2009 High School Football

Every year, I try to make sure that the computer has updated schedules for the upcoming season’s computer rankings. This year, I noticed that there was a new batch of schools that didn’t seem to be on the radar but warranted investigation.

From what I can tell, more than a dozen Arizona Charter schools have banded together and formed a league of their own, similar to the AIA. In previous years, there were about 5 or 6 of these schools and they would compete as “associate” schools against AIA schools. But now, with this many schools available to play against in multiple sports, the charters have their own league, their own seasons, and their own championships.

And starting this year, their own computer rankings.

While I don’t have enough information on them to have the computer create preseason rankings, after a couple of years, I will have that info, and then we’ll see where we go from there. But at least this year, they’ll be recognized.

And maybe, just maybe, the AIA will learn a thing or two from them. After all, competition fosters a healthy environment, and the AIA has been a lone wolf for many a year.

The Rose Bowl taking on non-BCS teams

Apparently, there’s a new clause in the Rose Bowl contract (rumored to have been forcibly added by ESPN for the next four year cycle) that stipulates the Rose Bowl MUST take a non-BCS school that has qualified for a BCS game if either the Big Ten champ or the Pac-10 champ is playing in the National Championship game.

As soon as this information was leaked, multiple websites started popping up with opinions on how the Boise State Broncos were going to fill that slot every year, or how Utah was going to run the table in the Mountain West and face USC.

Ah, but there’s problems with that thinking:

  1. The contract clause stipulates that the Rose Bowl must take the non-BCS school the FIRST time the Rose Bowl loses one of their main participants to the Nat’l Championship Game. It specifically states the FIRST time – not EVERY time. This means that a non-BCS school has one shot in the next four years.
  2. The contract clause ALSO stipulates that the non-BCS school must QUALIFY for the BCS – ie. they have to rank in the top 12 of the final BCS standings. So, if an 11-1 Boise State, Utah, or TCU team ends the season at #13, and USC or Ohio State is in the Nat’l Championship Game, too bad, the Rose Bowl can select any of the top 12 teams it wants to instead.
  3. Finally, the contract clause states that the Rose Bowl only has to select ONE non-BCS school. This is important, because there is always the chance that the Pac-10 and Big Ten teams could meet in the National Championship Game, and the Rose Bowl would have to select two teams to play. If the Bowl hasn’t already selected its one non-BCS school in any year prior of this current four year block, it will only have to select one non-BCS team. Again, that means that if Boise State and Utah both end in the top 12, the Rose Bowl gets to choose which of the two would play in it, AND it doesn’t necessarily mean the higher one of the two will play in it, only the one that will bring more fan base to Pasedena will get there (read: Utah).

There is something to be said here about this clause though – it’s an antitrust killer. No more can the non-BCS teams claim “less access” to the major bowls. But remember, the non-BCS teams already have access to the major bowls – they just have to qualify like the rest of the group by being in the top 12 at the end of the season. This clause just opens up one more major bowl to that non-BCS group, whereas before the non-BCS schools only had access to the Orange, the Sugar, and the Fiesta Bowls.

So all those Boise State, Utah, and TCU fans are getting their hopes up for a spot in the Grandaddy of the Them All, right?

Oh, but … wasn’t there something in the news recently about the Pac-10 possibly changing their scheduling? If it comes to fruition, wouldn’t that raise the rankings of all 10 Pac-10 teams headed into conference play? Why, yes, yes it would.

And if there’s only 12 spots at the top to qualify for BCS bowl games, if just two more Pac-10 teams ended up in the top 12, wouldn’t that push the non-BCS Boise States and Utahs out of the loop? Why, yes, yes it would, but ONLY if that non-BCS school had a loss. An undefeated non-BCS school is pretty much going to make it no matter what.

