What your view of sports and life would be if you had too many concussions
Editor’s Note: This article is a result of a conversation about yet even more stupid shit ESPN and the rest of the slack-jawed sports media does.
While it is sports-based, ESPN has become a victim of the 24-hour news cycle just as much as CNN, Fox News, or which ever electronic sludge-pump you’d care to name. As such, this is the time of year in between gravy boats and Rose Bowl floats when much of ESPN’s broadcast day is filled with pointless drive over college and professional football “polls” and “power rankings.” While such “polls” and “power rankings” share many similarities, they have a few crucial differences. We’re here to break that down for you.
J-Dub on “Polls”
Just like the “Power Rankings” you’re going to learn about iin JFI’s segment, “Polls” are complete bullshit. There’s a “Coaches’ Poll” voted on by…you guessed it…college coaches. That sounds like a good idea until you realize most coaches are far too busy actually coaching to watch a bunch of other teams they probably will never play, Then there’s an Associated Press Top 25 Poll done by people who write about college football. That also seems like a good idea, until you realize most of these writers are “beat” guys who write about one team or conference, and don’t see much football outside of their area. That explains why those polls are usually carbon copies. To top it off, there’s a poll based on some monstrously-complex computer-calculated algorithms which varies wildly from the other two.
That’s why they are all bullshit. The problem is that in college football as it exists today, they are necessary.
Welcome to a dirty little reality which gets lost in all the bluster the ESPNs of the world generate over this nonsense. ESPN fills up three-hour shows with nothing but idle and pointless pseudo-debate on this stuff. The problem is that direct competition to settle all such debate as to which team is better is essentially impossible.
Think about it. There’s right around 130 teams in FBS football, which means there’s simply no way to allow for such direct competition as the college football world exists now. I devised a plan to do that a while back, but since it requires breaking up the “big” conferences as they exist now, the chances of it becoming reality anytime soon are somewhere a Hilary Clinton presidency and a Cleveland Browns Super Bowl championship.
In other words, as long as you don’t have a fully-objective play-off system…one in which everything is determined on the field…you’re going to be relying on polls. Doubt that? Look at the system in the FCS. They have a play-off. But in order to determine seeding for the tournament, they have a bunch of guys determine which team is better than which team.
Guess what? That’s called a poll, and a poll by any other name is still bullshit.
JFI on “Power Rankings”
Full disclosure: I’m not the biggest college football fan. I’m not the guy watching Wyoming play Utah State at midnight. That’s J-Dub’s territory. I’m mostly an NFL guy.
One of the reasons why I’d rather watch the NFL is college football seems to be all about blabbing on and on and on about poll rankings. When I hear on a daily basis how if team A beats team B, team C wins out, team D has 1 loss but team E is winning their conference, my head just wants to explode. I can’t think of anything more irritating that a bunch of dim-wits going on and on about this crap in October over who will be the four play-off teams in January. There just isn’t a better definition of “meaningless.” I might as well have Miss Cleo give me tips on the stock market.
J-Dub got me to understand why this crap exists in college football. I also get that the World Wide Bottom Feeder is making a nice little pile of cash filling 23 cable channels 43 hours a day with this noise. Just when I’m about to feel good about my being an NFL fan means never have to worry about nonsense like “polls,” I noticed something on the crawl on the NFL Network… Power Rankings.
What could possibly more useless than that? Like J-Dub said, the NFL has a completely objective play-off system. The teams who win their division go to the play-offs. The teams with the next best records get wild-card berths. There are ways to break ties. There’s no football-related need for “power rankings.”
So, why do they exist? Because the NFL Network saw how easily the World Wide Bottom Feeder created a bunch of day-filling content with one simple premise. Create some phony “rankings,” hook them to a Twitter feed so every Joe Lunchbox in America can throw in his two cents, and all of a sudden you’ve got enough crap to fill up all that NFL Network time on days there’s no games to talk about…which by the way…is most of them.
The worst part is that whether it’s the NFL Network or the World Wide Bottom Feeder, it’s all just an exercise in win-loss records. Well guess what? I have access to an internet connection. I can look up every team’s record. I don’t need gasbags like Trey Wingo, Mike Golic, or Charley Casserly to tell me the winless Browns stink. Here’s the bottom line: The NFL has about 4 teams that are good, 4 teams that are hot garbage, and every other team is capable of going either way on any given day. That’s why telling me how good a team is in week 10 of a 16-game schedule is like telling me how good a steak is when it hasn’t been on the grill yet.
It’s all just a cheap stunt to generate ratings, which by the way, both the NFL Network and ESPN need badly. Spare me the “Psychic Hotline” crap. Let’s just watch the games and see what happens. After all, there’s a reason why they still play them.
Agree? Disagree? Got a hot take of your own on this topic? Hit up the Comments section of send it straight to JFI at @jbhickleon Twitter or email firstname.lastname@example.org.