[This VD's Take seemed to get buried by all the baseball talk of the past weekend, so we're bringing it back to the top of the page so you can vote and comment if you didn't get a chance to last week. Keep your eye out for more of VD's Takes during the offseason! --jake]
In case you haven't seen, Ted Miller wrote a blog [today last week] about how the Pac-10 coaches voted 6-4 in favor of an 8 game conference schedule, rather than a round robin. This doesn't mean that we will see an 8 game conference schedule this year, however. Ted Miller writes:
In an informal poll conducted by the Pac-10 blog, conference coaches voted 6-4 in favor of ending round-robin conference scheduling and reverting back to an eight-game slate, which was how things were before a 12th game was added in 2006.
That's about how a straw poll went in May during the Pac-10 meetings in Phoenix, and feelings were strong enough against the nine-game conference schedule that the athletic directors will review the issue during their June meetings in San Francisco.
There are valid points on both sides of the argument. I think the general feeling of the fans is that the round robin is the way to go: it is more exciting, and it is nice to play every team, every year. And nobody wants to have to play USC and not play Washington, when they are battling for a conference championship. It just isn't fair. But the coaches bring up a very vaild point. Ted Miller talks about how they voted:
The vote mostly split like the current conference standings, with the top-half teams favoring nine games and the bottom half teams wanting to go back to eight.
There's a good reason for that. Nine conference games insures five conference teams will lose an extra game every season, which could be the difference between earning bowl eligibility or not.
He then discusses how Stanford and Arizona State were both 5-7. Had they eliminated one conference game and added a non-conference patsy win, they could have been 6-6, and the Pac-10 would have played in seven different bowl games.
My take after the jump...
My take? I can absolutely appreciate the FACT (and I say it like that, because it is a fact) that if the Pac-10 played one less conference game, then it would likely mean one more win for most of the teams. They could schedule a patsy and end up being 4-0, or at the very least 3-1. Could you imagine how many Pac-10 teams could end up in the top 25 with those kinds of records? I can tell you. Just look at how many SEC teams end up in the top 25 before November starts. Hell, even LSU and Auburn were in the top 10 last year at one point, and both finished with less-than-stellar records (and wayyyyy out of the top 25). The one other argument is that some teams only get 4 conference home games, and have to hit the road 5 times, while others stay home 5, and only hit the road 4. I say, good teams can win on the road. Not always, but usually. If you can't win on the road, then you probably don't deserve a bowl game anyways. So, in the sense that it could potentially add an extra win, I like the idea of playing an eight game schedule. HOWEVER....
I absolutely HATE the idea of playing an eight game conference schedule, and I'm sure after you guys see my reasoning, you will agree. First and foremost, while the argument is made that the Pac-10 could add a patsy, I think that the Pac-10 would take this opportunity to add another BCS school, just like we have recently. And to be quite honest, if we DID play an eight game conference schedule, I don't think the Pac-10 fans want to see a game against Portland State when they could see one against, at the very least, an up and coming team from a mid-major conference, say Nevada or New Mexico or Colorado State. The SEC and Big 12 use these patsy games for revenue. But the simple fact is, there isn't the same level of passion out here then there is there. I'm not saying the fans aren't as good, or as interested, but we aren't going to come out in the hundreds of thousands to see a 56-0 whipping of an FCS team. You think USC is going to sell out the Coliseum to see them play UC Davis? No way. Oh fantastic, Arizona State is playing Northern Arizona is 95 degree weather! Count me out. The way the Pac-10 generates interest in the non-conference games is by scheduling teams the fans want to see.
But most importantly, the reason I love college football (and Oregon State) is because it's fun. And I have fun being able to play every team every year. I have fun knowing that we played ASU at home this year, thus anticipating a road trip to Tempe next year. I enjoy seeing the same teams, and same players. I missed seeing Reggie Bush play against Oregon State my freshman year of college. Oregon fans, how badly did you want revenge on Cal after the fumble of '06. Now imagine if you had to wait two years to play them. And imagine having to play in Pullman two years in a row, in November. Cal and UCLA fans, what happens when you don't get to play each other. Cal and USC, what happens when YOU don't get to play each other. What if UW and UO didn't happen every year? Madness! I want a crack at what every Pac-10 team has to offer, and an eight game schedule doesn't allow that. Take a look at the 2000 season. Oregon, Washington, and Oregon State all finished 7-1, each having only lost to each other (OSU to UW, UW to UO, and UO to OSU). This led to a 3-way conference championship tie, with UW getting the rep to the Rose Bowl, OSU nearly getting left out of the Fiesta Bowl, and, get this, a Pac-10 champion in the... Holiday Bowl? I don't have each team's schedule, so I'm not sure who was left out for each team, but I'm assuming at least one of the team's would have lost to someone down the line.
Basically, all I'm saying is don't get rid of the round robin. Yes, it may do better for "national perception." And we finally might get two Pac-10 teams in the BCS again if we do eliminate one conference game. But as a fan, I say this is the worst thing possible for the league. Stick with the round robin! Leave your thoughts in the comments.