Let’s look at the past three years to see what would have happened:


  1. Ohio State
  2. Florida
  3. Michigan
  4. LSU
  5. USC
  6. Louisville
  7. Wisconsin
  8. Boise State
  9. Auburn
  10. Oklahoma
  11. Notre Dame
  12. Arkansas

The only non-BCS school was Boise State at 12-0. California was 18th at 8-3. A 9-2 record would have placed them somewhere between 10th and 14th, so Boise State would have been safe.


  1. Ohio State
  2. LSU
  3. Virginia Tech
  4. OKlahoma
  5. Georgia
  6. Missouri
  7. USC
  8. Kansas
  9. West Virginia
  10. Hawai’i
  11. Arizona State
  12. Florida

The only non-BCS school was Hawai’i at 12-0. Arizona State was #11 at 10-2. An 11-1 record would have easily moved them up to an 8th – 10th spot, but with Hawai’i undefeated, the lowest that Hawai’i would have dropped was to 12, and that’s still a guaranteed berth.


  1. Oklahoma
  2. Florida
  3. Texas
  4. Alabama
  5. USC
  6. Utah
  7. Texas Tech
  8. Penn State
  9. Boise State
  10. Ohio State
  11. TCU
  12. Cincinnati

Three non-BCS schools here, two of which are undefeated (Utah at #6, Boise State at #9). TCU ended up at #11. Oregon, ranked #17, was 9-3. A 10-2 record would have bounced TCU from the ranks, because Cincinnati was going to end up in the top 12, no matter what since they were the Big East champion at 11-2.

Now, that examination was just an eyeball test. A truer test would be to take the Pac-10 schedules for those years, remove the first Pac-10 game scheduled for each team and replace it with a team from the Sun Belt or Mid-American conference or a Div I-AA team. That means that 5 teams would have one less loss and would definitely increase their ranking going into conference play. The real test is when this actually takes place in the coming years. We will see the effect that scheduling has on the BCS rankings.

And that, ultimately, will affect the participation in the Rose Bowl.

BCS uprising

Every year there’s some shmoe that feels slighted because their team was left out of the BCS (and/or championship game).

Last year, the Utah Utes actually deserved to be in it against Florida – Oklahoma had no business being there whatsoever. (Frag off, Sooner fans… tell me again what Oklahoma’s bowl record in BCS-era bowls is? Zero-for-what?)

Anyway, Congress, being a bunch of foolhardy people with apparently nothing better to do, decided to hold a hearing on the whole mess – wasting taxpayers’ money, natch – and threaten “legislation” if the scenario isn’t fixed to their liking. Really, the only thing they can do is try to pass a law saying the BCS Champion cannot be named the “National” champion.

Really, the whole reason the other schools feel slighted is because of the money involved – an $18 million payoff for teams that end up in a BCS bowl. You bet that the other 5 conferences and those 4 Independent schools want a piece of that!!!

So, if the BCS people actually cared to listen, there’s an easy way to fix this without resorting to a playoff: Add two more bowl games to the “BCS”.

Right now, the BCS consists of four bowl games plus the Championship game – the Fiesta, the Rose, the Sugar, and the Orange Bowls. Each bowl has “tie-ins”, meaning that a specific conference championship is contractually obligated to play in a specific bowl unless that team qualifies for the BCS Championship game. The tie-ins are:

Fiesta: Big 12 champ
Rose: Big Ten and Pac-10 champs
Sugar: SEC champ
Orange: ACC champ

Note that the Big East does not have an official “tie-in”, but historically the Big East ends up in the Orange Bowl as well.

The conference champions of the aforementioned six ‘power’ or ‘BCS’ conferences automatically gain a berth in those bowl games. Ok, so that’s six teams for 8 slots, not counting the BCS Championship. But really, the BCS Championship game has always featured two teams from those six conferences, just sometimes not the conference champions (which ALSO is a stupid loophole that needs to be fixed).

