain't gonna happen. If you want to whine, go ahead and whine. But don't act like you have 'no idea' why ND will win out over an equally (or sometimes more) deserving team for a BCS game. That just makes you look plain stupid. And last time I checked, most people expect a coach to be a shameless cheerleader for his team; they don't really appreciate him being stupid!

4/19/2007 08:46:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

maybe the pollsters were unimpressed by Wisconsin's big wins over Bowling Green and Western Illinois in their first two games of 2006?

4/19/2007 09:11:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

this article is in today's Wisconsin State Journal. To reach the sports department, use this email address:

I think we need to respond to this article.

4/19/2007 09:53:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wisconsin not only played a weak non-conference schedule this past season, they didn't play anyone in the Big 10 either, minus Michigan, who they lost to.

As an ND fan, I've always respected the University of Wisconsin. Let's hope their new coach isn't leading them down a John L. Smith-like path.

4/19/2007 10:48:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I responded to the article. I mean come'on Bowling Green, Western Ill., San Diego St., Buffalo?!! It's just so easy to blame Notre Dame for everything isn't it? Is he this years Oregon?!

4/19/2007 12:31:00 PM  
Blogger Gerry said...

It's simpler than their schedule. The BCS doesn't want three schools from the same conference in a given year. If Notre Dame hadn't been given a BCS spot, it's not like that vacancy was going to be handed to Wisconsin. It would have gone to someone else.

4/19/2007 12:47:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Bret,
Stop your whining. You had your chance vs. Michigan and you lost. The rules say only 2 BCS teams per conference. Play by the rules. Your team played very well last year and your whining is putting a damper on their great season. Get over it and win the "big ones" on your schedule.

4/19/2007 01:16:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I could not have said it better myself. Win the games you have to win and things take care of themselves. Also Bret, all of the conferences agreed to negotiate with Notre Dame in the BCS. It's your own fault.

4/19/2007 01:44:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wisconsin has no gripe at all. Only two teams per conference admitted. Ohio State was undefeated and the Badgers lost to Michigan by 14. Besides, Wisconsin's schedule was nothing. They didn't deserve anything.

4/19/2007 02:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last time I checked ND doesn't vote in the BCS rankings (other than Weis' coache's vote which I'm sure Bielema cancelled out with his vote). Anyway, looks like we stole another QB from SC's back yard (Dayne Crist). Announcement to be made later tonight.

4/19/2007 03:52:00 PM  
Anonymous Jamie from Milwaukee said...

I'm from Milwaukee, am an ND fan but still had congrats for UW & Bielema for the '06 season.
Only got part of the interview w/ "Homer", local radio guy.
But when I heard Bielma say "BCS taking a school based on reputation, not recent success", "an independent with a TV contract" - I was shocked. Don't need to repeat the great comments already submitted to the Geetar. If I was an avid UW fan, I'd be a little worried. Why make these comments now?
He "felt bad for his seniors and all their work effort & effort not rewarded". Again, coach, review the BCS rules.
To UW fans: hope the Peter Principle won't apply here. Because if this is the best response you get from your head coach after a great season, Bielema excuses will flow like melted Wisconsin butter in the future.

4/19/2007 05:50:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

All you Notre Dame fans need to wake up. Just because you wear a gold helmet doesn't mean you are any more special than other teams. Virtually every post talks about Wisconsin's non-conference schedule. Please...tell me what is strong about this non-conference schedule...

Stanford (1 win)
North Carolina (3 wins)
And the almighty military academy football teams.

I'm not saying Wisconsin's non-conference schedule was any stronger, but you certainly can't use that argument to state that Notre Dame should be in ahead of Wisconsin.

In addition, let's compare the Michigan games. Wisconsin was tied with Michigan at halftime (on the road), and couldn't hang with the Wolverines in the second half. And Notre Dame? Oh that's right....the Irish were down by 20 at the half, ON THEIR HOME TURF.

This is the same Notre Dame team that lost their final two games of the year by a combined score of 85-38. Wisconsin went in as an underdog against Arkansas, in an SEC environment, and won.

Sure, Notre Dame has a greater tradition. But we all know college football is a "what have you done for me lately" sport, and, well, sorry Domers, but Bucky has been more successful than you lately.

4/19/2007 09:55:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"maybe the pollsters were unimpressed by Wisconsin's big wins over Bowling Green and Western Illinois in their first two games of 2006?"

Yeah...sorry Wisconsin didn't win the Commander in Chief Trophy. Are you seriously saying Wisconsin's schedule was weak? Give me a break...

