by Travis Normand
Last week, during his weekly press conference, Florida State [FSU] head coach Jimbo Fisher was apparently asked what he thought about the current BCS system. His response was that he thinks “it stinks.”
He followed up his comment with a short and simple rant on how the whole system is essentially broken and why it needs to be changed. Does he offer a solution? Of course not. Why would he? Its too easy to just sit there and say that you hate the BCS without proposing a solution. In fact, offering a solution would require a certain amount of thought.
Some will defend Fisher and his comments saying that “he was just answering a question from the press,” and that formulating a well thought out solution to the BCS in that moment is asking too much. I would counter this argument by pointing out that this is not the first time we have heard someone complain about the BCS system. In other words, if you are one of those people who is not happy with the BCS and your job entails fielding questions from the media on all things related to college football, why wouldn’t you develop a few talking points on the BCS? I am not asking Fisher to break-down the BCS and every possible solution, but I am asking him to have a “canned” response of what he would like to change and possible solutions.
As head coach of a one-loss team, attending a press conference in late November without a prepared response to possible BCS questions is a rookie mistake.
Here are some of Fisher’s quotes from the press conference:
I think it stinks. I think the BCS and how we go with all these computers and all this stuff, I think we are ruining it. ‘Cause, I’m going to tell you what, the playoff and what we have right now, that’s not going to solve it either. Whats a playoff going to solve? I mean, . . . . they have to change how we pick the top teams in this country. You got to change it, its not working.
Is anyone shocked that Fisher would say these things? FSU is currently ranked number 10 in the BCS standings which means not only will they not make the BCS Championship Game this season, but would potentially be left out of the proposed four-team playoff that is scheduled to start in 2014. I’m sure that if FSU was undefeated, Fisher wouldn’t feel so strongly about how we selected the top teams.
I mean, when you really get down to it, the way its going now, it makes no sense to me.
Just because the system doesn’t make sense to Fisher doesn’t automatically mean its broken. It would be nice if he gave some specific examples of how or why it doesn’t make sense to him. At least then we could try to explain it to him.
Saying we got a playoff with four teams, whats that solving? How we are picking them [the top teams] has got to change.
Again, in this particular case, I don’t believe Fisher would be happy with any system that doesn’t select Florida State. He asks what is solved with a four-team playoff. While selecting four teams (instead of two) may not solve everyone’s problems, it certainly solves some. Of course the problem here is that it doesn’t solve Fisher’s problem.
[Q] . . . more of a human element in it?
[Answer: Fisher] Much more, much more. When a computer can tell … I mean, what does a computer put in? I mean, its too much about who you play and not how you play, and teams are subject to their conferences, what are you going to do? . . . We need a computer to tell us who is the best team, we got an issue. We got major problems.
Where do I start with these comments? Fisher doesn’t like the computers because its too much about “who” you play and not “how” you play. Well, to be perfectly honest, I am not really sure what that actually means. However, I will take a stab at applying his logic and try to figure out just exactly what Fisher is trying to say.
Is he saying that if you play really well (the “how” you play), but lose a few games, you should still be considered a top team by the BCS?
Or maybe he meant that you have play well (the “how” you play) but you also have to win your games (the “how”). Surely this is more in line with what he meant. Right? I don’t know, after all, FSU lost to North Carolina State (6-5 and 3-4 in ACC) this season, a team that isn’t ranked in the BCS top 25. So he can’t possibly have meant to say that you must win all your games.
So, maybe he meant to say that you must win most of your games (allowing for teams to lose one game a season and still get selected). This would have to be what he meant, considering FSU’s loss to NC State. Of course, it also means, that he wants a system that makes exceptions for teams (FSU) that can’t beat 6-5 teams (NC State). I’m not sure I am in favor of the same system. Even if I wanted a system that made exceptions, it wouldn’t be for teams with one loss to sub-par competition.
What about the “who” you play comment? Fisher thinks its too much about “who” you actually play. Is he making the argument that a team should be able to play anyone it wants and that if they go undefeated they should be considered a top team? That sounds great, in theory, but I am not sure anyone would actually agree.
If this was Fisher’s argument, I am guessing that he would have been in favor of Louisville being ranked much higher in the BCS (before their loss to Syracuse). In fact, despite Louisville’s one loss to Syracuse, which Fisher apparently wants to make an exception for, Fisher is apparently still in favor of Louisville being in consideration for a top spot in the BCS (as opposed to their current rank of 20).
I wonder what he would say if asked about who should be ranked higher, FSU or Louisville?
Remember, Fisher says the “who” component is too heavily weighted due to the fact that teams are constrained by their conference affiliation in who they have to play. Further, FSU played NC State because they are both in the ACC and Louisville played Syracuse because both teams are in the Big East.