The following proposal leaves the current BCS ranking system in place while allowing for other conference champions to “play” in the BCS (and thus getting a share of that $18 mil…):

New rule – no team can be a part of the National Championship game if they are not a conference champion. This means that after all scheduled and conference championship games have been played and the final end of season standings have a team that is not a conference champion ranked #1 or #2:

  1. If #1, the team will be re-ranked to #3, the #2 team will become #1, and the highest-ranked conference champion will be the new #2.
  2. If #2, the team will be re-ranked to #3, the #1 team will stay #1, and the highest-ranked conference champion will be the new #2.
  3. If both #1 and #2 teams are not conference champions, the teams will be re-ranked #3 and #4 and the two highest ranked conference champions will be re-ranked #1 and #2.

Bowl matchups:

  • National Championship game: #1-ranked team in BCS vs. #2-ranked team in BCS.
  • Fiesta: Big-12 champion vs. MAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, or Independent champion
  • Rose: Pac-10 champion vs. Big Ten champion
  • Sugar: SEC champion vs. MAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, or Independent champion
  • Orange: ACC champion vs. MAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, or Independent champion
  • Holiday: WAC champion vs. Mountain West champion
  • Gator: Big East champion vs. MAC, Conference USA, Sun Belt, or Independent champion

In theory, the Holiday bowl could be any of the champions available, but realistically, being in San Diego, it will be anchored by the WAC and/or the Mountain West teams since it’d be difficult for any other team other than a Big East team to bring a lot of supporters (almost literally) cross-country. This also allows the bowls to select a conference champion pairing based on potential matchup and ticket sales. Order of selection of remaining champions will be based on the ranking of the host champion. However, if a bowl loses a host team to the National Championship Game, then that bowl will select a replacement team from among the automatic-qualifying teams (BCS Top 16) before any other selections are made, the bowl losing the higher ranked team receiving the first pick. If the Rose Bowl should lose both its teams to the National Championship Game, it shall receive two replacement picks. The bowl that picks first for replacement picks shall pick last for conference champion selection to fill its bowl slot.

Note that the way the proposal is presented ensures a conference champion is present in any of the BCS Bowl games except in the rare case of the Rose Bowl losing both its obligated members to the National Championship game.

If we use the Final 2008 season results as a barometer: (note again, I don’t condone Oklahoma’s final ranking here… I’m just using the data from 2008)

  1. Oklahoma (Big 12 champ)
  2. Florida (SEC champ)
  3. Texas
  4. Alabama
  5. USC (Pac-10 champ)
  6. Utah (Mountain West champ)
  7. Texas Tech
  8. Penn State (Big Ten champ)
  9. Boise State (WAC champ)
  10. Ohio State
  11. TCU
  12. Cincinnati (Big East champ)
  13. Oklahoma State
  14. Georgia Tech
  15. Georgia
  16. BYU

The remaining auto-bid conference champs:
19 Virginia Tech (ACC champ)
22 Ball State (MAC champ)
— East Carolina (Conference USA champ) – #47 computer rankings
— Navy (Independent champ) – #53 computer rankings
— Troy (Sun Belt champ) – #73 computer rankings

Then the bowl matchups would have been:

  • Gator: Cincinnati (Big East champ) vs. Navy (Independent champ)
  • Holiday: Boise State (WAC champ) vs. Utah (Mountain West champ)
  • Fiesta: Texas (BCS #3) vs. East Carolina (C-USA champ)
  • Rose: USC (Pac-10 champ) vs. Penn State (Big Ten champion)
  • Sugar: Alabama (BCS #4) vs. Troy (Sun Belt champ)
  • Orange: Virginia Tech (ACC champion) vs. Ball State (MAC champ)
  • National Championship game: Oklahoma (Big 12 champ) vs. Florida (SEC champ)

No matter how you slice it, there’s going to be someone that complains. In this case, it’ll be the Sugar and Fiesta bowls for having to take East Carolina and Troy for their games. At least the Sugar gets a team that’s close to the Bowl location – East Carolina would have to travel cross-country to Glendale, AZ. And realistically, neither team really deserves to be included in the BCS – they’re just not that good. The Cincy/Navy matchup is a good one though, as is the VaTech and Ball State matchup.