4/20/2007 09:04:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

We're not saying WI's schedule was weak, Sagarin is -- 82nd in the nation (as opposed to ND being 18th).

4/20/2007 09:12:00 AM  
Blogger Mr.Man said...

First off, no one can retrospectively examine the season and conclude that ND deserved to go to the Sugar Bowl. They got killed by Michigan at home, and killed by USC on national television. They had five of their nine victories over unquestionably bad teams--UNC (3 wins), Army (3 wins), Stanford (1 win!), Air Force (4 wins), MSU (4 wins). And you guys almost lost to Sparty. ND also looked very vulnerable against some relatively average teams, like Georgia Tech and UCLA. In all, last season was pretty unimpressive, even before you were crushed by LSU.

Admittedly, Wisconsin also played several weak teams, like Directional Illinois, Whale's Vagina State and Buffalo.

But if you compare their performances against the same teams, I believe Wisconsin comes out on top. You beat PSU by more. Their loss to Michigan was far closer. They beat Purdue by a wider margin, at Purdue. And Wisconsin beat Arkansas, who lost to LSU by less than a score. So in terms of who was deserving, I think there's little objective question that ND was not as deserving as Wisconsin.

So hats off to you guys. Your fandom and the team's popularity enables ND to keep getting deals their performance on the field doesn't merit, and results in lots of nationally televised beatdowns. You guys have a sweetheart deal with the BCS, one that's the obvious envy of every other major football program. Complaints should be expected. If you want to give a credible response, it should be-- "Don't like it? Get the BCS to change the rules."

4/20/2007 09:30:00 AM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

Hmmm, I thought that's what the ND-related responses here were all saying -- them's the rules, you don't like it, get them changed. But based on your last paragraph, you're too blinded by petty jealousy to see that.

Whine all you want about who ND "almost lost too" and "looked vulnerable against". We could certainly talk about how "vulnerable" UW looked against powerhouses like SDSU (at home) or Illinois (again, at home) or Iowa (gadzooks, an actual road game). WI played one tough road game all year and got pounded during it. I won't bother with how the transitive property doesn't work in football, given that individual game situations are too different.

The bottom line is WI's schedule was ranked #82 in the nation while ND's was ranked #18 by objective measures. While their defense didn't play well in those two big games, at least they played them. WI didn't have the balls to travel to Atlanta to open their season.

Call us when your schedule is Top 50, then we'll entertain the thought that you're worthy of the BCS. Enjoy that Directional State game next year -- we'll be busy traveling to State College and Ann Arbor in our first three games.

4/20/2007 09:41:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

1. Schedules are made years in advance. Wisconsin has some games scheduled through 2012.
2. Most coaches in that situation would probably complain/whine and unfortunately Notre Dame is usually the centerpiece of the whine because they do get a little bit of special treatment.
3. To get the BCS through I think all conferences (including Notre Dame) had to vote on limiting it to two teams. The BCS was created to make more money so limiting it to two teams from a conference makes "cents". It also makes "cents" to give Notre Dame a bit of special treatment since they are a big draw.
4. Each year there are going to be a number of teams that are screwed by the system, Unfortunately the Badgers were last year. Every complaint given regarding the BCS system will only help to improve it. If no one complains everyone will think the BCS system is working fine.

4/20/2007 11:18:00 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Using Mr. Man's logic, Michigan didn't deserve their at-large BCS bid, either. After all, they got crushed by USC in the Rose Bowl.

On a separate, but also Big Can't Count-related note, was I the only one annoyed by the premise of this article?,1,5343769.story?ctrack=2&cset=true

If I'm reading that right, it appears that non-Big Ten fans in Chicago with cable may end up paying an extra two or three bucks per month (I'm assuming that would be the end-user price of a $1.10 per subscriber ask from the Big Ten Network) for the "privilege" of subsidizing Big Ten fans' viewing habits... while losing a channel off their expanded basic lineup to boot.

I've already expressed my sentiments to Comcast that doing anything other than placing the Big Ten Network on the premium sports package tier is completely unfair to their customers. If Big Ten fans want their new cable channel that badly, let THEM pay for it, and don't force the rest of us to lose any channels to make way for it.

4/20/2007 02:15:00 PM  
Blogger Mr.Man said...