Is Fisher making the argument that a team like FSU or Louisville shouldn’t be punished by being forced to play better football teams (NC State and Syracuse) who happen to be in the same conference? Is he saying its not fair to force these match-ups? Why? Maybe he thinks its unfair for a team like FSU, who dominates a weak conference like the ACC and therefore appears to be a really good football team, to then be forced to play the “big boys” of NC State and get exposed as an inferior team?
Or maybe Fisher is still upset that West Virginia backed out of their game with FSU prior to the season (due to conference realignment)? I can understand how frustrating it must be to try and schedule tougher competition in order to help your resume only to have the other team back out at the last minute, leaving you holding the bag (and having to fill the open date with an FCS team). As Fisher says, in a system that focuses too much on the “who” you play, its not fair that FSU now has to go out and schedule an FCS team instead of West Virginia. I couldn’t agree more.
I wonder if Fisher is aware of the fact that West Virginia is 2-5 in conference play this year and 5-5 overall. They are currently in eighth place in the Big 12 (10 teams) and are un-ranked in the BCS. I’m not sure playing WVU would have done anything in terms of helping FSU in a BCS system that focuses on “who” you play. If anything, getting them off the schedule may have helped them.
Finally, FSU’s last game of the season is against the Florida Gators. The Gators are currently ranked number four in the BCS and a game like this will do big things for FSU, if they can win it. If nothing else, winning this game would really help FSU in the overall standings, as according to Fisher, the system focuses on “who” you play, right?
On the other hand, having seen Florida this season, I can tell you that I’m pretty sure I understand what Fisher meant by his comments above. By getting a new system that doesn’t focus on the “who” you play, FSU can drop this annual game with the University of Florida and schedule more ACC teams. Once that is done, we can all focus on FSU and “how” they play the game (as long as they don’t have to play NC State).
Without quoting the rest of the video, notice that Fisher goes on to talk about how he heard some ESPN commentators talking about how they would rather see a one-loss FSU play in the championship game over an undefeated team. This was all the justification Fisher needed in demonstrating how the human component to the BCS needs to be increased. In other words, he should have just said, “the humans favor FSU, so that element needs to be increased.”
Some other “gems” in this melt-down of a press conference are:
- Fisher goes on to talk about the differences between the Coaches Poll and the AP Poll. In doing so, he tells the media that the Coaches poll is probably better at selecting the best football team (versus the AP). He draws an analogy to having writers pick the best football team would be like having football coaches pick the best writers. What? Yes, Fisher wants you to believe that because you are not a coach, you can’t possibly know as well as he does, which teams are better than others. He also wants you to believe that because he is a football coach, he is not as good as another writer would be at picking the best writing. While I would probably agree with the second part of this analogy, the analogy overall falls flat. How do I know? Because not all coaches are equal. There are some coaches that probably know less about football than some of the writers that have been covering it for over 50 years. Further, if you can’t tell that my writing here at OPS is not nearly as good as something that Andy Staples (Sports Illustrated) has written, then you are probably not qualified to be a football coach or a writer.
- Fisher gives his top six in this week’s coaches poll: (1) K-State (10-0), (2) Oregon (10-0), (3) Notre Dame (10-0), (4) Florida State (9-1), (5) Alabama (9-1), and (6) Georgia (9-1). The record next to each team is their record at the time of this press conference. While the top three teams (K-State, Oregon, and Notre Dame) make sense due to the fact that they are undefeated, the rest of it is humorous. Fisher has FSU as number four, the highest ranked one-loss team in the country. OF COURSE HE DOES! This is what he wants, a system that gives more weight to the coaches poll (he said more of a human element and then argued that the coaches poll is better than the AP). I was going to mention that the number one criticism against the coaches’ poll was that it presents a huge conflict of interest. However, seeing that Fisher has exposed himself as the definition of “conflict of interest,” I will just let him do all the talking. Did he really think that his 9-1 FSU squad looked better to anyone on the planet than a 9-1 Alabama or Georgia? FSU has played two FCS opponents and only one ranked team in the top 25 (Clemson was number 10 at the time of the game). Further, FSU’s loss was to an un-ranked NC State! On the other hand, Alabama has played one FCS team and four teams ranked in the top 15! Further, Alabama’s loss was to a 7-2 Texas A&M (15th at the time of the game) team. And where are the Florida Gators in his top 6? Is he saying that despite the fact that the BCS has his FSU squad playing the number four Gators this weekend, that he thinks they are overrated? Well, I guess we will see. After all, the one thing Fisher failed to realize before shooting his mouth off at a press conference was that all of this is irrelevant if he doesn’t beat Florida this weekend.
- As for Fisher’s use of the word “retarded,” he later apologized.