A post for another time is relegating two conference champions to “odd man out” status based on their rankings – lowest two teams don’t get the auto-bid, allowing for “replacement” picks as well. If that were the case, Navy and Troy would be dropped, Cincy would be playing East Carolina (an ok matchup), and Sugar would probably pick Texas Tech, while Fiesta would probably have taken Ohio State.

I would also like to see the human polls weighed less than the computer polls. It is obvious in the past three seasons that the human polls have been manipulated to include certain teams and exclude others based on personal agendas. Right now, the human polls account for fully 2/3 of the final tally – the Harris Poll and USA Today are each 1/3 of the equation, while the 6 computers are “summarized” into the last 1/3.

I propose that the computer poll summary be 1/2 of the equation, that two more computers are added to the mix to ensure a “truer” average, that four of the eight polls be allowed to use Margin of Victory in their calculations – because the human polls certainly do – and that the two human polls account for 1/4 each. This would be a fairer way of ranking since then neither the computer polls nor the human polls could unduly influence the other’s rankings.

Follow Up to High School Football

This is a follow-up to the High School Football post I wrote on 8/31/08.

I said:

The columnists that cover high school sports are only interested in covering the Phoenix-metro big schools (4A/5A). They have one or two folks that attempt to cover everything else (1A – 3A) and they fail miserably. You can follow the threads on multiple forums about how bad their coverage is, how badly they mess up their team rankings due to being uninformed, and how apathetic they are when it comes to anything that resides outside Maricopa County.

This past Monday, the Repugnant’s rankings came out for 2A and lo, a Phoenix-area school was #1 (Phoenix Christian) to nobody’s surprise. This, despite the fact that PC has played two games against awful opponents: Westwind Prep, a perennial 2A bottom-feeder, and Williams Field, a team that is playing varsity football for the first time ever and has NO SENIORS on its team. The Repugnant picked this PC team over a dominating St. Johns team (2-0, both wins over powerhouses: week 1 over Thatcher, and week 2 over Round Valley, which is a powerhouse school in the next higher conference (3A)).

If anyone doubts how bad the Repugnant is for high school coverage at this point, they seriously need to take a step back and visit a different newspaper, like maybe the Yuma Sun.

High School Football and the Politics of Coverage

The Arizona Interscholastic Association (AIA) has announced a “partnership” with the Arizona Repugnant:

“Azcentral.com have unveiled a partnership that makes azcentral.com the state’s only site to feature every score and schedule for all AIA member schools in each sport, providing the most comprehensive, updated coverage.”

Yeah, no. This was announced this psat Thursday. In yesterday’s (Saturday’s) edition, there was absolutely NO coverage of high school football. So much for this vaunted partnership.

24-7Football.com still provides more information, more up-to-date scores, and more in-depth analysis than anything the misinformed hacks at the Repugnant could come up with.

The 24-7 site’s admins are on recruiters’ speed-dial. The coaches prefer to deal with the 24-7 folks over newspaper columnists any day of the week. The AIA has proven themselves to be three-years behind the times in everything technology-related. This “announcement” is just Much Ado About Nothing.

The columnists that cover high school sports are only interested in covering the Phoenix-metro big schools (4A/5A). They have one or two folks that attempt to cover everything else (1A – 3A) and they fail miserably. You can follow the threads on multiple forums about how bad their coverage is, how badly they mess up their team rankings due to being uninformed, and how apathetic they are when it comes to anything that resides outside Maricopa County.

Which brings me to Geoff Grammer of the Tucson Citizen.

Now, I love the Citizen. I used to work there. I fondly look back on that place as the place that gave me a chance to get into the work force and show what I could do. The people were top-notch. The writing made me almost want to be a journalist (if the pay was close to technology, I probably would’ve switched). The editors knew what they were doing.