Retrospectively, it looks like Michigan didn't deserve the BCS bid, I agree. (Why couldn't you guys exploit their pass defense like OSU and USC?)
And looking back on the bowl performances as well as the regular season, it looks like Wisconsin deserved the BCS bid because they had a stronger overall season and appear to have been the better team. That's why they finished substantially higher in the rankings. (UW 5th and 7th; ND 19th and 17th)

Pissy comments about other teams' patsies are lame. ND hides their patsies by playing the service academies and poor schools from big conferences. UW seems pretty open with their patsies. Everyone's got them. (Consider Florida--Central Florida, Southern Miss, and Western Carolina.)

Finally, in response to the comment about the Iowa game--Wisconsin beat Iowa at Iowa with their back-up quarterback. Would ND have beaten Purdue or Penn State with Jones behind center? Would ND have beaten anyone except the five patsies without Quinn? I doubt it. That was an impressive win.

4/20/2007 02:55:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

"Open with their patsies" ... what does that mean? Teams either suck or they don't. ND "hides their patsies"? At least they're playing teams from BCS conferences, meaning they at least have the potential to give ND a good game. Deride Navy all you want, but at least they played in a bowl game. Stanford and UNC at least had BCS-level seasons not too long ago. What have Buffalo and Bowling Green been up to lately?

"Pissy comments about other teams' patsies are lame." Remind me who brought the subject up.

Clever of you to use the post-bowl polls to determine which team was better. We were talking about the teams when the bids were given out. In any event, it's much easier to finish top 10 when you're playing glorified high school teams for the majority of the year and play a schedule that isn't even in the top half of Division IA.

4/20/2007 04:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Chad Alvarez, Parrot Lover said...

Great stuff Mike, I'm interested in seeing how long this 'mo will keep arguing with you before he realizes he can't win. His next claim will probably be that the Sagarin schedule rankings "are a fraud"...

4/20/2007 06:30:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

How can you blame Wisconsin for a weak non-conference schedule? Notre Dame doesnt have the balls to even be in a conference.
Cant really blame Wisconsin for their Big Ten schedule. Anyone knows that the Big Ten has eleven teams. This leads to not all the teams meeting every year. It all goes on a cycle. This year just happened to be OSU and MSU. Wisconsin also won every game they should have in the schedule they were given. There was not a week after which their fans would say,"oh, well we should have won that game."
Moreover, a head-to-head matchup would most certainly have gone to Wisconsin. Wisconsin's pass defense would have shut down Quinn. And their linebackers would have battered him. Hands down in my opinion.
Lastly, one cannot in their sane mind say that Notre Dame doesnt get preferential treatment.

4/21/2007 08:26:00 PM  
Blogger Cory said...

People, buy yourselves a clue here. He would like to see an even playing field, and he'd like to have every team in his position have an opportunity to play over less-deserving teams, and yes Notre Dame was less-deserving. You're talking about a team that, had they played in a conference, would've been no better than 4th in the Big 10, about 7th in the SEC,

Bash Wisconsin's schedule all you want. They had a team or two back out of them in their non-conference schedule (Oregon State is one of them) and they have no control over their Big 10 Schedule. Notre Dame, meanwhile, hasn't beaten a team worth anything in........damn, I can't recall how long. Playing and losing to USC by 50 every year is hardly flattering. Sure, ND beat Michigan in '05. That was a weak Michigan team who lost in the Alamo Bowl, which is 4th in the Big 10 Bowl pecking order (5th if there are 2 Big10 teams in BCS).

So what does it say about a team (Notre Dame) whose best performance in the Charlie Weis era (And let's just include Davie and Willingham as well) was a LOSS to USC in '05???

4/25/2007 08:00:00 AM  
Anonymous CB said...

FINAL USA Today Poll
5. Wisconsin 12-1
19. Notre Dame 10-3

7. Wisconsin 12-1
17. Notre Dame 10-3

5/07/2007 09:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mike Coffey said...

cory / cb:

Nothing you said was at all relevant to the points I made -- your conference is the one holding you back (and chose to do so again about a month ago), and we're talking about positions when the bowl teams were chosen, not the final post-bowl records.

I don't care who allegedly "backed out" of games, Wisky's non-conference schedule was a joke and you didn't play your conference champion. Want to get into the BCS? Win your conference, it's that simple. WI has a much easier road than ND in that regard (hey to all the 3-loss conference champions that have played in the BCS recently).

Michigan was ranked #3 when ND beat them. I imagine had ND lost, it wouldn't be called a weak game. I guess only the games ND loses are the "big ones".

5/07/2007 09:35:00 PM  

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