And now they have Geoff Grammer who has the title of “Varsity Sports Editor”.

I had posted on his site, and, of course, my post had a link back to the DKC Rankings. He did actually link back to the rankings, so I emailed him a quick thank you. However, in that thank you, I raised a question to him: (sent on 9/18/07)

Looks like you linked the DKC ratings. Thanks for that.

I been meaning to ask – why is it that the Citizen, which always has the best HS coverage anyway in S. Arizona, always seems to omit the 1A / 2A / 3A schools?

It’s not like Tucson and the surrounding area doesn’t have small schools –

St. David
(Tucson) Tanque Verde
(Elfrida) Valley Union

(Oro Valley) Pusch Ridge Christian

(Tucson / Vail) Empire

The Citizen reports on Casa Grande and Buena (both in different counties), why not the rest of the schools in Cochise county and those actually in Pima county?

Prior to this email in 2007, under Grammer’s “reign”, the Citizen’s Varsity sports largely ignored the small schools in Southern Arizona, despite the profession that the Citizen was the voice of Southern Arizona. You can look back to this date (9/18/07) and see the coverage of small schools increased dramatically from that point onward. AND the coverage is way better than the Repugnant. Now, I can’t imagine how long Grammer had been there prior to my email, but it was very disappointing to see this lack of coverage, which is why I had to ask him what was going on.

Mr. Grammer never deigned to respond to that email.

However, he did post on his blog after Sunnyside shut out Salpointe 17-0 in week 4 of 2007 and instead of moving UP in the rankings, Sunnyside dropped from #2 to #3:

An interesting note… the DKC rankings aren’t subjective at all. They’re based on a formula of some sort, which has to be why Sunnyside, after a 17-0 shutout of a 5A-I Salpointe team, dropped in the rankings this past week.

So I responded with a pretty straightforward explanation of what actually happened, which was because Marcos de Niza thumped Yuma by 39 points and moved up to #2. Wasn’t anything that SS did wrong, it was because de Niza did it right. (Again, Mr. Grammer sent no response.)

Ever since then, Mr. Grammer has been very standoffish about what I do and where I fit in the grand scheme of things. The link from his site “mysteriously” disappeared as well. [EDIT: The link was on one specific blog, and it has since “rolled” off. I have found it and readded it here.]

Now however, Mr. Grammer has begun posting on the 24-7 site (as of today 8/30/08, Mr. Grammer has exactly _28_ posts to his name. Yes, _28_.) Yet, Mr. Grammer has only posted in the big school forum (4A/5A). I guess, once again, the small schools are beneath him. It’s actually sorta sad, because he’s posting there but his posts consist of “Here’s my So. Arizona Top 10 for the week, for anyone who cares.” (That’s verbatim, by the way.) And there are responses to the tune of “Southern Arizona?” (Again, verbatim.)

So, just like everyone else, I ignore the Arizona Repugnant “rankings”, since they have no clue, and Mr. Grammer’s “rankings” because he just combines all Southern Arizona 4A/5A schools into one “top ten” group, which doesn’t really do anything for anyone. I don’t read Mr. Grammer’s blog anymore because he’s really just a plea for attention (posts on a major forum asking to “check out my list” with a link are pretty self-explanatory). I don’t read the Repugnant’s worthless dribble on high school sports previews/coverage/etc. either.

When I want my info, I go to 24-7 Football, Friday Night Football (3A schools only) or I go to the Arizona Sports Network. 24-7 has the info, FNF has the scoop on the 3A schools, and AZSportsNet has the daily/weekly broadcasts and the experience.

And as of this past Thursday, I’m partnered with AZSportsNet, so it’s even better. They get all the statistics they can handle along with the network of information I’ve uncovered, and I get the benefit of their experience. Win-win. 🙂